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APPLICATION STRATEGY 2020: Nevada Elk and Antelope

Nevada elk and antelope Application Strategy 2020

Nevada's 2020 elk and antelope application overview


Main writer: Jordan Christensen of The Draw

Jump to: NEW FOR 2020 State Information Draw System Elk Breakdown Antelope Breakdown

For nonresidents, drawing an elk or antelope permit in a state that does not have a maximum point pool is a rather difficult task. Couple this with a point system that is getting awfully close to three decades old and, for someone considering getting started in the Silver State, this is a tough decision. There are hunts that you can expect to have a 1:4 to 1:10 chance of drawing after about a decade and, generally, even these choices are above average elk hunts when compared to other elk hunts in the country. Overall, for many, the decision to get started has little to do with how long it will take to draw or whether the odds will ever be in your favor. Rather, it has everything to do with the possibility of a fantastic chance at a well above average bull — if not a giant. 

When it comes to antelope, this is a success story that seems to be getting better each year. If you are looking for a chance to harvest an 80”+ buck, then look no further. Every year, hunters are harvesting more and more of this caliber of bucks in Nevada. If you are purchasing a hunting license in Nevada for any reason, then not applying for all species of interest would be a mistake. 

Note: The application deadline for all species in Nevada is May 4, 2020 at 11 p.m. PST for online applications. PAPER APPLICATIONS ARE NO LONGER ACCEPTED IN NEVADA. You can apply online here.


New for 2020

  • Within seven days of public release of draw results, the successful tag recipient can choose to electronically return his or her tag here.
  • Eligible hunters may apply for both antelope horns longer than ears and antelope horns shorter than ears hunts, but may only obtain one antelope tag per year.
  • Eligible hunters may apply for antlered elk, antlered depredation elk, spike elk, antlerless elk, and antlerless depredation elk, but may obtain only one elk tag per draw application period.
  • Antlerless elk management hunts have been closed for the 2020-2021 big game season.

Female/antlerless draw odds

Remember, goHUNT has Draw Odds for female species. In Nevada, there are many opportunities for elk and antelope in the way of antlerless licenses for residents and nonresidents.

Note: Doe antelope tags are for residents only. When selecting your units to hunt be sure to also check out our standalone Draw Odds details page to see if opportunities exist that can be added to your hunt.

Antlerless elk draw odds

Find your resident antlerless elk draw odds here

Find your nonresident antlerless elk draw odds here

Doe antelope draw odds

Find your resident doe antelope draw odds here


State information

State quotas will not be set until the May 2020 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 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 Elk Profile as well as Nevada Antelope Profile to access historical and statistical data to help you find trophy areas.

Nevada State Profile Elk Profile Antelope Profile Draw Odds Filtering 2.0

Important dates and information

  • You may begin applying now.
  • The deadline to apply is May 4, 2020 at 11 p.m. PST. 
  • Paper applications are no longer accepted.
  • You can apply online here.
  • Bonus point only applications will be accepted until May 11, 2020 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 May 22, 2020.
  • Second draw deadline for leftover tags is June 22, 2020 at 11 p.m. PST. 
  • Second draw results will be available on or before July 8, 2020.

Drought and snowpack in Nevada

2020

Nevada drought monitor status for April 2020

Nevada drought status as of April 14, 2020. Source: United States Drought Monitor

Nevada has not had as much winter moisture as some of the other western states over the past few months. In fact, this year, there are more areas of the state that are classified as abnormally dry compared to last year. The actual drought areas are similar in size from last year but have shifted from the eastern side of the state to the western side. Overall, Nevada is having a rather normal year for moisture levels.

2019

Nevada drought status as of early April 2019

Nevada drought status as of April 2, 2019. Source: United States Drought Monitor

2018

2018 drought status for Nevada updated March
Nevada drought status on March 20, 2018. Source: United States Drought Monitor

2019 versus 2020 snow depth analysis

2020

Nevada snow depth and snow pack 2020

Nevada's Snow Depth Analysis as of April 8, 2019. Source: Weatherstreet.com

Compared to 2019, snowpack is slightly down; however, there are decent levels in all of the mountains that normally hold snow in Nevada.

2019

Nevada snow depth analysis as of early April 2019

Nevada's Snow Depth Analysis as of April 8, 2019. Source: Weatherstreet.com

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. If any selection is still available you will be awarded the permit.

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 May 11, 2020 at 11 p.m. PST. You can apply for a bonus point here.

