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APPLICATION STRATEGY 2017: Nevada Sheep & Goat

 

Desert bighorn sheep on rocks
Photo credit: Shutterstock

Nevada's bighorn sheep and mountain goat application overview

Jump to: New for 2017 State Information Draw System Desert Sheep Breakdown Rocky Sheep Breakdown California Sheep Breakdown Mountain Goat Breakdown

Nevada continues to be a must apply state for sheep. Year after year this state leads the west in nonresident desert bighorn sheep hunting opportunities. More tags are issued to nonresident desert bighorn sheep hunters in Nevada than all other states combined and that number has been increasing year-after-year.

This state also has a unique opportunity to Nevada to hunt three speices of sheep (desert, rocky and California). Keep in mind that nonresidents can only apply for desert and California bighorns; whereas, residents can apply for all three. There is a slim chance that you could draw more than one species of sheep in the same year. Game management among the desert bighorn sheep units are excellent — and the tag numbers prove this. New for this year is the ability for nonresidents to hunt mountain goats are now also available to nonresident hunters. This opportunity was last offered in 2012 when 2,819 nonresidents applied for one tag. Draw odds will once again be steep, but someone has to draw.

2016 sheep tag breakdown (we anticipate similar tag numbers for 2017):

  • Desert bighorn:
    • Total: 311 tags
    • Residents: 280 tags
    • Nonresident: 31 tags
  • Rocky bighorn (residents only):
    • Total: five tags
  • California bighorn:
    • ​Total: 57 tags
    • Residents: 52 tags
    • Nonresidents: 5 tags
  • Mountain goat
    • Total residents:13 tags
    • New for 2017 will be 1 nonresident tag

Note: The application deadline for all sheep and mountain goat 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 sheep and goat in 2017

Lots of sheep tags

  • Residents and nonresidents have lots of options for drawing a sheep tag in 2017. In 2016, over 370 sheep tags were available. 

Three sheep species

  • Nevada holds desert, rocky and California bighorns. Each sheep species may be applied for and bonus points are earned for each of the species.

Resident advantage

  • Only residents can apply for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep.

New nonresident mountain goat hunt

  • Unit 102 is now available for nonresidents.


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.
  • Late seasons were added for resident desert bighorn hunt in Units 045, 153, and 213.
  • Early and late seasons were added for nonresident desert bighorn hunt in Units 212 and 213.
  • A late season hunt for Unit 114 rocky mountain bighorns was added for resident hunters.
  • A nonresident mountain goat hunt in Unit 102 has also been added.
  • Unit 091 will have a rocky bighorn tag in 2017.


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.

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 Sheep Profiles and Mountain Goat Profile to access historical and statistical data to help you find trophy areas.

Nevada State Profile Desert Bighorn Profile Rocky Bighorn Profile California Bighorn Profile Mountain Goat 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.
•  Results will be made available before June 9, 2017.



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.



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.

Bonus point only application

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.

2017 maximum bonus points for desert bighorn sheep: 24
2017 maximum bonus points for rocky bighorn sheep: 21
2017 maximum bonus points for california bighorn sheep: 24
2017 maximum bonus points for mountain goat: 24

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 desert bighorn sheep breakdown
 

Nevada desert bighorn taken with Pine Peak Outfitters
Nevada desert bighorn taken with Pine PeakOutfitters — A goHUNT Business Member

The most recent survey resulted in a total of 9,700 desert bighorns in Nevada with observed lambs at 32:100 lamb to ewe ratio which is an increase. All Nevada desert bighorn sheep are classified as the Nelsoni, or Nelson subspecies, and there are giant rams available across the state. Rams scoring well into the 170s are harvested every year in many units.

Nevada is clearly the land of opportunity for desert bighorn sheep hunting. With several unit groups to select from, there are more nonresident desert bighorn sheep tags in Nevada than all other states combined.

In 2016, there was a total of 311 desert bighorn tags. 31 were nonresident tags and 280 were resident tags. This was an increase of five tags from the 2015 and 24 tags compared to 2014. Once again, Nevada is the king of desert bighorn tags in the west and populations are doing very well in Nevada.

