Nevada "Hunting" Laws

Nevada hunting law requires hunters to have a license from the state Department of Wildlife. Hunting without a license is a misdemeanor in Nevada, carrying a maximum of six (6) months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

Under Nevada firearm laws, licensed adults may hunt most big game mammals with centerfire rifles and handguns with a minimum .22 caliber. And muzzle-loading rifles must have a single barrel with a caliber of at least .45.

Children between 12 and 17 may apply to get youth hunting licenses, which permit them to use firearms under limited circumstances. Children who violate these restrictions face Nevada juvenile delinquency charges.

In this article, our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys provide an overview of the following Nevada hunting law topics:

gun and forest
Hunting without a valid and current license in Nevada is a misdemeanor.

1. Nevada hunting licenses

People generally need a hunting license issued from the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) to hunt animals in Nevada.1 (No license is necessary to kill "unprotected species," such as coyote and black-tailed jackrabbit; however, trappers do need a trapping license to trap them.)

The prices of hunting licenses vary depending on whether the applicant is a Nevada resident and intends to hunt, fish, and/or trap. For the latest license costs, click here.

Hunting and fishing licenses remain valid for one (1) year following purchase. However, these licenses can usually be auto-renewed.

Most people are required to complete a hunter education course to qualify for a license. For information about hunter education courses, click here.

1.1. Licenses for children

Youth/apprentice hunting licenses are available to children in Nevada between 12 and 17 years old. Children under 12 are not allowed to hunt big game animals ever; however, they may accompany adults who hunt.2

1.2. Hunting license penalties

Nevada makes it a misdemeanor for people to either:

  • hunt without getting a license first3,
  • give false information on a hunting license applicationt4,
  • hunt without carrying their license on their person, or
  • refuse to show their license to a law enforcement officer5

Misdemeanors carry up to six (6) months in jail and/or up to a $1,000 fine. Note that the NDOW will suspend people's licenses for failing to pay child support or to comply with certain subpoenas or warrants.6

2. Nevada hunting tags

Hunters are required to apply for tags from the NDOW in order to hunt certain kinds of animals, including big game mammals like:

elk
Tags are required to harvest big game animals in Nevada.
  • deer,
  • elk,
  • antelope,
  • bighorn sheep,
  • bear, moose,
  • mountain lion, and
  • mountain goat

There are a limited number of available tags for each animal. Each tag entitles the hunter to kill one animal. The hunter is required to attach the tag to the animal once it is dead.

For more information on how to obtain tags, click here.

2.1. Penalties

It is a gross misdemeanor in Nevada to make any false statement to obtain a big game tag. The penalties carry up to 364 days in jail and/or up to $2,000 in fines.7

3. Hunting with firearms

Hunters may use firearms and handguns to hunt big game as long as they have a centerfire cartridge of a .22 caliber or more. Hunters may also use muzzle-loading rifles to hunt big game if they have a single barrel of caliber .45 or larger. However, shotguns are generally legal to hunt only deer and mountain lions.8

Note that hunters need CCW permits in order to carry a concealed handgun while hunting. Learn more about Nevada laws for carrying concealed weapons (NRS 202.305) and how to obtain a CCW permit in Nevada

3.1. Child hunters

boy gun
Children may hunt under restricted circumstances in Nevada.

Licensed children ages 14 and older may hunt by themselves with firearms as long as they have their parent's or guardian's permission. Note that written permission is required for handguns. And if the child is traveling to or from the hunting grounds, the firearms must be unloaded.9

Note that children who hunt illegally face delinquency proceedings. Learn more about Nevada juvenile and firearm laws.

4. Nevada hunting seasons

Hunting season is specific to each animal and changes from year to year. The NDOW determines these dates as well as the quotas for how many animals can be hunted during the season. For information about hunting seasons in Nevada, click here.

5. Deportation for illegal hunting in Nevada

It is unclear whether non-U.S. citizens who hunt without a license may face deportation. Even though the crime is just a misdemeanor, prosecutors are especially tough on immigrants when firearms are concerned.

