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APPLICATION STRATEGY 2017: Nevada Deer, Elk, Antelope

 

Bull elk with data for application strategy article

Nevada's mule deer, elk and antelope application overview

Jump to: New for 2017 State Information Draw System Mule Deer Breakdown Elk Breakdown Antelope Breakdown

Draw odds might be tough for nonresidents, but Nevada is a state that shouldn’t be overlooked. Nevada has been long known for low hunting pressure thanks to conservative tag quotas in the majority of the units. 

With a bonus point system that squares your earned points, applicants that have been applying for several years have a slight advantage to draw a tag. It is never too late to begin applying in Nevada. In fact, all tags are drawn randomly so applicants with few or no points actually have a chance to draw a tag. Nevada’s bonus point system allows hunters to build points fairly inexpensively through the purchase of a hunting license and the cost of the bonus point.

Note: The application deadline for all mule deer, elk and antelope hunts in Nevada is April 17, 2017 at 11 p.m. PST for online applications and 5 p.m. for paper applications. You can apply online here.



Why Nevada for mule deer, elk and antelope in 2017

Plenty of trophy bulls

Nevada has quickly become one of the top hot spots for hunters looking for a trophy bull elk. The continuing growing population and quality genetics within Nevada’s herds makes an elk hunter’s potential dream a true reality.

Top end quality deer

Hunters regularly harvest mature bucks in most of Nevada’s units in the 140” to 165” Boone & Crockett (B&C) range. Bucks over 200” are also harvested every year as are bucks over 180” in many units. Of the 117 units for mule deer, 63 units have the potential to produce bucks 170” or better.

High success and quality antelope

The antelope population is increasing in most units and tag allocation has been fairly stable across the state.



New for 2017

Get your applications in early... have a chance to win $300

  • In an effort to promote early applications this year, NDOW will hold a drawing for a $300 Cabela’s gift card for everyone who submits their application by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, April 14.

Antelope

  • New hunts added for horns-shorter-than-ears.
  • New nonresident any legal weapon hunt in Units 202, 204.
  • New nonresident archery hunt in Units 161, 162.

Mule deer

  • New late any legal weapon antlered hunt added in Unit 115.
  • Resident and nonresident muzzleloader hunt dates extended to Oct. 4 in units that previously ended on Sept. 30.
  • Archery and muzzleloader antlered hunts in Unit 015 were moved to early fall seasons.

Elk

  • Early season antlered elk any legal weapon hunt added to Unit Groups 161-164, 241, 242, and 262.
  • Nonresident antlered any legal weapon hunt seasons were added for Unit 075 late and Unit Group 161-164 and 171-173.
  • New season dates for Units 072-075 for antlered elk muzzleloader. Dates are now Sept. 1 to 16 and antlered archery elk seasons are now Aug. 16 to 30.

Antlerless elk

  • Early season dates for antlerless elk any legal weapon hunts in Unit Groups 061, 062, 064, 066-068, 071-075 were standardized to Sept. 17 to Oct. 4 and Units 104, 108, 121, 131, 132, 111-115, 221-223, 231, 241, 242 were standardized to Sept. 25 to Oct. 4.
  • Late season antlerless elk any legal weapon hunts occurring north of Highway 50 and Unit Group 161-164 were extended to Jan. 31.
  • Late season antlerless elk any legal weapon hunts occurring south of Highway 50, except for Unit Group 161-164, not end on Jan. 5.
  • Antlerless elk muzzleloader and archery seasons were adjusted accordingly.
  • Nonresident antlerless elk archery and muzzleloader were added to Unit Groups 072, 076, 077, 079, 081 and 108, 131, 132.
  • Nonresident antlerless elk any legal weapon elk hunt was added to Unit Groups 108, 131, 132, 161-164.
  • An early, mid and late spike elk any legal weapon hunt was added to Unit Group 072-074.
  • The combo antlerless management elk tag option was added to nonresident mule deer hunt and resident junior mule deer hunt for Unit Group 072-077, 079.
  • Eliminated the combo antlerless elk tag option for any legal weapon antlered elk hunt.

2017 wait period for tags

Antelope

  • Starting in 2017, the waiting period for antelope with horns longer than ears is now three years regardless of hunt success

Elk

  • Starting in 2017, the waiting period for an antlered elk tag is now seven years regardless of hunt success. The previous five year waiting period remains in effect for antlered elk tag holders who were unsuccessful harvesting in 2016 or earlier.


State information

State quotas will not be set until the May 2017 Commission meeting. This is done to ensure that the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) has the latest and most current data on big game herds.

Note: Keep in mind that Nevada hunting hours are half an hour before sunrise to sunset for all big game hunts, unless otherwise specified. This is different from the typical 30 minute allotment after sunset in most western states.

To view important information and an overview of the Nevada’s rules/regulations, the draw system and bonus points, tag and license fees and an interactive boundary line map, check out our State Profile. You can also view the Nevada Deer Profile, Elk Profile and Antelope Profile to access historical and statistical data to help you find trophy areas.

Nevada State Profile Elk Profile Mule Deer Profile Antelope Profile Draw Odds Filtering 2.0

Important dates and information

  • You may begin applying NOW.
  • The deadline to apply is April 17, 2017 at 11 p.m. PST for online applications and 5 p.m. for paper applications.
  • You can apply online here.
  • Bonus point only applications will be accepted up to April 24, 2017 at 11 p.m. PST.
  • You can apply for a bonus point only here (you will still need to purchase a hunting license).
  • Results will be made available on or before June 9, 2017.
  • Second draw deadline for leftover tags is June 26, 2017 at 11 p.m. PST for online applicants and 5 p.m. through the mail.
  • Second draw results will be available on or before July 28, 2017.