Desert bighorn sheep draw and harvest summary

Year No. tags
issued
Percent
success
Avg. days
hunted
Avg.
age
Avg. B&C
score
Maximum
B&C score
1992 115 77% 7.1 6.7 151 7/8" 172 2/8"
1993 123 84% 7.4 6.4 150 3/8" 178 6/8"
1994 125 71% 8.6 6.1 149 4/8" 179 4/8"
1995 124 72% 7.9 6.3 150 5/8" 171 4/8"
1996 122 81% 7.4 5.4 144 6/8" 177 3/8"
1997 109 74% 7.9 6.1 145 5/8" 170 6/8"
1998 115 83% 7.3 5.8 152 1/8" 172 0/8"
1999 127 92% 5.8 6.0 147 4/8" 179 2/8"
2000 132 86% 5.9 6.3 147 4/8" 173 2/8"
2001 143 86% 5.8 6.2 150 5/8" 178 2/8"
2002 140 80% 6.4 6.3 148 4/8" 183 2/8"
2003 133 90% 6.2 6.4 150 7/8" 173 0/8"
2004 138 92% 6.1 6.1 150 3/8" 174 6/8"
2005 149 91% 4.7 6.5 153 1/8" 176 5/8"
2006 154 92% 5.5 6.7 152 3/8" 177 6/8"
2007 172 87% 6.1 6.4 149 5/8" 172 7/8"
2008 173 88% 5.8 6.3 152 3/8" 178 5/8"
2009 193 89% 5.2 6.2 153 4/8" 177 4/8"
2010 216 86% 5.7 6.5 154 1/8" 189 6/8"
2011 222 87% 4.9 6.6 153 6/8" 181 6/8"
2012 281 86% 5.7 6.5 154 0/8" 182 2/8"
2013 275 91% 5.8 6.3 153 2/8" 182 3/8"
2014 287 89% 4.6 6.4 152 2/8" 183 3/8"
2015 307 93% 4.7 6.4 152 5/8" 182 0/8"
2016 311 92% 4.4 6.5 153 6/8" 182 7/8"
Total/Avg 4,386 86% 5.9 6.3 151 4/8" 189 6/8"


Of those rams taken in 2016, the average Boone & Crockett (B&C) score was an impressive 153 6/8” and the average age was 6.5. See the summary below for a detailed breakdown.

Desert bighorn sheep 2016 draw and harvest summary

Type No. of
tags
Largest
ram
Avg.
ram
Avg.
age
Avg. days
hunted
Resident 280 182 7/8" 153 1/8" 6.5 4.45
Nonresident 31 177 2/8" 155 6/8" 6.8 3.36
All 311 182 7/8" 153 6/8" 6.5 4.3
 

Current desert bighorn sheep herd condition

According to NDOW biologists, Unit 268 holds the only 100% non-diseased bighorn sheep herd.

In 9 herds (Arrows, Bare Mountain, Delamar Mountains, Gold Buttes, Hiko Range, McCullough Range, River Mountains and Specters) the Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae ovipneumoniae bacteria were recovered on a nasal swab. Testing has not shown any new hunt units infected with the bacteria other than those confirmed.

There was a small herd die-off in Unit 263 recently, but there was also a 173" ram killed in 2016 and a 181 1/8” ram killed there in 2015. The report is the hunters weren’t seeing the bighorn sheep numbers like in the past, but the potential is still there. The Stonewall Mountains in Unit 252 also had a report of a small die-off. Yet, this a great unit where, if you hunt hard, you can kill a big ram. During a NDOW helicopter survey they captured one ram that was 175”.

In total, there were 16 rams taken over 170" in 2016.

Total number of desert bighorn tags per year

The seasons

Desert bighorn sheep hunts are any weapon permits. You can use a rifle, muzzleloader or even archery equipment if you choose. Most hunts are long, giving you almost two months to fill your permit.

goHUNT’s hit list units for trophy Nevada desert bighorn sheep in 2017

Nevada produces some good rams in the 160” to 170” range and there is potential on Unit 268 most years for something a bit larger. In Unit 268, the biggest ram was 175 2/8" and another giant at 172 4/8". In 2016, the largest ram in the state was killed in Unit 286 and scored 182 7/8" and another giant was taken in Unit 253 that scored 180 4/8".