Any alien charged with a criminal offense in Nevada is advised to seek counsel right away. The goal would be to try to get the charges dismissed or reduced to charges that are non-removable. Learn more about the criminal defense of immigrants in Nevada.

6. Nevada record seals for hunting convictions

There is a waiting period before defendants may seal their Nevada criminal convictions from their records. The wait depends on what class of crime the defendant was convicted of:

Nevada hunting crime category

 Record seal wait time

Gross misdemeanor:

  • lying to get a big game tag (NRS 502.060)

 2 years after the case ends

Misdemeanor

  • hunting without a license (NRS 502.010)
  • hunting without a license on your person (NRS 502.120)
  • failing to show an officer a hunting license (NRS 502.120)
  • lying to get a hunting license (NRS 502.060)

 1 year after the case ends

Note that there is no waiting period to pursue a record seal if the charge gets dismissed.10 Learn more about Nevada record seal laws.

7. Related offenses

7.1. Shooting from a building or vehicle

The Nevada crime of discharging a firearm from a building or vehicle (NRS 202.287) occurs when someone wantonly or maliciously shoots a gun from inside of an automobile or structure. With limited exception under NRS 503.010, licensed hunters may not shoot their firearms from buildings or automobiles. 

Discharging a gun in an area not located in a statutorily-recognized populated area is only a misdemeanor, carrying:

shooting from car
Shooting from a vehicle can be a felony or a misdemeanor.
  • up to 6 months in jail and/or
  • up to $1,000

Otherwise, this crime is a category B felony in Nevada, carrying:

A felony conviction will also cause the defendant to lose his/her gun rights, which can be restored only through a Nevada pardon.

7.2. Aiding a child to possess a gun

As discussed above in section 3.1, there are limited situations where parents and guardians can allow children under 18 to hunt with firearms. Otherwise, it is unlawful for people to let minors posses a gun.

A first-time conviction of knowingly allowing a violent child to possess a firearm is a category C felony in Nevada, carrying:

  • 1 to 5 years in prison,
  • a possible fine of up to $10,000, and
  • loss of firearm rights (which only a governor's pardon can restore)

A second-time conviction of knowingly allowing a violent child to possess a firearm is a category B felony, carrying:

  • 1 to 6 years in prison, and
  • a possible fine of up to $5,000

Otherwise, permitting a child to possess a firearm is a misdemeanor, carrying:

  • up to 6 months in jail, and/or
  • up to $1,000 in fines

Learn more about the Nevada crime of allowing minor to possess firearms (NRS 202.300).

7.3. Possessing a firearm under the influence

It is always illegal in Nevada for people -- including hunters -- to possess a firearm while either:

  • having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .1 or more; or
  • being too impaired by alcohol, drugs, or another substance to safely handle a gun

The Nevada crime of possessing a firearm while under the influence (NRS 202.257) is a misdemeanor, carrying: 

  • up to 6 months in jail, and/or
  • up to $1,000 in fines

The defendant may also have to give up his/her gun. 

Male receptionist waiting for your call.
Call our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys at 702-DEFENSE for a FREE consultation today.

8. Call a Nevada criminal defense attorney...

Are you facing criminal charges in Nevada? Call our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) to schedule a free consultation. We will research your case to see if we can get the charges dismissed or at least negotiate them down to lesser offenses. And if the prosecutors are not being fair, our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys are prepared to take your case to trial.


Legal References

  1. NRS 502.010  License or permit required for hunting or fishing; exceptions; limitations on hunting by minors.

          1.  A person who hunts or fishes any wildlife without having first procured a license or permit to do so, as provided in this title, is guilty of a misdemeanor, except that:

          (a) A license to hunt or fish is not required of a resident of this State who is under 12 years of age, unless required for the issuance of tags as prescribed in this title or by the regulations of the Commission.

          (b) A license to fish is not required of a nonresident of this State who is under 12 years of age, but the number of fish taken by the nonresident must not exceed 50 percent of the daily creel and possession limits as provided by law.