Noteable season overlap

  • Antlered deer muzzleloader hunt partially overlaps early season antlerless elk any legal weapon hunt in many areas.
  • Units 072-075 antlered elk muzzleloader hunt overlaps antlerless elk muzzleloader hunt.
  • Unit 081 antlered elk hunts, the 2nd season of the antlerless elk depredation hunt partially overlaps antlered elk archery hunt.
  • The 4th season of the antlerless elk depredation hunt overlaps antlered elk any legal weapon hunt.
  • Units 161-164 antlered elk archery hunt partially overlaps antlerless elk muzzleloader hunt.
  • Unit 262 antlered elk any legal weapon hunt overlaps antlered deer muzzleloader hunt.


Podcast listening

Jay Scott Outdoors

Episode 272 - What big game units to apply for in Nevada with Head of Research Brandon Evans of goHUNT INSIDER

Brandon Evans, Head of Research for goHUNT's INSIDER gives the full breakdown of units to apply for big game hunting in Nevada including mule deer, elk, desert bighorn sheep, california bighorn sheep and antelope.

You can find the podcast index for all of the episodes on Jay's website, iTunes and on PodBean.



Drought and snowpack in Nevada
 

As of March 28, 2017, 6.17% of the state is experiencing drought conditions. This is a big difference from last year at this time when 93.84% of the state had some form of drought (and most of the western portion of the state was under extreme drought conditions).
 

Nevada snow water equivalent percent of normal March 2017
March 2017 percent of normal snow water equivalent (SWE) for the state of Nevada and portions of California. Source: Natural Resources Conservation Service


The draw system

Understanding the draw

For all species in Nevada, there are five hunt choices. When drawn, all five choices are considered prior to drawing the next application.

Mule deer bonus point only
•  
For mule deer bonus points only application, use the bonus point code: ABP

Elk bonus point only
•  
For residents, the bull elk bonus points only code is: HBP
•  
For nonresidents, the bull elk bonus points only code is: RBP

Antelope bonus point only
•  
For antelope bonus points only application, use the bonus point code: EBP

2017 max bonus points for elk: 24
2017 max bonus points for deer: 24
2017 max bonus points for antelope: 22

Bonus point only application after the main draw

If you missed the application deadline to apply for a tag or you just want to apply for bonus points, then you may submit an application for a bonus point during the main big game application or within seven days after the application deadline. Application fees will still be charged. It is highly recommended that you print a copy of your application confirmation page for your records after applying. The last day to apply for a bonus point only is April 24, 2017 at 11 p.m. PST. You can apply for a bonus point here.

Unlocking Nevada’s system

The key to finding success in Nevada’s drawing is twofold. First, you will need some luck on your side since Nevada is a true bonus point state and does not reserve any tags for the applicants with the most points. It is also important to understand that you get five hunt choices and your first two choices should be filled with the hunts that you desire most regardless of your point level or the popularity of the hunt choice.

Nevada's draw order and why it matters

With five choices, there is always a slim chance for applicants with little or no points to draw a tag. After your first two “dream” choices are filled in, then you must determine if your intentions are to hold out for only the best of hunts or if you would be happy with a less popular selection. Remember, your bonus points are squared in Nevada. See the Nevada State Profile for more information.


 

Nevada's 2017 mule deer breakdown
 

2016 mule deer taken with 7L Outfitters
2016 mule deer taken with 7L Outfitters — A goHUNT Business Member

Each year Nevada pulls out a handful of absolute giants. 2017 was no exception and several units saw some giants taken. There was also a potential state record shot in southeast Nevada. Mule deer population levels are swiftly declining and at their lowest numbers since 1999!

This continuing trend is very alarming. The dry conditions of Nevada and predators are taking their toll on mule deer. The past few years of severe drought are putting a large negative slide on already low deer numbers. Once again, expect the 2017 statewide tag quotas to decrease because of this continuing drastic drop.

Even with the drastic decrease in deer numbers the past 15 plus years, don’t let that scare you from applying. Nevada is still home to plenty of giant bucks and there are trophy bucks hiding out just about every unit (even the desert units). What’s even better is that 54% of Nevada’s units have the potential to produce 170” or better bucks and 19% of Nevada’s units have the potential to produce 180” or better bucks.

Nevada statewide mule deer 4 point or better harvest - 2017 app strategy

Current mule deer herd condition

After the severe winter storm this year, a few isolated die-offs are occurring, but nothing to be alarmed about. This has occurred most notably in northern Nevada. In addition to that, summer drought, loss of habitat and potentially too many tags have caused a drastic decline in deer herds.

Nevada mule deer population estimate - 2017 app strategy

The 10 year average mule deer population in Nevada is 107,000 and the 2016 population estimate of 94,000 is 12% below the 10 year average.

In certain areas of the state, there are fairly liberal tag allocations that provide hunters with greater opportunities to draw a tag and hunt deer. Be aware that you will also see increased pressure and competition in those units. Nevada also manages several units for trophy potential. Units with this management strategy tend to consistently produce the 180”+ type bucks. While mule deer herds are statistically on a decline, the state still has plenty of available areas to pursue trophy bucks. It was interesting to see that Unit 241-242 produced fewer big deer in 2016 when compared to other “trophy” units.



The hit list units for Nevada mule deer in 2017

Top hit list units to consider for 180" or better mule deer
(not in order of quality)

Unit Trophy
potential
Buck:doe
ratio
% bucks 4pt
or better
Unit 131 190"+ 32:100 37%
Unit 132 190"+ 32:100 55%
Unit 194 190"+ 33:100 67%
Unit 231 190"+ 23:100 54%
Unit 241 190"+ 23:100 63%
Unit 242 190"+ 23:100 63%
Unit 031 180"+ 29:100 49%
Unit 065 180"+ 40:100 51%
Unit 071 180"+ 23:100 30%
Unit 072 180"+ 23:100 37%
Unit 075 180"+ 23:100 72%
Unit 077 180"+ 23:100 38%
Unit 081 180"+ 27:100 84%
Unit 111 180"+ 30:100 30%
Unit 114 180"+ 47:100 49%
Unit 115 180"+ 47:100 49%
Unit 134 180"+ 32:100 41%
Unit 161 180"+ 25:100 40%
Unit 162 180"+ 25:100 40%
Unit 192 180"+ 22:100 38%
Unit 221 180"+ 28:100 39%
Unit 222 180"+ 28:100 39%