The Bare Mountain Range of Unit 253 did phenomenal again in 2016. Once again, five rams were killed over 168”, with the biggest being a solid 180 4/8” ram which is four inches bigger than the biggest ram killed in this unit in 2015.

Of the list below, a bigger ram was killed in 2016 than in 2015 except for Unit 263, Unit 181, Unit 272, Unit 283, and Unit 281.

Top hit list units to consider for 165" or better desert bighorn sheep
(not in order of quality)

Unit Trophy
potential
Biggest ram
killed in 2015
Biggest ram
killed in 2016
Ram:ewe
ratio
Unit 268 175" 170 2/8" 175 2/8" 100:100
Unit 262 170" 163 4/8" 175 0/8" NA
Unit 263 170" 181 1/8" 173 0/8" NA
Unit 267 170" 160 3/8" 160 3/8" 46:100
Unit 181 165" 170 5/8" 172 0/8" 53:100
Unit 261 165" 157 4/8" 160 7/8" 55:100
Unit 272 165" 161 5/8" NA* NA
Unit 283 165" 169" 167 1/8" 51:100
Unit 286 165" 153 4/8" 182 7/8" 76:100
Unit 280 165" 150" 162 4/8" 30:100
Unit 281 165" 169 7/8" 165 3/8" 59:100
Unit 282 165" 174 1/8" 174 5/8" NA

* All hunters were unsuccessful in 2016 in Unit 272. One guy hunted 26 days and the other hunted two days.


Hidden gem information
 

2016 Desert bighorn taken with Nevada Outfitters
2016 Desert bighorn taken with Nevada Outfitters — A goHUNT Business Member

If you are looking at simply hunting sheep and do not care if it's a ram, there are four units (212, 213, 253, 268) that will have resident and nonresident tags for desert bighorn ewes once again in 2016. Keep in mind that the tag fee will be $1,200 for the nonresident ewe. In 2016 there were 133 resident and 15 nonresident ewe tags available. Also, you should be aware that you can apply for a desert ram and a ewe tag in the same year. However, with that said, you can only obtain one tag in the same subspecies. The ewe application is drawn before the ram application, so if you draw a ewe tag, your application for a ram tag will be pulled for that year. You can build points for both ewes and rams in the same year.

Unit 213 is home to the Monte Cristo Range that holds a lot of “mini rams.” Old rams are taken in this unit each year that only score in the mid 140s. Expect to be hunting smaller rams in the 140” to 150” class.

If you want a steep and rugged sheep hunt, look at Unit 161 for the early and late hunt. You need to be in shape for the early hunt as sheep can be near 11,000’. There are not many roads in this hunt and it might be best to hire a guide with horses. If you want to hunt the late hunt, the sheep will come off the mountain into some of the rolling foothills. It is not really that good of a unit anymore. NDOW has taken too many sheep for transplants, there is a lot of lion predation and a high number of sheep killed from hunting.

You can also use Filtering 2.0 to find units that might fly under the radar as far as trophy potential goes, but hold higher concentrations of rams. See the table below for the top 10 desert bighorn ram:ewe ratio units in Nevada.

Top 10 Nevada desert bighorn units for ram:ewe ratios

Unit Ram:ewe
Ratio
Trophy
potential
Unit 045 100:100 155"+
Unit 153 100:100 155"+
Unit 268 100:100 175"+
Unit 212 85:100 160"+
Unit 131 79:100 155"+
Unit 164 79:100 155"+
Unit 286 76:100 165"+
Unit 211 69:100 160"+
Unit 204 63:100 155"
Unit 183 61:100 160"+

 

Nevada's top Boone & Crockett producing counties since 2010 for desert bighorn sheep

