Application Strategy 2022: Nevada Sheep and Mountain Goat
NEVADA'S 2022 BIGHORN SHEEP AND MOUNTAIN GOAT APPLICATION OVERVIEW
Nevada offers more bighorn sheep tags than any other state. The number of desert bighorn sheep has increased from less than 3,000 to around 10,000 today. It also boasts opportunities for desert bighorn, Rocky Mountain bighorn, and California bighorn sheep. Residents of Nevada can apply for all three species, while nonresidents can apply for desert and California bighorn rams. Trophy potential is good and harvest success rates are typically very high. On the other hand, the odds of drawing a tag are poor, which unfortunately is the case in every state for these highly sought after tags. Even with the low odds of drawing a tag, we still believe that applicants should strongly consider applying for bighorn sheep in Nevada. If you are applying for other species in the Silver state, you should absolutely apply for bighorn sheep as well since the application fee is relatively cheap. Nevada is a random draw/bonus point state. This means that the more points you have, the better your draw odds get over time, but the draw is random and as long as you apply you have a chance to draw the tag of a lifetime!
Resident applicants also have the opportunity to apply for Rocky Mountain goats. There will be seven tags in unit 102 as well as one tag in unit 101 and one tag in 103. Once again, for the minimal cost of applying, every resident should also be applying for mountain goat in Nevada.
Note: The application deadline for all species in Nevada is May 10, 2022 at 11 p.m. PT for online applications. You can apply online here.
New for 2022
- New to this year is an enhanced first come, first served queue that will be accessible at NDOWlicensing.com. This queue offers customers the ability to purchase any tags remaining after the second draw or any returned tags without an eligible alternate. Customers will be limited to adding one first come, first served tag to their cart in a seven-day period.
- The Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) has added or changed dates for some hunts for the upcoming season. Within the 2022 rules and regulations booklet those hunts will be highlighted in bold blue.
- New this year is a Nelson (desert) bighorn ram management “One-Horn” hunt in select unit groups. The shortest horn must be less than half the length of the longest horn. These hunts are only available for resident applicants.
- Resident Nelson (desert) bighorn sheep hunt in Unit 132 has been combined with Units 131 and 164.
- California bighorn sheep Ram will now be offered as a Silver State tag.
- The mountain goat hunt in Unit 102 will include Unit 121 because a mountain goat was observed in Unit 121 in 2021.
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 Species Profiles to access historical and statistical data to help you find trophy units.
Nevada is a fairly easy state to apply in. You will have to create an online account if you have not previously done so. That can be done by going here.
IMPORTANT DATES AND INFORMATION
- The deadline to apply is May 10, 2022 at 11 p.m. PT.
- Applicants can only apply online. You can apply online here.
- Applicants can apply without buying a hunting license; however, they will not receive a bonus point if unsuccessful in the draw.
- You can apply for a bonus point only here. You will still need to purchase a hunting license.
- Applicants who wish to apply for points can only do so up to one week after the deadline has passed.
- Results will be made available on or before May 27, 2022.
- Second draw deadline for leftover tags is June 13, 2022 at 11 p.m. PT.
- Second draw results will be available on or before June 24, 2022.
- Applicants may withdraw or change their application online before the application deadline.
- Youth must turn 12 years old prior to the opening of any hunt choice to be eligible to apply.
- An 11-year-old who will turn 12 before the beginning of the last season on their application is eligible to apply for a bonus point.
- Applicants must have completed a hunter education course if they were born after January 1, 1960.
- It is illegal to place, maintain or use a trail camera on public land from Aug. 1 to Dec. 31 of each year.
- Applicants who draw either a bighorn sheep ewe tag or a mountain goat tag must complete a mandatory sheep and goat gender identification course online.
- Applicants who drew a bighorn sheep ram or mountain goat tag and hunted cannot apply again for those for ten years.
- Applicants who drew a ewe bighorn sheep tag and hunted cannot apply again for two years.
- If you fail to apply for two consecutive years, bonus points will be purged.
EWE BIGHORN SHEEP DRAW ODDS
Remember that we have Draw Odds for female species. In Nevada, there are desert bighorn ewe tags available for residents and nonresidents. This is a separate draw from the ram tags and will not impact your application or bonus points for ram.