 



How to uncover hidden gem units

The key to unlocking hidden gem units in Nevada is to either pick up a bow or muzzleloader; that will greatly increase your chance of drawing a tag. The other way to truly unlock hidden gem units is by utilizing Filtering 2.0 and Draw Odds to pick units that meet your trophy potential, draw odds percentage, buck:doe ratio, and percentage of 4pt or better. Not only that, but you can also closely examine the number of applications and the number of tags drawn in every unit for both resident and nonresident. This information is great for finding units that meet your criteria and also may have less people applying. With the vast amount of tools at your fingertips, it is relatively easy to find a hidden gem deer unit.



B&C entry trends for Nevada mule deer


Units listed below may not have a current hunt for this species. Units in this table are included if any part of the unit is found within the county.

Nevada's top B&C producing counties since 2010 for typical mule deer

County No. of
entries
Units found within county
Lincoln 12 115, 132, 133, 221, 222, 223, 231, 241, 242, 243, 245, 271
Elko 4 061, 062, 064, 065, 066, 067, 068, 071, 072, 073, 074, 075, 076, 077,
078, 079, 081, 091, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 109, 121, 144
White Pine 4 065, 103, 104, 108, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115,
131, 132, 144, 164, 221, 222, 231
Humboldt 2 012, 031, 032, 033, 034, 035, 041, 042, 044, 046, 051, 066, 151
Eureka 1 064, 065, 068, 131, 141, 142, 143,
144, 145, 152, 155, 154, 162, 163

 

Nevada's top B&C producing counties since 2010 for nontypical mule deer

County No. of
entries
Units found within county
Lincoln 3 115, 132, 133, 221, 222, 223, 231, 241, 242, 243, 245, 271
Elko 2 061, 062, 064, 065, 066, 067, 068, 071, 072, 073, 074, 075, 076, 077,
078, 079, 081, 091, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 109, 121, 144
Lander 1 068, 151, 152, 153, 154, 155, 156, 161, 162, 172, 173, 183, 184

 

Trending buck:doe ratio units
 

2016 mule deer taken with Pine Peak Outfitters
INSIDER member with his 2016 mule deer taken with Pine Peak Outfitters — A goHUNT Business Member

You have probably noticed that we provide data on buck to doe ratios for each hunt unit in Nevada. Male to female ratios are a critical measuring data tool for wildlife managers and indicate the current status of the herd. A higher buck to doe ratio could indicate that a unit could have a higher availability of mature bucks compared to a unit with a lower buck to doe ratio. This doesn’t always indicate that the bucks will be the highest scoring, but more bucks equates to more bucks to find and harvest. When selecting an area, or comparing several areas, take this into consideration to help your decision. For a complete understanding of male to female ratios, please refer to a recent article covering this in-depth.

Top 15 Nevada mule deer units for buck:doe ratios

Unit Buck:doe
ratio
Trophy
potential
Unit 241 48:100 190"+
Unit 242 48:100 190"+
Unit 243 48:100 170"+
Unit 244 48:100 160"+
Unit 245 48:100 160"+
Unit 114 47:100 180"+
Unit 115 47:100 180"+
Unit 221 45:100 180"+
Unit 222 45:100 180"+
Unit 223 45:100 170"+
Unit 065 39:100 180"+
Unit 151 39:100 170"+
Unit 152 39:100 170"+
Unit 154 39:100 160"+
Unit 155 39:100 160"+
 


The points system

The bonus point race

2017 maximum bonus points for mule deer: 24

Managing points and expectations

NEVADA MULE DEER BONUS POINT TOTALS GOING INTO THE 2017 DRAW
NEVADA NONRESIDENT MULE DEER BONUS POINT TOTALS GOING INTO THE 2017 DRAW

Note: For another view of the bonus point breakdown using tables, visit the Nevada Mule Deer Species Profile. The table view will allow for an easier readout of the higher point totals.

Find your draw odds

I have 0 mule deer bonus points. What can I expect?

It will take you a few more years to gain enough bonus points to draw a tag for any area that is in high demand. There are a few units that a nonresident could draw with zero points. Your best bet is applying for archery hunts as your third to fifth choice.

Residents:

The key to drawing a tag the first year of applying in Nevada is to apply for archery units. Look at the following units for hunts that you could potentially draw with zero points: Unit 032, Unit 035Units 101-109, Units 114, 115, Units 141-145, and Units 171, 172, 173. If you want to extend your range a little bit, a resident could also potentially draw the Units 101-109 muzzleloader tag with zero points with a draw odds of 32%. Rifle tags with zero points will take a lot of luck and many more years worth of points.

Select a dream hunt choice that you would as your first choice. Early rifle seasons, muzzleloader and archery choices should be used as your second through fifth choices if you are hoping to draw a tag with zero bonus points. If you are willing to bowhunt, there are normally leftover tags still available after the draw in a few units.

Quick tip: Study the standalone draw odds here if you're a resident and adjust your individual point value to see your best odds for drawing a tag or planning for a future hunt.

Nonresidents: 

For a nonresident, it will be difficult to draw anything with zero points other than a few archery units. Keep in mind that draw odds for these archery hunts are getting worse each year. For example: draw odds for the Ruby Mountains went from 21% in 2015 to 10% in 2016. This was due to the drastic tag cuts and taking a look at the Draw Odds details page for the unit group, you’ll see this huge trend in cutting tags for both residents and nonresidents.

If you just want to draw a tag and hunt, units to consider would be Unit Group 043, 044, 045, 046 (draw odds 45%), Unit Group 141-145 (draw odds 30%), Unit Group 181-184 (draw odds 67%), Unit 203 (draw odds 100%), Unit Group 271, 272 (draw odds 100%) and Unit 291 (draw odds 31%).