County No. of
entries
Units found within county
Clark 37 243, 244, 262, 263, 264, 265, 266, 267,
268, 271, 272, 280, 281, 282, 283, 284, 286
Nye 19 243, 244, 262, 263, 264, 265, 266, 267,
268, 272, 280, 281, 282, 283, 284, 286
Lincoln 7 133, 223, 241, 243, 245, 271, 280, 281, 282, 283
Churchill 2 181, 182, 183, 184
Esmeralda 1 208, 211, 212, 213
Mineral 1 181, 202, 204, 205, 206, 207, 208
Pershing 1 044, 045, 182, 183

 


The points system

The bonus point race

2017 maximum bonus points for desert bighorn sheep: 24

Managing points and expectations

NEVADA RESIDENT DESERT BIGHORN BONUS POINT TOTALS GOING INTO THE 2017 DRAW
NEVADA NONRESIDENT DESERT BIGHORN BONUS POINT TOTALS GOING INTO THE 2017 DRAW

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

Find your draw odds

I have 0 desert bighorn sheep bonus points. What can I expect?

Residents:

If you’re just starting to apply for desert bighorns in Nevada as a resident, then you will be relying on pure luck because draw odds are between <0.01% and 0.09% with zero points.

Nonresidents:

There are 20 hunts to choose from. You can quickly filter out the nonresident units on our standalone Draw Odds details page. If you’re just starting out, you will be relying on pure luck because draw odds are <0.01% for all units with zero points.

What can I do with 3 or 4 desert bighorn sheep bonus points?

Residents:

Even at four points, draw odds range from 0.06% to 1.3%. Select the unit that you want to hunt and hope you get lucky.

Nonresidents:

At four bonus points, your odds of drawing a desert bighorn tag are still less than 1% with the majority of choices not even cracking the 0.05% mark. Lots of luck will be needed.

What can I expect with 9 or 10 desert bighorn sheep bonus points?

Residents:

Draw odds are still going to be low, even at 10 points, but you’re getting closer. Across the board, draw odds are less than 10% with your best odds being Unit 213 at 8.3%. Keep applying and you may get lucky!

Nonresidents:

At 10 bonus points, your odds of drawing a desert bighorn tag range from 0.03% to 0.39%. So… with all of your odds less than a half percent, you can expect a long wait or hope for lots of luck.

What can I expect with 11 or more desert bighorn sheep bonus points?

Residents:

At 15 points, you’re starting to get in the game! You now have 8 hunt choices that have 10% odds or better with the best odd being Unit 213 at 18%.

If you’re at 15 bonus points or higher you have a great chance to pull a tag. Units to consider for the best draw odds are: Unit 133, 245, Unit 211, Unit 212, Unit 213, Unit 280, Unit 281, Unit 282, Unit 283, 284 as your draw odds are now between 11 and 18% for these units.

Maximum point holders can see draw odds as high as the mid to upper 20s. Check out our stand alone Draw Odds details page for more information.

Nonresidents:

At 15 bonus points, your odds of drawing a desert bighorn tag are still less than 1%. You will still need lots of luck. With maximum points of 24, your highest draw odds were 2.2% in Unit 161 and 1.8% in Unit 213.


 

Nevada Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep breakdown

Nevada has a limited population of huntable Rocky Mountain bighorns that are only found in Unit 091, Unit 114 and Unit 115. Rocky Mountain bighorn tags are only available to Nevada residents. Unit 091 along the Utah border will have a season for 2017. Unit 114 will have an early and a late season in 2017

While Nevada once produced bighorn rams that scored over 180” B&C on a regular basis, average ram scores now fall within the mid 150s, with an occasional ram scoring in the mid 170s. In 2016, there was a total of five state draw tags for residents. That was an increase of one tag from 2015. Of those tags drawn, only two hunters took rams and the average B&C score was 151 5/8” and the average age was 5.5. See the summary below for a detailed breakdown.