Unlocking Nevada’s system

As mentioned before Nevada should be considered a long-term goal and the key to success in this state like others is to keep applying and to only apply “point only” when you absolutely cannot pull off a hunt that fall. You never know when it’s going to be your year and to miss out on a year of having your name in the hat is a mistake that should be avoided whenever possible. If you are looking for a hunt sooner rather than later, Nevada makes it possible to chase the odds while still applying for a top-shelf hunt by allowing the applicant to select five choices each year. 

Nevada's draw order and why it matters

With five choices available, the first two selections on your application should always be for the best units in the state or the hunt you desire the most. The last three selections can be a continuation of this strategy or allow the applicant to aggressively chase the odds and, often, draw in many fewer years. The applicant will lose all his/her points on any successful application regardless of which choice so be realistic in what kind of hunt you are looking for and always swing for the fence on your first two selections. Remember that your bonus points are squared each year plus one additional point for that year's application. See the Nevada State Profile for more information.


Nevada's 2020 elk breakdown

Nevada has one of the smallest elk herds in the western United States. However, outside of a few key areas in the state, there is an overall management strategy for higher age class bulls. One of the questions on your annual harvest report asks the length of the main beams of the bull you harvested. This data helps the state gain a better understanding of the age class of bulls and make management decisions based on this to ensure that the quality of bulls coming out of Nevada stays very high. If you are looking for a chance at an above average bull, Nevada is a tough state to look past.

NEVADA HARVESTED ELK BY ANTLER POINTS - 2019 SEASON

Nevada elk antler lengths - 2020 app strategy

Current elk herd condition

In 2019, the estimated population was down to 12,500 elk in the surveyed areas, which was 7% less than the prior year in the same areas. The number of bulls harvested with 50” beams or longer was also slightly down in 2019. There is an expectation to see a reduction in the number of bull permits issued this coming year in an effort to get this number up a little. There is also expected to be a decrease in the number of antlerless permits across the state as the herd densities are at the desired objective and excessive antlerless permits are no longer needed in much of the state.

Nevada elk population estimate - 2020 app strategy

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

Unit Trophy potential Bull:cow ratio Bulls 6 point+ Public land %
Unit 077 360" 40:100 83% 53.4%
Unit 114 380" 44:100 81% 98.8%
Unit 115 380" 44:100 81% 93.9%
Unit 161 370" 55:100 62% 97.4%
Unit 162 370" 55:100 62% 98.9%
Unit 221 380" 37:100 79% 96.2%
Unit 222 380" 37:100 79% 99.1%
Unit 231 380" 58:100 60% 96.8%

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. Data provided below courtesy of the Boone and Crockett Club.

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

County No. of
entries
Units found
within county
White Pine 22 065, 104, 108, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115,
131, 132164, 221, 222, 231
Elko 12 061, 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

Map of Nevada's typical elk B&C all time entries 2020

Top B&C typical elk locations since 2010 - Nevada 2020 app strategy

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

County No. of
entries
Units found
within county
White Pine 10 065, 104, 108, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115,
131, 132164, 221, 222, 231
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

Map of Nevada's nontypical elk B&C all time entries 2020

Top B&C nontypical rocky mountain elk locations since 2010 - Nevada 2020 app strategy


Managing points and expectations

2020 maximum bonus points for elk: 27

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

Residents

With zero points residents had a 14% chance of drawing the archery hunt in Unit 72-74 last year. This hunt had the best odds in the state for applicants who were just getting started. Consider applying for what you believe to be the best hunt in the state for your first few choices even in your first year. If you happen to come out of the hat early, you may as well draw a premier hunt. For the most part, don’t get your hopes too high in this first year as it will almost take a lightning strike to luck into an elk bull hunt on your first year of applying. Yet, within a few years, the options with decent odds will be more productive.

Quick tip: 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.

Nonresidents

There is not a hunt in the state for a nonresident looking to hunt a bull elk that has even a 1% chance of drawing with zero points. However, you are getting started in one of the top producing states for big bulls in the country. Swing for the fence for the hunts that best line up with your current goals on all five choices. Because there is no maximum point pool, even though the odds are long, every applicant does have a chance to draw and who knows? Maybe you will be one of the lucky ones. 

Quick tip: 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.

Find your resident elk draw odds with 0 points here

Find your nonresident elk draw odds with 0 points here

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

Residents

Resident applicants with 10 points have a number of hunts to consider at this point, including multiple choices in units with 360”+ trophy potential for archery and muzzleloader hunts that have a higher than 50% chance of drawing when looking at last year's odds. If you are looking to hunt a top-shelf rifle hunt at this point level, look towards Unit 077 as well as Unit 161, 162 because at this point you will have better than a 1:3 chance of drawing. 