Keep an eye out for the second draw period. A lot of units go undersubscribed by residents and then they are available for both residents and nonresidents to try to draw. The second draw period is from June 9 to June 26. Following the second draw, if any tags are leftover, they will become available on a first-come-first-served basis for both residents and nonresidents on July 21.

Quick tip: Study the standalone draw odds here if you're a nonresident and adjust your individual point value to see your best odds for drawing a tag or planning for a future hunt.

What can I do with 3 or 4 mule deer bonus points?

Note: You will lose your accumulated bonus points if you purchase a leftover tag in Nevada. Consider this before purchasing a leftover tag.

Residents:

With three or four bonus points you should decide if this is the year you want to hunt or if you would rather wait to draw a more coveted tag. While you still have a chance at drawing a premier unit, it's most likely to take a few more bonus points. You have great odds for almost all of the archery units except for some of the big hitters like Unit Group 194, 196 and Unit Group 241, 242, 243, 244, 245. There are some good rifle units that resident hunters have a fair chance of drawing such as Unit 032 and Units 181-184. If you are serious about burning your bonus points for a rifle tag, study the standalone draw odds here and adjust your individual point value to see your best odds for drawing a tag or planning for a future hunt. Another option is to adjust the filters to show you draw odds that are 50% or higher. That will give you a great starting point for further research. There are also some decent odds for certain muzzleloader hunts.

Quick tip: Study the standalone draw odds here if you're a resident and adjust your individual point value to see your best odds for drawing a tag or planning for a future hunt.

Nonresidents:

With four points, you’re in the running for some of the early archery units. Keep in mind that you have decent chance to pull some of the late archery hunts, most notably Unit Group 202, 205, 206, 207, 208, and 203.

If you really want to draw a rifle tag in some of the premium units, you should continue to list those units in your 1st through 5th choices. It’s going to be a long wait, but it will be worth it once you draw. Remember to avoid placing an easy to draw unit as your 4th or 5th choice, because you will burn your bonus points. The late rifle seasons are proven producers of better bucks. If you have three or four points and would like to draw, then list early rifle season hunts as your third through fifth choices. The early seasons will not provide a rut hunting experience. Muzzleloader and late archery hunts may be closer to rut, depending on which units you prefer.

Quick tip: Study the standalone draw odds here if you're a nonresident and adjust your individual point value to see your best odds for drawing a tag or planning for a future hunt.

What can I expect with 9 or 10 mule deer bonus points?

Residents:

With 10 or more points most units are within reach. You’d be a top point holder in pretty much all of the archery, late archery and muzzleloader units. The same can almost be said for rifle and late rifle hunts. Apply for the dream units and with a little luck, you should be mule deer hunting in Nevada very soon. Hunters who have waited to draw a special late season rifle also have a great chance of drawing.

Study the standalone draw odds here for a resident and adjust your individual point value to see your best odds for drawing a tag or planning for a future hunt.

Nonresidents:

There are 40 different hunts that a nonresident has at least a 50% chance of drawing. If you’re holding out for some of the top tier units, you’ll still have a long wait. With 10 points you have a lot of options to consider. Take a good look at the Draw Odds for your point level and weigh your options carefully.

Study the standalone draw odds here for a nonresident and adjust your individual point value to see your best odds for drawing a tag or planning for a future hunt.

What can I expect with 15 or 20 mule deer bonus points?

Residents:

There are currently only 18 residents with 15 plus mule deer bonus points. If you're near this point range, look at some of the premium deer units such as Units 194, 196, Unit 231, and Units 241-245. Also, a lot of the late rifle hunts are within reach.

Study the standalone draw odds here for a nonresident and adjust your individual point value to see your best odds for drawing a tag or planning for a future hunt.

Nonresidents:

There are 270 people that have between 15 and 17 mule deer bonus points and only 60 people with 18 to 24 bonus points.

Some of the top archery units are still going to be tough to draw in this bonus point range because of the low number of nonresident tags. Some late archery hunts will be obtainable. Check out the Draw Odds page to get a better idea at how many people are applying at each unit to help guide your application process.

If you are holding out for the top trophy units in Nevada, you could be waiting a few more years. The majority of the top units are still not even breaking over 1% draw odds at 15 points. But applying for these units could be worth it for a chance at some of the largest mule deer in the state.

Study the standalone draw odds here for a nonresident and adjust your individual point value to see your best odds for drawing a tag or planning for a future hunt.


 

Nevada's 2017 elk breakdown
 

2016 Nevada bull taken with Pine Peak Outfitters
2016 Nevada bull taken with Pine Peak Outfitters — A goHUNT Business Member

Year-after-year, Nevada continues to have a stable population of elk. The majority of the elk taken each year are 6 point or better and in 2016 the average main beam length for all bulls was 43”. This state has quickly become one of the hot spots for hunters looking to pursue trophy bull elk.

The growing population and quality genetics makes for tough draw odds, but this is a state that every serious elk hunter should apply for. The state has bulls grossing over 380” and some may be lucky to land a 400” bull, which can be found in different regions and units across the state.

An impressive 49% of Nevada’s units have the potential to produce bulls over 350”. This makes the application process all that more important.

The following table shows the trend of NDOW’s elk management working to produce quality bulls in the state.

Nevada statewide bull elk harvest and percent 6pt or better - 2017 app strategy

The unique part about the data in the table above is that the continued rise in the total number of bulls harvested per year has not directly impacted the percentage of six point or better bulls taken over the last five years. This is another reason Nevada needs to be on your radar as a state to build points for.

With the large number of quality bulls roaming the state, the odds of drawing a tag have become increasingly difficult for residents and nonresidents.