Rocky bighorn sheep draw and harvest summary

Year No. tags
issued
Percent
success
Avg. days
hunted
Avg.
age
Avg. B&C
score
Maximum
B&C score
1995 2 100% 10.5 10.0 174 1/8" 183 2/8"
1996 2 50% 10.0 10.0 165 6/8" 165 6/8"
1997 3 67% 7.3 8.5 164 6/8" 169 1/8"
1998 5 100% 1.4 7.6 169 6/8" 176 2/8"
1999 5 100% 6.4 7.4 159" 176"
2000 4 100% 4.3 7.5 164 2/8" 173 3/8"
2001 3 67% 5.7 6.0 174 2/8" 178 1/8"
2002 3 100% 3.0 6.7 167 6/8" 183 1/8"
2003 6 100% 4.7 6.8 168 1/8" 183 4/8"
2004 6 83% 3.2 8.0 176 7/8" 189 4/8"
2005 6 83% 8.5 7.4 174 5/8" 178 2/8"
2006 6 83% 2.7 7.0 170 1/8" 190 5/8"
2007 9 100% 3.2 6.1 172" 190 5/8"
2008 13 92% 6.4 6.8 169 4/8" 191 5/8"
2009 11 100% 3.8 7.9 172 2/8" 195 4/8"
2010 4 100% 3.0 5.8 153 6/8" 160 1/8"
2011 5 60% 8.0 7.7 159 5/8" 167 2/8"
2012 8 88% 5.1 7.0 158" 174 7/8"
2013 7 100% 6.3 6.6 153 3/8" 170"
2014 5 80% 12.0 7.0 150" 154 6/8"
2015 4 25% 10.0 7.0 146 5/8" 146 4/8"
2016 5 40% 11.6 5.5 151 5/8" 155 6/8"
Total 122 83% 6.23 7.29 164 3/8" 195 4/8"

 

Current rocky mountain bighorn sheep herd condition

Nevada’s Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep herd isn’t what it used to be. The recent population estimate was only 210 with the largest population of 90 sheep found on Mount Moriah with and the five other herds average roughly 24 sheep. Recent hurdles with pneumonia have continued to reduce herd and tag number. We do not see the quota increasing any time soon. The Ruby Mountains were once home to a larger number of Rocky Mountain bighorns, but die-offs have greatly impacted herds.

The seasons

Nevada Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep hunts are any weapon permits. You can use a rifle, muzzleloader or even archery equipment if you choose. Most hunts are long, giving you almost two months to fill your permit. Unit 091 has a season from Sept. 1 to Oct. 30, Unit 114 has a two month long season from Sept. 1 to Oct. 30 and also Dec. 20, 2017 to Feb. 20, 2018 and Unit 115 also has a two month season from Dec. 20, 2017 to Feb. 20, 2018.

Top hit list hunt units to consider for 165" or better Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep
(not in order of quality)

Unit Trophy
potential
Ram:ewe
ratio
Unit 115 170"+ 78:100
Unit 114 170"+ 62:100
Unit 091 165"+ 41:100

 

Nevada's top Boone & Crockett producing counties
since 2010 for Rocky Mountain and California bighorn sheep

County No. of
entries
Units found
within county
Elko 2 No huntable sheep in these units for 2016
Humboldt* 1 012, 031, 032, 033, 034, 035, 051, 066
White Pine 1 114, 115
 
* This county holds California bighorn sheep.


The points system

Managing points and expectations

2017 maximum bonus points for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep: 24

NEVADA NONRESIDENT ROCKY BIGHORN BONUS POINT TOTALS GOING INTO THE 2017 DRAW

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

Find your draw odds

I have 0 Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep bonus points. What can I expect?

Only residents may apply for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep.

There are only three units available to select from: Unit 091, Unit 114 and Unit 115. A few very lucky residents will get drawn. If you are just starting out, you will be waiting a long time to draw this tag. At zero points, your draw odds are less than 0.01%.

What can I do with 5 Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep bonus points?

Once again, good old fashioned luck will play a huge part. At five bonus points, you have less than 0.05% draw odds. Expect a long wait.

What can I expect with 15 or 20 Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep bonus points?

With Nevada’s rocky bighorns, a long wait doesn’t equal better draw odds. By this point you have accumulated a lot of years and haven’t gained much ground in draw odds. At 21 bonus points you are only at 0.53% draw odds for Unit 114 and 0.14% draw odds for Unit 115.