Nevada bighorn sheep and mountain goat cost to apply
|Item||Resident cost||Nonresident cost|
|Hunt/fish combo license*||$75||$155|
|Hunt/fish youth combo license|
(12 to 17)*
|Application fee (per species)||$14||$14|
|Bighorn sheep tag||$120||$1,200|
|Rocky Mountain goat tag||$120||N/A|
*Applicants who want to build bonus points if they are unsuccessful in the draw will need to purchase a hunting license or hunt/fish combo license. If they do not, they will not be given a bonus point. Tag fees will only be charged if you are successful in the draw. You do not have to front tag fees when you apply.
The draw system
UNDERSTANDING THE DRAW
For all species, Nevada has a random draw bonus point system. The draw is random and every applicant who applies has a chance to draw; however, bonus points increase your chances over time of being successful. Nevada tag quota is approximately a 90/10 split for residents and nonresidents.
Nevada has a bonus point system where applicants will receive one bonus point for each year they apply and are unsuccessful in the draw. You must opt in and buy a hunting license when you apply if you wish to receive a bonus point after the draw. Applicants who do not opt in and buy the hunting license will not receive a bonus point. Bonus points are species specific. For example, you cannot apply bonus points you have accrued for elk towards a bighorn sheep application. Applicants can apply for bonus points only if they do not want to select hunts. We recommend that applicants apply for hunts and not points only. Remember that the draw is random and odds are low and you will receive a point if you are unsuccessful in the draw. The only reason not to apply for hunts is if you cannot afford the cost of the tag should you draw it or the time off of work.
The draw is conducted by a third party company. Bonus points are squared plus one for this year’s application in the draw. A random number generator then assigns each bonus point a new random number. The lowest random number generated then becomes the application draw number. They will begin with the lowest random number applicant and begin awarding tags move up in ascending order.
For example, if an applicant has eight bonus points for desert bighorn sheep, you square eight to get 64 and add one (applicant with zero bonus points is assigned one random number) for a total of 65 random numbers with the lowest being the draw number assigned to the application. If you draw a tag and decide to retain it and hunt your points will be purged.
- 2022 maximum bonus points for desert bighorn sheep: 29
- 2022 maximum bonus points for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep: 26
- 2022 maximum bonus points for California bighorn sheep: 29
- 2022 maximum bonus points for mountain goat: 29
Applicants can apply for up to five choices when they apply. When an application is considered in the draw, NDOW will attempt to allocate the first choice. If all permits are gone for that hunt, they will attempt to allocate the second choice. If all tags are gone for your second choice, they will attempt to award you a tag for your third choice. They continue through all five hunt choices before moving to the next applicant. Thus, applicants could draw any of their five hunt choices. Due to this process, applicants should include hunts for all five choices to increase their chances of drawing a tag. Also, applicants should stagger their hunt choices from best hunt (worst odds) to better odds (decent hunt). If you were to apply inversely (best odds to worst odds), you are essentially wasting your latter hunt choices.
Nevada does not allow group applications for bighorn sheep or mountain goat.
Any remaining tags remaining after the main draw become available in a second drawing to both residents and nonresidents. If you apply and draw a tag in the second drawing, your bonus points will be purged. Online applications for the second draw are due by June 13, 2022.
Within seven days of the results of the draw, applicants who successfully drew a tag can choose to electronically return their tag. Hunters who drew a tag can turn them back in up to one day prior to the start of the season. In this case, they will retain their bonus points and gain one for this year’s application.
Left-over and returned tag process
Any left-over tags or tags that have been returned and were not claimed by an alternate will be listed and sold on a first -come, first -served basis on the NDOW licensing system site.The first -come, first -served program generally opens in early July. Bonus points will be purged if you purchase a left-over or returned tag.
Applicants who drew a tag can return their tags up until one day prior to their hunt starting. If the tag is not accepted by an alternate, it will be listed randomly on the first -come, -first served list and can be added to your cart and purchased. More information can be found in the link here. Last year there were seven ram desert bighorn sheep tags that were sold on a first-come-first served basis through this system.