Current elk herd condition
 

Bull elk taken with Tyler Bowler Hunting
Bull elk taken with Tyler Bowler Hunting — A goHUNT Business Member

The elk herd in Nevada is strong and plentiful. Even with the severe winter that part of Nevada experienced in 2016/17, most herds should only be minimally impacted and calf recruitment should be strong. The biggest positive to the amount of moisture Nevada is getting recently is going to be the available feed resources and water availability are improving. If this trend continues into the spring and summer, elk should be in great shape.

Nevada elk population estimate - 2017 app strategy

Due to the high level of calf recruitment, we can expect to see more elk tags issued across the state in the years to come. While mule deer number are declining rapidly, elk on the other hand are growing at an exponential rate each year. Herd growth has been so good that Nevada has implemented a “spike only” hunt and they continue with their depredation hunts which do not affect bonus points. The 10 year average statewide elk population in Nevada is 13,900. So the population is up 15% over the 10 year average. Although, 2016 was the first year that there was a decrease in the statewide elk population. 

NEVADA BULL ELK TOOTH AGES(2015 SEASON)

According to NDOW, this substantial drop in the statewide elk population estimate can be explained by an improved understanding of elk distribution patterns in northern Elko County, and specifically in Unit Group 061, 071. Recent data obtained from a GPS collar project indicated that a large number of elk that had previously been included in the 061, 071 elk population estimate actually reside almost entirely in Idaho and on Duck Valley Indian Reservation lands. The removal of these animals from the 061, 071 population estimate is the primary reason the statewide total dropped so dramatically in a single year. In addition to that, significant antlerless elk harvest continues to result in decreasing trends in a number of populations.

Statewide there were 350 bulls that had main beams 50” or bigger and 68% of the total bulls were 6 point or better.

Nevada elk antler lengths - 2017 app strategy
Nevada percent bulls over 50" main beam - 2017 app strategy

Before you jump to applying in those units in the above graphic, take the following information from the table below into account.

Total number of 50"+ bulls per unit group compared to total

Unit Group Bulls 50"+ Total bulls taken
in Unit Group
051 2 2
061, 071 18 115
062, 064, 066-068 16 81
072, 073, 074 60 229
075 9 39
076, 077, 079, 081 38 189
078, 104, 105, 107, 109 7 22
091 5 6
101, 102, 103 1 28
104, 108, 121 15 44
108, 131, 132 7 36
111-115 66 166
144, 145 0 10
161-164, 171-173 28 64
221, 222, 223 47 119
231 30 103
241, 242 1 1
262 0 3
Percent of bulls with main beam 50"+ - 2017 app strategy


The hit list units for Nevada elk

Top hit list hunt units to consider for 360" or better elk
(not in order of quality)

Unit Trophy
potential
Bull:cow
ratio
Percent 6pt
or better
Unit 114 380"+ 33:100 83%
Unit 115 380"+ 33:100 71%
Unit 221 380"+ 33:100 71%
Unit 222 380"+ 33:100 76%
Unit 231 380"+ 52:100 70%
Unit 161 370"+ 29:100 93%
Unit 162 370"+ 29:100 65%
Unit 077 360"+ 48:100 66%

 

Nevada statewide bull elk harvest and percent 6pt or better - 2017 app strategy

How to uncover hidden gem elk units
 

Nevada bull elk taken with Nevada Outfitters in Unit 081
Unit 081 bull elk taken with Nevada Outfitters — A goHUNT Business Member

There really are no secrets to drawing an elk tag in Nevada. Luck will mainly need to be on your side, even if you have a lot of bonus points.

B&C entry trends for Nevada elk

Units listed below may not have a current hunt for this species. Units in this table are included if any part of the unit is found within the county.

Nevada's top Boone & Crockett producing counties since 2010 for typical elk

County No. of
entries
Units found
within county
White Pine 14 065, 104, 108, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115,
131, 132164, 221, 222, 231
Elko 9 061, 062, 064, 065, 066, 067, 068, 071, 072, 073, 074, 075, 076, 077,
078, 079, 081, 091, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 109, 121
Nye 3 131, 132, 161, 162, 163, 164, 171, 172, 173, 262
Lincoln 2 115, 132, 221, 222, 223, 231, 241, 242
Eureka 1 064, 065, 068, 131, 145, 161, 162, 163, 164
 
 

Nevada's top Boone & Crockett producing counties since 2010 for nontypical elk

County No. of
entries
Units found
within county
White Pine 7 065, 104, 108, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115,
131, 132164, 221, 222, 231
Elko 1 061, 062, 064, 065, 066, 067, 068, 071, 072, 073, 074, 075, 076, 077,
078, 079, 081, 091, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 109, 121

 

Trending bull:cow ratio units
 

Dave Riske Nevada archery elk taken with 7L Outfitters
Dave Riske's opening day Nevada archery elk taken with 7L Outfitters — A goHUNT Business Member

You have probably noticed that we provide data on bull to cow ratios for each hunt unit in Nevada. Male to female ratios are a critical measuring data tool for wildlife managers and indicate the current status of the herd. A higher bull to cow ratio could indicate that a unit could have a higher availability of mature bulls compared to a unit with a lower bull to cow ratio. This doesn’t always indicate that the bulls will be the highest scoring bulls, but more bulls equates to more bulls to find and harvest. When selecting an area, or comparing several areas, take this into consideration to help your decision. For a complete understanding of male to female ratios, please refer to a recent article covering this in-depth.

Top hit list units for bull:cow ratios

Unit Bull:cow
ratio
Trophy
potential
Unit 131 68:100 350"+
Unit 132 68:100 350"+
Unit 171 62:100 310"+
Unit 172 62:100 310"+
Unit 173 62:100 350"+
Unit 231 52:100 380"+
Unit 072 49:100 350"+
Unit 073 49:100 340"+
Unit 074 49:100 350"+
Unit 076 48:100 330"+
 


The points system

Managing points and expectations

2017 maximum bonus points for elk: 24

NEVADA RESIDENT ELK BONUS POINT TOTALS GOING INTO THE 2017 DRAW
NEVADA NONRESIDENT ELK BONUS POINT TOTALS GOING INTO THE 2017 DRAW

Note: For another view of the bonus point breakdown using tables, visit the Nevada Elk Species Profile. The table view will allow for an easier readout of the higher point totals.