Nevada 2017 California bighorn sheep breakdown

Nevada is one of the western states that is fortunate to have a huntable population of California bighorns. Although considered a different subspecies of bighorn sheep, B&C classifies them with the Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. For this reason, California bighorns rarely qualify for the B&C record book. Unlike Rocky Mountain bighorns, nonresidents are eligible to apply for California bighorns in a few units. The units that offer hunts for this species are located in the northwestern portion of the state. Although it is difficult to draw a tag, the hunt success is very high for this sheep species. Remember that you can apply for each of the sheep species on separate applications. Residents can apply for all three species while nonresidents are only eligible for California bighorns and desert bighorn sheep.

In 2016, there was a total of 57 tags. Of the state draw, there were only five nonresident tags. Of the total rams taken, the average B&C score was an impressive 152 1/8” and the average age was 6.8. See the summary below for a detailed breakdown. Nevada does have an opportunity for residents to hunt California bighorn ewes in Unit 068 where 10 tags were offered in 2016. Also, you should be aware that you can apply for a California ram and a ewe tag in the same year. However, with that said, you can only obtain one tag in the same subspecies. The ewe application is drawn before the ram application, so if you draw a ewe tag, your application for a ram tag will be pulled for that year. You can build points for both ewes and rams in the same year.

California bighorn sheep 2016 draw and harvest summary

Type No. of
tags
Largest
ram
Avg.
ram
Avg.
age
Avg. days
hunted
Success
rate
Resident 49 172 3/8" 150 7/8" 6.5 7.13 94%
Nonresident 5 166 4/8" 160 2/8" 8.4 2.6 100%
Specialty tags 3 164 1/8" 158 0/8" 8.3 6.7 100%
All 57 172 3/8" 152 1/8" 6.8 6.7 95%

 

Current California bighorn sheep herd condition

The current California bighorn herd stands at 1,800 sheep. In February of 2016, NDOW shot a total of 24 infected bighorn sheep from Unit 031 in the Montana Mountains. This decision was made in order to contain the outbreak within the Montana Mountains and halt contamination of healthy herds in the Double “H” Mountains or any other neighboring ranges. With the high level of bighorns removed from this unit, it may be wise to avoid this area for a few years if you have a high number of bonus points.

Total number of Nevada california bighorn tags per year - 2017 app strategy
B&C scores for california bighorns in Nevada from 2006-2016

The seasons

Nevada California bighorn sheep hunts are any legal weapon permits. You can use a rifle, muzzleloader or even archery equipment if you choose. Most hunts are long, giving you almost two months to fill your permit. Dates run Sept. 1 to Oct. 30 for 2017. Unit 035 is a new sheep hunt for nonresidents in 2017.

Top hit list hunt units to consider for 160" or better California bighorn sheep
(not in order of quality)

Unit Trophy
potential
Biggest ram
killed in 2015
Biggest ram
killed in 2016
Ram:ewe
ratio
Harvest
success
Unit 032 170"+ 164 1/8" 163 6/8" 37:100 100%
Unit 051 165"+ 161" 165 3/8" 22:100 100%
Unit 041 165"+ 168 1/8" 172 3/8" 125:100 100%
Unit 033 160"+ 159 3/8" 139 7/8" NA 50%
Unit 034 160"+ 154 2/8" 166 2/8" 61:100 100%
Unit 035 160"+ 160 1/8" 161 0/8" 16:100 100%
Unit 066 160"+ 163 4/8" 150 0/8" 33:100 100%
Unit 031* 170"+ 172 7/8" 166 4/8" 38:100 100%

* Recent die-off in this unit so caution should be taken to burn lots of points.

 

Hidden gem information

Unit 032 holds a lot of sheep and is a really fun hunt if you draw a tag. Hunters will have the best success in this unit by hunting them late into October because it is not as hot and that is when rut starts. The biggest ram taken in 2016 in this unit went 163 6/8". Last year, in Unit 041, there was one resident sheep tag and the hunter killed a giant 172 3/8” ram. There has been a rumor going around the past few years that there is a 180” ram in this unit, but few have seen it. Unit 012 seems to be recovering from the extremely low harvest success it had in 2015 of 57% and the 2016 harvest number was 80%.