          (c) Except as otherwise provided in subsection 5 or 6 of NRS 202.300 and NRS 502.066, it is unlawful for any child who is under 18 years of age to hunt any wildlife with any firearm, unless the child is accompanied at all times by the child's parent or guardian or is accompanied at all times by an adult person authorized by the child's parent or guardian to have control or custody of the child to hunt if the authorized person is also licensed to hunt.

          (d) A child under 12 years of age, whether accompanied by a qualified person or not, shall not hunt big game in the State of Nevada. This section does not prohibit any child from accompanying an adult licensed to hunt.

          (e) The Commission may adopt regulations setting forth:

                 (1) The species of wildlife which may be hunted or trapped without a license or permit; or

                 (2) The circumstances under which a person may fish without a license, permit or stamp in a lake or pond that is located entirely on private property and is stocked with lawfully acquired fish.

          (f) The Commission may declare 1 day per year as a day upon which persons may fish without a license to do so.

          2.  This section does not apply to the protection of persons or property from unprotected wildlife on or in the immediate vicinity of home or ranch premises.
  2. NRS 502.066  Issuance of apprentice hunting license; fee.

          1.  The Department shall issue an apprentice hunting license to a person who:

          (a) Is 12 years of age or older;

          (b) Has not previously been issued a hunting license by the Department, another state, an agency of a Canadian province or an agency of any other foreign country, including, without limitation, an apprentice hunting license; and

          (c) Except as otherwise provided in subsection 5, is otherwise qualified to obtain a hunting license in this State.

          2.  The Department shall charge and collect a fee in the amount of $15 for the issuance of an apprentice hunting license.

          3.  An apprentice hunting license authorizes the apprentice hunter to hunt in this State as provided in this section.

          4.  It is unlawful for an apprentice hunter to hunt in this State unless a mentor hunter accompanies and directly supervises the apprentice hunter at all times during a hunt. During the hunt, the mentor hunter shall ensure that:

          (a) The apprentice hunter safely handles and operates the firearm or weapon used by the apprentice hunter; and

          (b) The apprentice hunter complies with all applicable laws and regulations concerning hunting and the use of firearms.

          5.  A person is not required to complete a course of instruction in the responsibilities of hunters as provided in NRS 502.340 to obtain an apprentice hunting license.

          6.  The issuance of an apprentice hunting license does not:

          (a) Authorize the apprentice hunter to obtain any other hunting license;

          (b) Authorize the apprentice hunter to hunt any animal for which a tag is required pursuant to NRS 502.130; or

          (c) Exempt the apprentice hunter from any requirement of this title.

          7.  The Commission may adopt regulations to carry out the provisions of this section.

          8.  As used in this section:

          (a) “Accompanies and directly supervises” means maintains close visual and verbal contact with, provides adequate direction to and maintains the ability readily to assume control of any firearm or weapon from an apprentice hunter.

          (b) “Apprentice hunter” means a person who obtains an apprentice hunting license pursuant to this section.

          (c) “Mentor hunter” means a person 18 years of age or older who holds a hunting license issued in this State and who accompanies and directly supervises an apprentice hunter. The term does not include a person who holds an apprentice hunting license pursuant to this section.
  3. NRS 502.010.
  4. NRS 502.060  Information to be furnished by applicant; acknowledgment of statement required; penalties for false statements; use of invalid license unlawful.

          1.  A person applying for and procuring a license, tag or permit, as provided in this chapter, shall give to the license agent the person's name and residence address, which must be entered by the license agent, manually or electronically in a record specified by the Department, together with the date of issuance and a description of the person. If a child under the age of 18 years is applying for a license to hunt, the child's parent or legal guardian must acknowledge in the application an attached statement indicating that the parent or legal guardian has been advised of the provisions of NRS 41.472.

          2.  In addition to the information required pursuant to subsection 1, the person, or the parent or legal guardian of a child, applying for a license, tag or permit shall, at the time of application, acknowledge the following statement: “I, the holder of this license, tag or permit, hereby state that I am entitled to this license, tag or permit under the laws of the State of Nevada and that no false statement has been made to obtain this license, tag or permit.”

          3.  Except as otherwise provided in subsection 4, any person who makes any false statement or furnishes false information to obtain any license, tag or permit issued pursuant to the provisions of this title is guilty of a misdemeanor.