Find your draw odds

I have 0 elk bonus points. What can I expect?

An elk tag is going to be hard to come by for a resident or nonresient hunter with zero points. Keep in mind that the number of hunt choices for elk are far fewer than mule deer in Nevada. This places more pressure/applicants in fewer units so draw odds are greatly reduced.

Resident draw odds for an archery elk tag are between 0.12% to 4.1% for all available units and they only get worse for muzzleloader and rifle.

Nonresident odds are even worse for all of the seasons and range from <0.01% to 0.23%. It's best to start applying and realize that it's going to take many years to pull a tag.

What can I do with 3 or 4 elk bonus points?

Because of Nevada’s draw system, it’s a really good strategy to list premium season dates (or dream hunts) that coincide with the rut as your first and second choice, followed by season and weapon choices you would be happy with as your third through fifth choice.

Residents:

Even with four points, pulling a tag is not going to be easy. Note: Caution should be made at this point range so you don’t apply for a unit with poor season dates or a hunt that you might not be satisfied with. That's because you're getting closer to having a reasonable chance to draw some of the top teir units. Keep in mind that a lot of archery unit groups have new season dates for 2017 that could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your hunting strategy.

With four points you have a reasonable chance to draw an archery tag for Unit group 061, 071, Unit 075, and Unit group 072, 073, 074.

With that said, realistically you’re going to be waiting quite a few more years to draw one of the premium Nevada elk tags in the southeast side of the state. You’re best shot at drawing a muzzleloader elk tag with four points would be in Unit 075 with a draw odds of 43% and Unit Group 072, 073, 074 with a draw odds of 21%. Again, Unit Group 072, 073, 074 would be great option to try to draw for an Early Rifle tag with draw odds of 20% and the Late Rifle odds in this Unit Group are 28%.

Study the standalone draw odds here and adjust individual point value to see your best odds.

Nonresidents:

Drawing an elk tag even with four points as a nonresident will take a lot of luck. You're most likely going to wait another six plus years to realistically draw a quality elk tag. But... there’s always a random chance of pulling an exceptional tag. Apply for your most desired tags in your hunt choices if you are holding out for only the best of the best. If an opportunity is all you seek, apply for the very best rut seasons in first and second choice followed by late rifle seasons as third through fifth choice. Your draw odds are all at less than 5% for all weapon types.

Study the standalone draw odds here and adjust your individual point value to see your best odds.

What can I expect with 9 or 10 elk bonus points?

Residents:

At the 10 point level, you’re starting to have a lot of options in front of you. Almost all of the archery unit groups are within reach with draw odds roughly upward of 45% except for: Unit Group 078, 105, 106, 107, 109, Unit Group 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, Unit Group 221, 222, 223, Unit 231, Units 241, 242 and Unit 262. Draw odds in the units that are sort of unattainable range from just under 11% to 32%, but with Nevada’s draw system, you always have a chance.

It’s always a good strategy to adjust the minimum draw odds slider so see what you’re able to draw If you want to use your points now. Simply adjust the minimum draw odds percent on our Draw Odds section to around 50%. Then take a closer look at the units to see if it meets your criteria. If not, continue to pick your dream hunts and hope you’re lucky this year.

A lot of muzzleloader options are also available if you have 10 bonus points. Heavy hitters like Unit 231 and Unit Group 161, 162, 163, 164, 171, 172, 173 will still be tough to draw.

If you want an early rifle tag, you’re best chance at drawing a tag with 10 points will be Units 061, 071 at 43% and Units 072, 073, 074 at 74% and Unit 075. Other units might be obtainable, but luck will have to be on your side. If those units don’t meet your criteria, you may want to continue trying try draw your dream hunt because you’ve waited so long to draw.

Late rifle tags overall are going to be a little easier to draw with draw odds ranging from 6.0% to 85%. Quite a few giant bulls have been shot on the late hunt the past few years. Units within reach on the late hunt are: Unit Group 061, 071 at 67%, Unit Group 072, 073, 074 at 85%, Unit 075 and Units 108, 131, 132 at 45%. Of the 14 late rifle hunts, 8 of them have draw odds of 35% or better.

Nonresidents:

Again, pulling a nonresident tag even with 10 points is going to be difficult. Archery hunters have a greater chance on average of drawing. The majority of muzzleloader and early rifle seasons have draw odds hovering around less than 1% to 14%. The accumulation of more bonus points will be greatly beneficial.

What can I expect with 15 or 20 elk bonus points?

Residents:

At this point in the game, you are very pulling one of the best tags in Nevada.

To put things in perspective:

  • There are only 121 residents with 15 or more bonus points.
  • There are only 39 resident with 20 or more bonus points.

Nonresidents: This might be a recurring theme if you’ve read the other point category breakdowns… but you’re still going to need a lot of luck on your side to pull a quality tag. Draw odds are still in the single digits for the most part on all rut hunts. The early rifle hunt on Units 061, 071 has some of the best draw odds as well as Unit 072-074 and Units 104, 108, 121 on the late rifle hunt.

To put things in perspective:

  • There are only 506 nonresidents with 15 or more bonus points.
  • There are only 55 nonresident with 20 or more bonus points.


Nevada's 2017 antelope breakdown
 

Nevada antelope- taken with Nevada Outfitters
2016 antelope taken with Nevada Outfitters — A goHUNT Business Member

Dry, dusty and lots of endless miles of desert. Nevada is currently experiencing great precipitation levels and that should exponentially help out the antelope herds throughout the state. Nevada continues to climb up the ranks of the total B&C entries and currently ranks third in the nation for B&C entries from 2014 to 2016 — just behind Wyoming and New Mexico. At this point, Nevada only had 4 B&C antelope entries in 2016, whereas in 2015 Nevada had 16 entries.