Five year B&C entry trends for Nevada California bighorns

B&C classifies California bighorns as Rocky Mountain bighorns. So the B&C table is the same as the one above in the Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep section. Look at Humboldt county for the California bighorn sheep units.



The points system

The bonus point race

2017 maximum bonus points for California bighorn sheep: 24

Managing points and expectations

NEVADA RESIDENT CALIFORNIA BIGHORN BONUS POINT TOTALS GOING INTO THE 2017 DRAW
NEVADA NONRESIDENT CALIFORNIA BIGHORN BONUS POINT TOTALS GOING INTO THE 2017 DRAW

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

Find your draw odds

I have 0 California bighorn sheep bonus points. What can I expect?

Residents:

Draw odds are very low when you’re just starting to apply for sheep across the west and for California bighorn sheep in Nevada, that trend continues. Draw odds are all less than 0.01%. You can see your chances of pulling a tag as a resident here.

Nonresidents:

There are four units to choose from if you’re a nonresident: Unit 012, Unit 032, Unit 034, and Unit 035. If you are applying then you will be relying on pure luck because draw odds are <0.01% with zero points.

What can I do with 5 California bighorn sheep bonus points?

Resident:

Draw odds are still between 0.02% and 0.12% with five points. Select the unit that you want to hunt and hope you get lucky. Check out the Draw Odds section to find a unit that you may want to consider.

Nonresident:

Not much has changed if you have at least five bonus points. Your odds of drawing a California bighorn tag are 0.01% across the board. Lots of luck will be needed.

What can I expect with 15 or more California bighorn sheep bonus points?

Resident:

You’ve been building points for 15 plus years now and there’s finally a unit that reaches 1% draw odds. Once again, apply for the unit you’d like to hunt, shoot for the stars and hope you get lucky.

Nonresident:

At 15 bonus points, your odds of drawing are between 0.05% and 0.10%. It’s tough to stay motivated but keep applying because someone has to draw a tag. With maximum points, your best draw odds is in Unit 032 at 0.24%.



Nevada's 2017 Rocky Mountain goat breakdown

When you think about mountain goats most people don’t think of Nevada, and for very good reasons: Mountain goat tags up until this year were only available to resident hunters; but for 2017 nonresidents can start applying. Hunt are only conducted in the Ruby Mountain Units (101, 102, 103); and very few tags are offered. For 2017 the nonresident hunt is in Unit 102. In 2016, 13 tags were offered to residents and 11 goats were taken.

The great part about Nevada’s mountain goats is the remoteness of the terrain. The majority of the goats are not easily accessed and are a long way from roads. This helps billies to reach older age classes (the B&C records confirm this) and it also helps keep application numbers down due to the physical nature of the hunt.

See the summary below for a detailed breakdown.

Rocky Mountain goat 2016 draw and harvest summary

Unit No. of
tags
Apps Largest
horn
size
Avg.
goat
Avg.
age
Avg. days
hunted
Success Success
on billies
Unit 101* 4 2,152 9 3/8" 8 1/8" 6.5 10.25** 75% 67%
Unit 102*** 8* 1,692 10 2/8" 9 1/8" 6.5 5.375 88% 86%
Unit 103 1 561 8 4/8" 8 4/8" 6 6 100% 100%
Total 13 4,405 8 6/8" 8 7/8" 6.5 6.9 85% 82%

 

* Missing harvest information
** One hunter hunted for 32 days and was unsuccessful. The three that killed harvest within 2, 2 and 5 days.
*** The unsuccessful hunter in Unit 102 hunted for 15 days. You take his out and the average days hunted is four.

Top lower 48 B&C mountain goat entries 2007-2016

Current mountain goat herd condition

Mountain goat numbers are doing average in the Ruby Mountains. Little to newborn goats from 2011-2015 in Unit 101 has resulted in a decrease in the population from 100 in 2015 to 85 in 2016. For Unit 102, as a result of the stable newborn goats observed over the last several years, the 2016 population estimate continues to be 200. The Unit 103 population estimate remains stable at 45 individuals despite strong observed kid recruitment. High adult survival rates have been documented in Unit 101 and Unit 103. This means that we can expect to see similar tag numbers. There is some concern over the limited number of kid recruitment in Unit 101 that might be due to pneumonia according to NDOW. Hunters can expect to see multiple billies a day in the steep and rugged peaks. The majority of the mountain goat population lives in Unit 101 and Unit 102.