Nonresidents

Unfortunately even 10 years into this process, there is not a real stand out as far as a hunt where an applicant would have much better than a 1:10 chance of drawing. If you are looking for the best odds possible, consider looking at some of the muzzleloader hunts. With the restrictions on muzzleloaders in Nevada, the odds for these late October post rut hunts are often the best you can find.

FIND YOUR RESIDENT ELK DRAW ODDS WITH 10 POINTS HERE

FIND YOUR NONRESIDENT ELK DRAW ODDS WITH 10 POINTS HERE

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

Residents

There are few hunts in the state that you will not have as good as a 1:3 or even 1:2 chance of drawing. If you have made it this far, you may be a victim of horrible luck or some other factor. Stay the course, but be wary of using all five of your selections. Only apply for what you believe to be the very best hunts in the state based on your goals. Your wait is close to being over. 

Nonresidents

You have been playing this game a long time. If you are looking for your best odds, consider the archery as well as the November rifle hunts in Unit 072-074. With a solid success rate and a trophy potential of 350”+ bulls, this is one of the more realistic hunts to draw in the state. These are great elk hunts with some of the highest elk densities in the state. If you are considering these hunts, don’t be afraid to continue applying for the best hunts in the state for your first four selections and, then, chasing the odds with your final selection. It will not have a negative effect on your application’s odds. If you have been waiting this long for your opportunity at one of the best elk hunts in the state, be wary at this point in using all five selections unless you are willing to apply with multiple types of weapons. You may not be able to find exactly what you are looking for on an application if you are only applying to hunt with one style of weapon. 

FIND YOUR RESIDENT ELK DRAW ODDS WITH 15 POINTS HERE

FIND YOUR NONRESIDENT ELK DRAW ODDS WITH 15 POINTS HERE


Nevada's 2020 antelope breakdown

The antelope hunting in Nevada is fast becoming a viable option for hunters looking for their chance at an 80”+ goat. The overall population of antelope in the state has been on a steady increase for many years and because of this, the number of above average bucks being taken has spread across a number of units in the state. However, there are not many permits issued when compared to other states like Wyoming. Because there are few permits and no maximum point pool, drawing one of these permits — especially for a nonresident — will take some serious luck. If you choose to purchase the required hunting license it would be a shame not to apply for all species — especially antelope as it’s like a good bottle of whiskey every year: you don’t draw and things seem to be just getting better. 

Current antelope herd condition

With just over 30,000 antelope across the state, there was a slight increase in population compared to last year. With a buck:doe ratio of 42:100 in 2019, things are looking fantastic for Nevada antelope. There are a number of units that are now producing 80”+ bucks. This, along with a 72% success rate this past season, makes now as good a time as ever to be hunting antelope in the Silver State.

Nevada antelope population estimate - 2020 app strategy

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

Unit Trophy
potential
Buck:doe
ratio
Public land
%
Unit 011 80” 40:100 83%
Unit 012 80” 47:100 93.7%
Unit 013 80” 47:100 91.3%
Unit 014 80” 47:100 94.9%
Unit 015 80” 36:100 88.5%
Unit 021 80” 30:100 62.1%
Unit 022 80” 30:100 40.7%
Unit 031 80” 14:100 85.4%
Unit 032 80” 12:100 91.4%
Unit 033 80” 45:100 99.4%
Unit 034 80” 12:100 96.8%
Unit 041 80” 36:100 78.4%
Unit 042 80” 36:100 58.7%
Unit 065 80” 51:100 68.8%
Unit 068 80” 48:100 49.6%
Unit 145 80” 29:100 97.5%
Unit 161 80” 25:100 97.4%
Unit 162 80” 25:100 98.9%
Unit 172 80” 23:100 96.9%
Unit 251 80” 35:100 99.3%

Nevada statewide antelope buck horn length trend 2010-2019 - 2020 app strategy


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. Data provided below courtesy of the Boone and Crockett Club.