TOP B&C ANTELOPE LOCATIONS ALL-TIME

The key to these big bucks is access to high quality habitat near private agriculture fields. Most of these private agriculture fields are near a mixture of open federal lands and bucks in most areas travel to and from public land on a daily basis. Don’t let the thought of private land discourage you.

According to the latest report, the 2015 season was the sixth straight year of record setting numbers of antelope tags and harvest. Due to the high mortality the past few years, NDOW is predicting a shortage of two year old antelope during the 2017 season and most likely another reduction during the 2018 season. Fires in Nevada have greatly helped the herds. This has been proven in Unit Group 141, 143, 151-156 where the herd has doubled in size since 2008. January of 2016 also saw a translocation of 52 antelope to Colville Confederated Tribal Lands in Washington state, this was the first time this happened.

According to hunt questionnaire data conducted by NDOW, 32% of the bucks harvested during the 2016 seasons had a horn length of 15” or more compared to 30% in 2015, 27% in 2014 and 24% in 2013 hunt. When you consider that Nevada hunters took 1,780 bucks in 2016 and, of those hunters, 1,752 reported their horn lengths. Out of the reported horn lengths, having 32% of them over 15” means that there are plenty of trophy hunting opportunities.

It should also be noted that 33 bucks over 17” were taken in 2016, which is down from 39 taken in 2015. With that being said, it is possible to find a B&C buck in each unit; however, hunters will need to scout, cover a lot of ground, and pass up a lot of bucks in order to find a B&C caliber buck.

Note: only residents can apply for muzzleloader antelope hunts.

Current antelope herd condition

The snowpack conditions going into the 2017 season above average and should result in better habitat conditions and possibly more water sources for antelope.

Nevada antelope population estimate - 2017 app strategy

Due to extensive wildfires in recent decades, large expanses of habitat that was formerly utilized by mule deer is now more suitable for antelope. Antelope numbers are on the upward trend, which could be explained by the increase in habitat.



Top hit list units for Nevada antelope

Top hit list hunt units to consider for 80" or better antelope
(not in order of quality)

Unit Trophy
potential
Buck:doe
ratio
Unit 162 80"+ 31:100
Unit 011 80"+ 28:100
Unit 012 80"+ 29:100
Unit 013 80"+ 29:100
Unit 014 80"+ 29:100
Unit 015 80"+ 27:100
Unit 021 80"+ 27:100
Unit 022 80"+ 27:100
Unit 031 80"+ 20:100
Unit 032 80"+ 20:100
Unit 033 80"+ 20:100
Unit 034 80"+ 20:100
Unit 041 80"+ 36:100
Unit 042 80"+ 36:100
Unit 065 80"+ 47:100
Unit 068 80"+ 41:100
Unit 145 80"+ 28:100
Unit 161 80"+ 31:100
Unit 172 80"+ 46:100
Unit 251 80"+ 51:100
 

 

Hidden gem information

If you are a nonresident with zero bonus points, the only unit you have a decent chance at drawing is Units 205, 206, 207, 208 at 27% or Units 065, 142, 144 at 22%.

NEVADA ANTELOPE HORN LENGTHS (2016 SEASON)

Five year B&C entry trends for Nevada antelope
 

Units listed below may not have a current hunt for this species. Units in this table are included if any part of the unit is found within the county.

Nevada's top Boone & Crockett producing counties since 2010 for antelope

County No. of
entries
Units found
within county
Washoe 21 011, 012, 013, 014, 015, 021, 022, 033, 041
Elko 10 061, 062, 064, 065, 066, 067, 068, 071, 072, 073, 074, 075, 076, 077,
078, 079, 081, 091, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 109, 121, 144
Lander 7 068151152153154155156161162172173183184
Humboldt 6 012, 031, 032, 033, 034, 035, 041, 042, 044, 046, 051, 066, 151
Pershing 4 012034041042043044045046151153182183
White Pine 4 065103104108111112113114115,
131132144164221222231
Eureka 3 064, 065, 068, 131, 141, 142, 143, 144,
145, 152, 154, 155, 161, 162, 163, 164
Nye 3 131, 132, 161, 162, 163, 164, 171, 172, 173, 262
Mineral 1 202, 204, 205, 206


It should be noted that both Washoe and Elko counties took a fairly large leap since last season.

Trending buck:doe ratio units

You have probably noticed that we provide data on buck to doe ratios for each hunt unit in Nevada. Male to female ratios are a critical measuring data tool for wildlife managers and indicate the current status of the herd. A higher buck to doe ratio could indicate that a unit could have a higher availability of mature bucks compared to a unit with a lower buck to doe ratio. This doesn’t always indicate that the bucks will be the highest scoring, but more bucks equates to more bucks to find and harvest. When selecting an area, or comparing several areas, take this into consideration to help your decision. For a complete understanding of male to female ratios, please refer to a recent article covering this in depth.

The table below is another way to unlock hidden gem units in Nevada. You will notice these units have a high number of buck to doe ratios. What that means is you will have a greater chance of finding bucks in this unit and, ultimately, a great chance to find bucks that are up to par on the trophy potential scale.

Top 15 Nevada antelope units for buck:doe ratios

Unit Buck:doe
ratio
Trophy
potential
Unit 066 68:100 75"+
Unit 203 53:100 75"+
Unit 291 53:100 75"+
Unit 101 52:100 75"+
Unit 102 52:100 70"+
Unit 103 52:100 70"+
Unit 104 52:100 75"+
Unit 108 52:100 70"+
Unit 109 52:100 75"+
Unit 144 52:100 75"+
Unit 251 51:100 80"+
Unit 156 48:100 70"+
Unit 076 47:100 75"+
Unit 077 47:100 75"+
Unit 078 47:100 70"+

 


 

The points system

The bonus point race

2017 maximum bonus points for antelope: 22

Managing points and expectations

NEVADA RESIDENT ANTELOPE BONUS POINT TOTALS GOING INTO THE 2017 DRAW
NEVADA NONRESIDENT ANTELOPE BONUS POINT TOTALS GOING INTO THE 2017 DRAW

Note: For another view of the bonus point breakdown using tables, visit the Nevada Antelope Species Profile. The table view will allow for an easier readout of the higher point totals.