          4.  Any person who makes any false statement or furnishes false information to obtain any big game tag issued pursuant to the provisions of this title is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.

          5.  It is unlawful for any person to hunt, fish or trap using any hunting, fishing or trapping license which is invalid by reason of expiration or a false statement made to obtain the license.

          6.  Any person convicted of violating the provisions of subsection 3 or 4 forfeits any bonus point or other increased opportunity to be awarded a tag in a subsequent drawing conducted for that tag if the bonus point or other increased opportunity was acquired by the false statement or false information.

          7.  As used in this section, “big game tag” means a tag permitting a person to hunt any species of pronghorn antelope, bear, deer, mountain goat, mountain lion, moose, bighorn sheep or elk.
  5. NRS 502.120  Penalty for refusal to exhibit license, permit, wildlife or equipment on demand; penalty for failure to have license or permit in possession.

          1.  Each person required to have a license or permit as provided in this title who, while engaged in any activity regulated by this title, refuses to exhibit the license or permit, any wildlife which the person may have in his or her possession, or any weapon, ammunition, device or apparatus in his or her possession which may be used for any activity regulated by this title, upon the demand of any officer authorized to enforce the fish and game laws of this State, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

          2.  Each person required to have a license or permit as provided in this chapter who, while engaged in any activity regulated by this title, fails to have the license or permit in his or her possession is guilty of a misdemeanor. A person charged with violating this subsection may not be convicted if the person produces in court a license or permit previously issued to the person and valid at the time of his or her arrest.
  6. NRS 502.115  Suspension of license or permit for failure to pay child support or comply with certain subpoenas or warrants; reinstatement of license or permit. [Effective until the date of the repeal of 42 U.S.C. § 666, the federal law requiring each state to establish procedures for withholding, suspending and restricting the professional, occupational and recreational licenses for child support arrearages and for noncompliance with certain processes relating to paternity or child support proceedings.]

    If the Department receives:
    (a) A copy of a court order issued pursuant to NRS 425.540 that provides for the suspension of all professional, occupational and recreational licenses, certificates and permits issued to a person who is the holder of a license to practice commercial taxidermy ; or
    (b) A report made pursuant to NRS 425.510 that provides for the suspension of all licenses and permits to hunt, fish or trap,
    -->the Department shall deem the license or permit issued to that person to be suspended at the end of the 30th day after the date on which the court order was issued or the report was received, as applicable, unless the Department receives a notice or letter issued by the district attorney or other public agency pursuant to NRS 425.510 or 425.550 , as applicable, stating that the holder of the license or permit has complied with the subpoena or warrant or has satisfied the arrearage pursuant to NRS 425.560.
    2. The Department shall reinstate a license or permit to hunt, fish or trap or a license to practice commercial taxidermy that has been suspended in connection with a report pursuant to NRS 425.510 or by a district court pursuant to NRS 425.540 , as applicable, if the Department receives a notice or letter issued by the district attorney or other public agency pursuant to NRS 425.510 or 425.550, as applicable, stating that the person whose permit or license was suspended has complied with the subpoena or warrant or has satisfied the arrearage pursuant to NRS 425.560.

    Nevada Senate Bill 17 (2019).
  7. NRS 502.060.
  8. NAC 503.142  Hunting big game mammal with firearm. (NRS 501.105, 501.181, 503.150)  The Commission hereby establishes the following exceptions to paragraph (b) of subsection 1 of NRS 503.150:

         1.  During a type of hunt that is restricted to muzzle-loading firearms, a person may hunt a big game mammal only with a muzzle-loading rifle or muzzle-loading musket, and may use only a lead ball, a lead bullet, a semi-jacketed bullet or a metal alloy bullet that expands. Only black powder or a black powder substitute may be used as a propellant. A sabot round may be used. The muzzle-loading rifle or muzzle-loading musket must have the following characteristics:

         (a) A wheel lock, matchlock or flintlock ignition system, or a percussion ignition system that uses a primer or percussion cap;

         (b) A single barrel of caliber .45 or larger; and

         (c) Except as otherwise provided in NAC 503.146, open sights or peep sights. The use of a sight that is operated or powered by a battery, electronics or a radioactive isotope such as tritium is prohibited.