UNLOCKING NEVADA’S SYSTEM
Nevada should be considered a long-term goal for drawing bighorn sheep and mountain goat tags. The key to drawing a tag is to continue to apply. Applying in Nevada is a cost/value analysis. It is expensive for a nonresident to buy the license, apply, and build points year after year. The odds that you will ever draw a bighorn sheep or mountain goat license is poor, but if you decide to apply for other species in Nevada, you should also strongly consider applying for sheep and mountain goat (residents). Personally, I look at Nevada as a state where I can likely hunt mule deer and/or antelope every five to 10 years and that keeps me applying in hopes that I will also get lucky and draw a bighorn sheep tag along the way. It’s unlikely that I will ever draw a sheep tag, but for the minimal application fee it’s worth having a chance in the draw.
A few application tips for Nevada:. 1) Always apply for hunts and never points only. The draw is random; as long as you apply you have some chance. 2) Always include five choices for each hunt when you apply. NDOW considers all five of your choices and your odds of drawing any tag are slightly better if you include all five choices. 3) With five choices available, the first hunt selections on your application should be for great hunts or the hunt(s) you desire most. The last three selections can be a continuation of moving toward hunts that have progressively better odds. The reason for this method is that you never know when you will be one of the first applications considered and you want to draw the best possible hunt on your application.
Nevada's 2022 (Nelson) desert bighorn sheep breakdown
In 2022 Nevada will offer 30 nonresident desert bighorn sheep ram tags. They will also offer 12 desert ewe tags. Residents have the opportunity to apply in the draw for 49 different rams hunts and 6 “one horn” management ram hunts with a total of 281 tags plus the one horned management tags which do not have quotas as of yet. There are also 106 desert ewe tags. Residents have 6 hunts that they can apply for that are archery only hunts. The most recent harvest success rate statewide was 90% with an average age of 6.5 and score of 152 ⅞. The largest ram taken was 189 6/8. Average days hunting was just 5.2.
As we have discussed in the other species articles for Nevada, drought conditions have been tough on Nevada's wildlife. Water catchments ran low this past fall and in many cases NDOW was required to haul water to those to support sheep. Die-off due to drought is not thought to be widespread but there has certainly been some loss. Overall, populations are stable and many are still over objective.
CURRENT DESERT BIGHORN SHEEP HERD CONDITION
Nevada has the largest desert bighorn sheep population, despite a slight decline over the past few years. In 2020 the statewide estimate was 9,900 and in 2021 the estimate is approximately 9,500. The statewide decline is generally spread across the units. No single area appears to have experienced a large decline. The table below displays the 2020 and 2021 population estimates by unit group.
Desert (Nelson) bighorn sheep population estimates
|Units||2020 population||2021 population|
|221, 223, 241||190||240|
|264, 265, 266||140||140|
Top hit list units to consider for 165" or better desert bighorn sheep
(not in order of quality)
|Average age of harvested|
|262||170''+||80%||47: 100||161 7/8''||178 3/8''|
|263||170''+||100%||41: 100||164 6/8''||179 1/8''|
|267||170''+||100%||55: 100||156 6/8''||170 4/8''|
|181||165''+||100%||37: 100||156 5/8''||175 2/8''|
|205||165''+||100%||48: 100||155 3/8''||171|
|183||165''+||100%||48: 100||154 1/8''||170 6/8''|
|242, 271||165''+||89%||49: 100||162 3/8''||179 7/8''|
|252||165''+||100%||51: 100||160 6/8''||174 7/8''|
|253||165''+||86%||110: 100||159 1/8''||167 4/8''|
|261||165''+||100%||49: 100||150 4/8''||175|
|280||165''+||80%||35: 100||158 6/8''||173 2/8''|
|281||165''+||100%||71: 100||157||172 3/8''|
|282||165''+||75%||48: 100||168 2/8''||179 2/8''|
|283, 284||165''+||80%||58: 100||147||169 7/8''|
|286||165''+||100%||49: 100||160 1/8''||172 6/8''|
Nonresident desert bighorn sheep ram - managing points and expectations
|Units||2022 nonresident tags||Nonresident odds w/ 0 pts||Nonresident odds w/ 10 pts||Nonresident odds w/ 20 pts|
Nevada's 2022 California bighorn sheep breakdown
There are currently 50 resident California bighorn sheep ram tags listed in this year's regulations. Nonresidents will have 5 California bighorn sheep tags available in 2022. There are no ewe tags available this year for California bighorn.