Find your draw odds

I have 0 antelope bonus points. What can I expect?

Residents:

If you’re just starting to apply, there are two main strategies to consider: either apply with a strategy in hopes of drawing dream hunts (but ultimately you are just build points year after year) or apply for dream hunts as your first few choices, but applying for easy to draw units your 4th and 5th choice (ultimately you’re shooting for the stars and at the same time trying to draw an easy to draw tag if you can).

  • So, if you want the top trophy units, then apply for your dream hunt options as your first through fifth choice. That way you can start to build points, but have a chance at drawing a top trophy unit.
  • If you want to hunt this year, you should still apply for trophy units as your first and second choice, but consider archery and muzzleloader options as third through fifth choice.

Draw odds for archery range from less than 1% to 42%. Keep in mind that the easy draw units could have a smaller population and/or smaller trophy potential. Muzzleloader options are pretty nonexistent for residents with zero points. Draw odds are less than 3.5% across the board.

It is also important to look at year-over-year draw trends. Some units are getting worse, while others are getting less popular and having better odds.

Quick tip: Study the standalone draw odds here for residents and adjust your individual point value to see your best odds.

Nonresidents:

Similar strategies should be applied for nonresidents as residents. Nonresident applicants will have their best chances if they apply for archery hunts as their final three choices. If you're a nonresident with zero bonus points, the only units you have a decent chance at drawing are Unit Group 065, 142, 144 at 22%, Unit Group 141, 143, 151, 152, 153, 154, 155, 156 at 51%, and Unit Group 205, 206, 207, 208 at 27%.

Rifle draw odds mainly hover below 1% if you have zero points.

Quick tip: Study the standalone draw odds here for nonresidents and adjust your individual point value to see your best odds.

What can I do with 3 or 4 antelope bonus points?

Residents:

Once you reach four points, there are 17 of 32 hunts that have 50% draw odds or better for archery. You can check out the list of archery options here. Special attention should be given to the order you place your units on your application because you could draw almost any archery tag in the state. 

Muzzleloader hunts are now in reach as well. In this point range, draw odds range from 6.2% to 42%. Take a close look at the trophy potential and the buck to doe ratios for the unit you are considering before you burn four years’ worth of points.

The luck card will need to be played if you want to draw some of the best rifle hunts in the state.

Quick tip: Study the standalone draw odds here for residents and adjust your individual point value to see your best odds.

Nonresidents:

A nonresident with only four points is going to have a long wait to draw a Nevada antelope tag for any of the weapon choices. Of the 57 hunts, 14 of them have draw odds of 20% or higher.

It will be best to study the standalone draw odds here for nonresidents and adjust your individual point value to see your best odds.

What can I expect with 9 or 10 antelope bonus points?

Residents:

At 10 points, a resident could potentially draw any archery or muzzleloader unit in the state and would be the top point holder. Only 31 residents applied in the 2016 draw with 10 or more bonus points. With that in mind, there is an additional 119 applicants with 10 to 19 bonus points who just applied for points. 

If you are waiting for a rifle tag, units are becoming easier to draw. Check out the Draw Odds page and Filter by Nevada > Resident > Antelope > Point level (10 in this case) > Season > Rifle. Or go to this link. From there you can see the draw odds for 35 different results. You can also narrow down your choices by taking the draw odds slider and adjusting it to various minimum draw odd percentages. This is a great way to see what units you could potentially draw this year if you want to finally burn your points and hunt.

Quick tip: Study the standalone draw odds here for residents and adjust your individual point value to see your best odds.

Nonresidents:

If you’re a nonresident with 10 or more points for antelope, you have a lot archery units to choose from that you could draw. Of the 25 total archery hunts, you have 50% or better odds or better on nine of those hunts. Unless you are anxious to use your points and are itching for an opportunity to hunt, it might be wise to continue to apply for your dream hunt if you'd prefer to pull a rifle tag.

If you’re looking to pull a rifle tag, expect a long wait, even with 10 points. Of the 32 rifle hunts, you only have 8 hunts with 30% odds or better. Four rifle hunts have 50% odds or better: Unit Group 078, 105, 106, 107, 121, Unit Group 141, 143, 151, 152, 153, 154, 155, 156, Unit Group 181, 182, 183, 184, and Unit Group 205, 206, 207, 208.

Quick tip: Study the standalone draw odds here for nonresidents and adjust your individual point value to see your best odds.

What can I expect with 15 or more antelope points?

Residents:

Currently, four people have 15 points, three have 16 points and two have 17 points. All of the 16 and 17 point applicants applied for a bonus point only in 2016. With that said, you'd really have the power to potentially draw any antelope hunt in Nevada.

If you’re near this point total, it’s very important to study the standalone draw odds here for residents and adjust your individual point value to see your best odds for drawing a tag.

Nonresidents:

The point breakdown at the 15 plus level is a little different for nonresidents. There are 127 applicants with 15 to 22 points. At 15 points, quite a few units are within reach if you want to rifle hunt. Yet, with Nevada’s draw system, anyone has a chance to pull a tag. There's a total of 16 hunts that have 50% draw odds or better. If one of these units meets your criteria for a hunt or if you are sick of building points, then apply for it. Be sure to study the Unit Profiles and Draw Odds heavily in this point range.

There are seven people with 20 plus bonus points for antelope in Nevada. Four people have 20 bonus points, two have 21 and one has 22.

If you’re near this point total, it’s very important to study the standalone draw odds here for nonresidents and adjust your individual point value to see your best odds for drawing a tag.

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