Mountain goat draw and harvest summary

Year No. tags
issued
Percent
success
Harvest No. of
billies
No. of
nannies
%
nannies
1999 11 91% 10 9 1 10%
2000 18 89% 16 15 1 6%
2001 23 96% 22 16 6 27%
2002 23 78% 18 17 1 6%
2003 24 96% 23 20 3 13%
2004 24 83% 20 17 3 15%
2005 28 85% 24 22 2 8%
2006 29 90% 26 23 3 12%
2007 29 100% 29 23 6 21%
2008 29 93% 27 21 6 22%
2009 28 96% 27 19 8 30%
2010 20 100% 20 12 8 40%
2011 11 100% 11 8 3 27%
2012 6 100% 6 4 2 33%
2013 7 86% 6 4 2 33%
2014 12 100% 12 11 1 25%
2015 12 100% 12 11 1 8%
2016 13 85% 11 8 3 27%
Total/Avg 347 92% 320 260 60 19%


Nanny harvest numbers have been a concern in Nevada since 2007. You'll see in table above that the past 10 years have seen a substantial increase in the amount of nanny harvest. Nanny harvest will continue to be monitored closely and assessed relative to quota development to minimize any potential impacts to overall production and recruitment following the recent disease event documented in the mountain goat population. Nevada’s mountain goat populations are limited by winter ranges. Normal snowpack years are required to produce adequate feed on their summer ranges.

The seasons

Nevada mountain goat hunts are any legal weapon permits. You can use a rifle, muzzleloader or even archery equipment if you choose. The great part about Nevada mountain goat hunting is the two month long season. Dates are Sept. 1 through Oct. 31, which give hunters plenty of time to find a quality goat.

Top hit list hunt units to consider for 9" or better mountain goat
(not in order of quality)

Unit 2016
tags
Trophy
potential
Largest billy
killed in 2015
Population Harvest
success
Unit 101 4 9"+ 9 3/8" 85 goats 100%
Unit 102 8 9"+ 10 2/8" 200 goats 100%
Unit 103 1 9"+ 8 4/8" 45 goats 100%

 


 

How to uncover hidden gem mountain goat units

There really isn’t any secrets to Nevada’s mountain goat units. You only have three units to chose from, our advice is to select the unit you are most interested in based on terrain and the number of goats the unit holds.

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

County No. of
entries
Units found
within county
Elko 3 101, 102, 103


TOTAL NUMBER OF MOUNTAIN GOAT TAGS PER YEAR


 

The points system

The bonus point race

2017 maximum bonus points for mountain goat: 24

Managing points and expectations

NEVADA NONRESIDENT MOUNTAIN GOAT BONUS POINT TOTALS GOING INTO THE 2017 DRAW

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

Find your draw odds

I have 0 mountain goat bonus points. What can I expect?

Residents:

With three units to choose from and limited tags hunters are relying on pure luck with zero points. Draw odds are less than 0.01% across the board.

Nonresidents:

The only hunt for nonresidents is in Unit 102. Because this is a new hunt for 2017. Draw odds will be very low. But if you’re already applying in Nevada as a nonresident, it might be a great idea to throw your name in the hat.

What can I do with 3 or 4 mountain goat bonus points?

Residents:

With trophy species comes trophy odds and that means a long wait. At five bonus points, your draw odds are still less than 1% (actually 0.05% and lower).

What can I expect with 10 or more mountain goat bonus points?

Residents:

Competition for mountain goat is extremely high and with only three units, your odds are still extremely low. At 15 bonus points your draw odds are still less than 1% with the breakdown being: Unit 101 at 0.23%, Unit 102 at 0.43% and Unit 103 at 0.07%. Good old fashion luck will play a large part if you will ever draw a mountain goat tag in Nevada. Remember, you can’t draw unless you put in.

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