For the most part, success rates have been good with good trophy potential. Nonresident applicants can apply for both desert and California bighorn ram and should do so, given the relatively cheap application fee.
CURRENT CALIFORNIA BIGHORN SHEEP HERD CONDITION
There are estimated to be approximately 2,100 California bighorn sheep in Nevada. This total number was up from the previous year by approximately 100 sheep. Overall, California bighorn sheep populations in Nevada are in great shape and hunters in most units are having good success on mature rams. The overall age class of rams 2020 was 7.0 with an average score of 152 6/8”.
California bighorn sheep population estimates
|Unit||Population estimate 2020||Population estimate 2021|
Top hit list units to consider for California bighorn sheep
|Ram:ewe ratio||Average age of|
|Average B&C ram|
|031||170''+||83%||97: 100||7.1||158 2/8''|
|068||165''+||100%||67: 100||7.2||157 7/8''|
|051||165''+||67%||45: 100||6.6||151 1/8''|
|032||165''+||83%||53: 100||6.0||141 7/8''|
|032, 033||165''+||50%||94: 100||6.5||150 2/8''|
|034||160''+||64%||30: 100||7.2||150 5/8''|
|011, 013||155''+||N/A||48: 100||N/A||N/A|
|012||155''+||100%||48: 100||6.5||148 1/8''|
|021, 022||155''+||67%||64: 100||7.5||151 1/8''|
Nonresident California bighorn sheep ram - managing points and expectations
|Unit||2022 nonresident tags||Nonresident odds w/ 0 pts||Nonresident odds w/ 10 pts||Nonresident odds w/ 20 pts|
Nevada's 2022 Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep breakdown
Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep tags are only available for residents. Unfortunately, this is one of the absolute hardest tags in the country to draw, but if you are a resident of Nevada you should be applying. There are currently a total of four permits scheduled to draw in 2022, two for unit 114 and two for 115.. The season dates are long and run from August 1 - February 20 in unit 114 and November 15 - February 20 in unit 115. Based upon the most recent surveys, there are approximately 320 total Rocky mountain bighorn sheep in Nevada.
Hit list units to consider for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep
|Ram:ewe ratio||Resident odds w/ 0 pts||Resident odds w/ 10 pts||Resident odds w/ 20 pts|
Nevada's 2022 Rocky Mountain goat breakdown
Resident hunters should apply for Rocky Mountain goats in Nevada. Tag numbers are very limited and draw odds are extremely tough, but for the lucky hunters that draw a tag have a very good opportunity to harvest a nice goat. There are currently a total of nine permits available to draw in 2022. There will be one permit each for Unit 101 and 103 and seven permits for Unit 102/121. The season dates are two months long and run from Sept. 1 to Oct. 31, which give the lucky winners ample time to hunt. Hunters may consider waiting until late in the season to allow for the goats to maximize hair growth. Based upon the most recent surveys, there are approximately 290 total mountain goats.The populations all reside in the Ruby Mountains. Recently a goat was observed in unit 121 which is why it has been added to the 102 hunt area. The herd has suffered from Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae and the herd saw sharp declines in 2009 and 2010. Since then, they have had minimal kid recruitment, but there is a large enough population to offer the nine total tags. Trophy potential is average, with most goats harvested having approximately 8.4” horns. The trophy potential has been better in unit 103 than the other units. A goat was harvested in 103 in 2019 that had 10.3” horns. In 2020 the goat harvested had 9.3” and 9.1” horns.
Hit list units to consider for Rocky Mountain goat
|Average age harvest|
w/ 0 pts
w/ 10 pts
w/ 20 pts
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. Make sure you click the box while applying if you want a chance to draw 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 and you are allowed to buy an unlimited number of raffle tickets for $5.75 plus processing fees for each for as many species as you want. You can enter the Dream Tag raffle here.