    --> The muzzle-loading rifle or the muzzle-loading musket is deemed to be not loaded if the priming compound or element, such as the priming powder or the unfired primer or percussion cap, is removed.

         2.  During a type of hunt that is restricted to muzzle-loading firearms, it is unlawful for a person hunting under the authority of a tag for such a hunt to carry in the field a firearm or bow and arrow except for:

         (a) A muzzle-loading rifle or a muzzle-loading musket with the characteristics set forth in subsection 1; or

         (b) A handgun which has a barrel length of less than 8 inches and is not equipped with a telescopic sight, except that it is unlawful to use such a handgun to hunt a big game mammal.

         3.  During a type of hunt in which the use of any legal weapon is authorized by a regulation of the Commission, a person may hunt a big game mammal with a muzzle-loading rifle or muzzle-loading musket only if:

         (a) The muzzle-loading rifle or muzzle-loading musket has:

              (1) A single barrel of caliber .45 or larger; and

              (2) Open sights, peep sights or a rifle scope.

         (b) The person uses a lead ball, a lead bullet, a semi-jacketed bullet or a metal alloy bullet that expands. A sabot round may be used.

    --> The muzzle-loading rifle or muzzle-loading musket is deemed to be not loaded if the priming compound or element, such as the priming powder or the unfired primer or percussion cap, is removed.

         4.  Except as otherwise provided in subsection 5, a person may hunt big game mammals with a rifle if the rifle uses a centerfire cartridge or with a handgun if the handgun uses a centerfire cartridge of caliber .22 or larger and has a barrel length of 4 inches or more.

         5.  It is unlawful to hunt a big game mammal with:

         (a) Any firearm that is equipped with any sighting system using an electronically controlled or computer-controlled firing mechanism; or

         (b) A rifle, if the rifle uses a centerfire cartridge that is smaller than caliber .22 or larger than caliber .50 or a centerfire cartridge with a case length of more than 3 inches.

         6.  A person may hunt deer and mountain lion with a shotgun no larger than 10 gauge and no smaller than 20 gauge. Only rifled slugs or shotgun rounds with sabots that contain a single expanding projectile may be used when hunting deer. A shotgun that is used to hunt deer or mountain lion pursuant to this subsection may be equipped with a smoothbore barrel or a barrel that is partially or fully rifled.
  9. NRS 202.300  Use or possession of firearm by child under age of 18 years; unlawful to aid or permit child to commit violation; penalties; child 14 years of age or older authorized to possess firearm under certain circumstances.

          1.  Except as otherwise provided in this section, a child under the age of 18 years shall not handle or have in his or her possession or under his or her control, except while accompanied by or under the immediate charge of his or her parent or guardian or an adult person authorized by his or her parent or guardian to have control or custody of the child, any firearm of any kind for hunting or target practice or for other purposes. A child who violates this subsection commits a delinquent act and the court may order the detention of the child in the same manner as if the child had committed an act that would have been a felony if committed by an adult.

          2.  A person who aids or knowingly permits a child to violate subsection 1:

          (a) Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (b), for the first offense, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

          (b) For a first offense, if the person knows or has reason to know that there is a substantial risk that the child will use the firearm to commit a violent act, is guilty of a category C felony and shall be punished as provided in NRS 193.130.

          (c) For a second or any subsequent offense, is guilty of a category B felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 1 year and a maximum term of not more than 6 years, and may be further punished by a fine of not more than $5,000.

          3.  A person does not aid or knowingly permit a child to violate subsection 1 if:

          (a) The firearm was stored in a securely locked container or at a location which a reasonable person would have believed to be secure;

          (b) The child obtained the firearm as a result of an unlawful entry by any person in or upon the premises where the firearm was stored;

          (c) The injury or death resulted from an accident which was incident to target shooting, sport shooting or hunting; or

          (d) The child gained possession of the firearm from a member of the military or a law enforcement officer, while the member or officer was performing his or her official duties.

