How does the Nevada Big Game Draw work?

Application season is heavily underway for the majority of states. Just a reminder that April 16th is the final day to apply for the Nevada Big Game Draw. As some may know and others may not, every state has a different format to how their draw works. There are states with preference points, some with bonus points, some with both and some have none.

Nevada is a state that offers bonus points for the draw. What exactly is a bonus point? Well, a bonus point in Nevada means that if you apply for the draw this year and you have 4 bonus points, you are going to get those 4 bonus points squared plus 1. The math would be 4×4+1=17 entries. Think of every single “entry” as a random number and it gets connected to your application. Now, there is a computerized process that will take your first choice that you applied for. We will use Unit 5 for example. The computer will now look at your first choice (Unit 5) and see if there are any tags left in the random assignments that came before you. The computer will give the highest choice tag available. If you do not get selected under that first option, then it will jump to your second option selected on your allocation. Let’s say that is Unit 10. It is important to know that you should always do second chance and third chance options and so on. I would recommend that you always put your favorite option and your best choice as your 1st one. This is your primary goal unit. Then you should par down to lower favored units that technically could get drawn and get you out in the field and so on.

Nevada is what I would truly call a Trophy State. The NDOW truly manages the state to ensure animals get old and they do not make it easy to draw applications. There are also waiting periods once you draw a tag for some species.

Note: You do need to get a non resident or resident license to apply. Residents are $38 for a General License. If you are wanting to go fishing as well, Residents get a combo for $75. If you are a non-resident, you must buy the combo for $155.

Here is the website for NDOW to read up more and download the big game booklet.

Below I have listed what I see as positives and negatives to a system like this.


  1. Anyone could technically draw. Albeit, you might have a .001% chance to draw a hardcore trophy unit but there is a chance!
  2. You might look at draw odds and think that you will never draw or draw in 15 years based on percentage odds and then you draw on your first year.
  3. You get to potentially increase your odds with more opportunities over the years



  1. There are no guaranteed odds. Some states have a preference point option that they build so essentially the more points you have, you have preference over others. Nevada technically cannot guarantee anything even though you have more opportunities to draw with your bonus points
  2. Planning hunts for your year is tough because you are going to be applying in a bunch of different places potentially and you cannot count on knowing if you will or will not draw for sure. You could draw all of your tags at once or you could draw none!


I will give you a personal scenario here that throws my experience into the mix with how this could impact you in a similar way. I wanted to plan on doing a WY Antelope hunt knowing that I had some points built up. This WY hunt would be a for sure hunt if I applied for it so I am looking at this as a last resort hunt. I typically do that in late Sept or early October.

I also had enough points to apply for one of the best mule deer units in Colorado and have roughly a 40% chance of drawing this highly sought after unit. I figure this is my best chance for the draw this year so why not try, right? Because the Colorado draw results wouldn’t be posted before I had to apply for Nevada, I also applied for a couple hunts that I really wanted to do and could draw in Nevada. I have roughly 16%-25% chances to draw tags in NV and then I could also now draw the tag in Colorado? What will I do then? What hunt will I choose because I can’t do both? (Well, in NV, you can return a tag but then lose out on your points.) I’d for sure take that CO hunt as a primary

I also could just draw the Colorado tag and not draw any of the NV tags.

I also could potentially potentially not draw the NV tags nor draw the Colorado Mule Deer tag. In that last case scenario, I would go hunt the WY antelope hunt. This scenario can happen in any state but NV is a perfect example of there being a lot up in the air due to the lack of preference points. In Colorado, I could have drawn a tag at a 100% rate due to knowing exactly what it would take to draw a mule deer tag in a certain unit with the points I had going into the year. Essentially you can see 3 different scenarios that could happen for the year. How fun!

**Please remember to read all the regulations to the state you are hunting and I hope you all get the tags you want this year!**


If you have any questions, please leave a comment or find me on facebook @e2whunts.


Scout, Hunt, Repeat



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