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

County No. of
entries
Units found
within county
Washoe 28 011, 012, 013, 014, 015, 021, 022, 033, 041
Elko 23 061, 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 8 068151152153154155156161162172173183184
Humboldt 7 012, 031, 032, 033, 034, 035, 041, 042, 044, 046, 051, 066, 151
White Pine 5 065103104108111112113114115,
131132144164221222231
Nye 5 131, 132, 161, 162, 163, 164, 171, 172, 173, 262
Eureka 4 064, 065, 068, 131, 141, 142, 143, 144,
145, 152, 154, 155, 161, 162, 163, 164

Map of Nevada's antelope B&C all time entries 2020

Top B&C antelope locations since 2010 - Nevada 2020 app strategy


The points system

The bonus point race

2020 maximum bonus points for antelope: 25

Managing points and expectations

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

Residents

The most likely chance to draw an antelope hunt for a first time applicant is the archery hunt in Unit 141. The next best odds would be the archery hunt in Unit 067-068. Each of these hunts have less than a 10% chance for an applicant with zero points. For the most part, plan on spending some time with this application as the odds are rough for the best hunts in the state and they stay rough for many years. 

Nonresidents

There are many different archery hunts in the state that have less than 20 applicants in the nonresident pool. If you are interested in hunting as soon as possible, then consider applying for one of these options. If you are looking for a rifle hunt, plan on this taking some real time because there are very few nonresident permits and, even with the limited number of nonresident applicants, there are not enough, especially when it comes to the rifle hunts, which will likely take a long time or a lot of luck — and probably both. 

Find your resident antelope draw odds with 0 points here

Find your nonresident antelope draw odds with 0 points here

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

Residents

As a resident with 10 points, you are really getting close to decision time. There are selections that you could consider with over a 50% chance of drawing with better than a 1:4 chance. If these hunts are not exactly what you are looking for, then be careful when considering all five of your selections as it would be unfortunate to draw a choice that you would not be excited to hunt at this point. There is a chance you will be the applicant with the most points with any of the archery or muzzleloader hunts in the state. 

Quick tip: Study the standalone Draw Odds here and adjust your individual point value to see your best odds.

Nonresidents

There are a number of units that have a trophy potential of 80”+ with better than a 10% chance of drawing, including archery and rifle hunt options. If you are looking to chase the odds, consider applying for what you believe to be the best in the state for your first few choices while looking towards other options to finish out the application. Given the current moisture levels in the state, even some of the less popular units should produce some excellent bucks. 

It will be best to study the standalone Draw Odds here and adjust your individual point value to see your best odds.

FIND YOUR RESIDENT ANTELOPE DRAW ODDS WITH 10 POINTS HERE

FIND YOUR NONRESIDENT ANTELOPE DRAW ODDS WITH 10 POINTS HERE

What can I expect with 15 or more antelope bonus points?

Residents

Having 15 points for antelope as a resident is an unfortunate situation as it's simply been a very long wait for your chance to hunt and, yet, you are likely to be the applicant with the most points in any of the hunts across the state. Be wary of applying for all five choices at this point because if you cannot find five hunts you would be excited to draw, do not apply for them. It would be unfortunate to draw a less than excellent hunt at this point.

Nonresidents

If you are done waiting at this point, consider looking at an archery hunt. There are a number of hunts that you would likely be the applicant with the most number of points and the odds can be very high in these hunts. If you are looking to hunt with a rifle, there are few that even have a 10% chance, so consider continuing to apply for what you believe to be the best hunts in the state for your first few selections. If you would like to chase the odds, look towards the more primitive hunts outside of the hunts that have the best track records in the state. Because there is no maximum point pool in Nevada, drawing at any point it is going to take some level of luck. If you are still purchasing your hunting license for a chance at the other species available, then you might as well swing for the fence for speedgoats in the Silver State. 

FIND YOUR RESIDENT ANTELOPE DRAW ODDS WITH 15 POINTS HERE

FIND YOUR NONRESIDENT ANTELOPE DRAW ODDS WITH 15 POINTS HERE


ADDITIONAL APPLICATION OPPORTUNITIES

Nevada Silver State tag

For an additional $25 you can select to be included in the Silver State tag drawings, which would make you eligible for the one permit per species drawing each year that allows the recipient the opportunity to hunt any public land across the state from Aug. 1 to Dec. 31—just like the governor’s tag. This, along with thousands of dollars in free gear, is just too good to pass. Make sure you click the box while applying and get your name in the hat for this amazing opportunity.

Nevada Dream Tags

Nevada Dream Tags are another shot at drawing the hunt of a lifetime for mule deer, antelope, desert bighorn sheep, California bighorn sheep, elk and black bear in Nevada. Dream Tags are similar to SuperTags and Super Raffles in other western states. This drawing is open to both residents and nonresidents. After purchasing a $11.75 Resource Enhancement Stamp, you can then buy an unlimited number of raffle tickets for $5.75 each for as many species as you want. You can enter the Dream Tag raffle here.

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