          4.  The provisions of subsection 1 do not apply to a child who is a member of the Armed Forces of the United States.

          5.  Except as otherwise provided in subsection 8, a child who is 14 years of age or older, who has in his or her possession a valid license to hunt, may handle or have in his or her possession or under his or her control, without being accompanied by his or her parent or guardian or an adult person authorized by his or her parent or guardian to have control or custody of the child:

          (a) A rifle or shotgun that is not a fully automatic firearm, if the child is not otherwise prohibited by law from possessing the rifle or shotgun and the child has the permission of his or her parent or guardian to handle or have in his or her possession or under his or her control the rifle or shotgun; or

          (b) A firearm capable of being concealed upon the person, if the child has the written permission of his or her parent or guardian to handle or have in his or her possession or under his or her control such a firearm and the child is not otherwise prohibited by law from possessing such a firearm,

    --> and the child is traveling to the area in which the child will be hunting or returning from that area and the firearm is not loaded, or the child is hunting pursuant to that license.

          6.  Except as otherwise provided in subsection 8, a child who is 14 years of age or older may handle or have in his or her possession or under his or her control a rifle or shotgun that is not a fully automatic firearm if the child is not otherwise prohibited by law from possessing the rifle or shotgun, without being accompanied by his or her parent or guardian or an adult person authorized by his or her parent or guardian to have control or custody of the child, if the child has the permission of his or her parent or guardian to handle or have in his or her possession or under his or her control the rifle or shotgun and the child is:

          (a) Attending a course of instruction in the responsibilities of hunters or a course of instruction in the safe use of firearms;

          (b) Practicing the use of a firearm at an established firing range or at any other area where the discharge of a firearm is permitted;

          (c) Participating in a lawfully organized competition or performance involving the use of a firearm;

          (d) Within an area in which the discharge of firearms has not been prohibited by local ordinance or regulation and the child is engaging in a lawful hunting activity in accordance with chapter 502 of NRS for which a license is not required;

          (e) Traveling to or from any activity described in paragraph (a), (b), (c) or (d), and the firearm is not loaded;

          (f) On real property that is under the control of an adult, and the child has the permission of that adult to possess the firearm on the real property; or

          (g) At his or her residence.

          7.  Except as otherwise provided in subsection 8, a child who is 14 years of age or older may handle or have in his or her possession or under his or her control, for the purpose of engaging in any of the activities listed in paragraphs (a) to (g), inclusive, of subsection 6, a firearm capable of being concealed upon the person, without being accompanied by his or her parent or guardian or an adult person authorized by his or her parent or guardian to have control or custody of the child, if the child:

          (a) Has the written permission of his or her parent or guardian to handle or have in his or her possession or under his or her control such a firearm for the purpose of engaging in such an activity; and

          (b) Is not otherwise prohibited by law from possessing such a firearm.

          8.  A child shall not handle or have in his or her possession or under his or her control a loaded firearm if the child is:

          (a) An occupant of a motor vehicle;

          (b) Within any residence, including his or her residence, or any building other than a facility licensed for target practice, unless possession of the firearm is necessary for the immediate defense of the child or another person; or

          (c) Within an area designated by a county or municipal ordinance as a populated area for the purpose of prohibiting the discharge of weapons, unless the child is within a facility licensed for target practice.

          9.  For the purposes of this section, a firearm is loaded if:

          (a) There is a cartridge in the chamber of the firearm;

          (b) There is a cartridge in the cylinder of the firearm, if the firearm is a revolver; or

          (c) There is a cartridge in the magazine and the magazine is in the firearm or there is a cartridge in the chamber, if the firearm is a semiautomatic firearm.
  10. NRS 179.245; NRS 179.255.

Free attorney consultations...

The attorneys at Shouse Law Group bring more than 100 years collective experience fighting for individuals. We're ready to fight for you. Call us 24 hours a day, 365 days a year at 855-LAW-FIRM for a free case evaluation.

Regain peace of mind...

Shouse Law Defense Group has multiple locations throughout California. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

Office Locations

Shouse Law Group has multiple locations all across California, Nevada, and Colorado. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

To contact us, please select your state:

Call us 24/7 (855) 396-0370