Updated January 1, 2020
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:
- 1. Licenses
- 2. Tags
- 3. Firearms
- 4. Seasons
- 5. Immigration consequences
- 6. Record seals
- 7. Related offenses
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
Hunters are required to apply for tags from the NDOW in order to hunt certain kinds of animals, including big game mammals like:
- 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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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:||2 years after the case ends|
|Misdemeanor||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.
7.1. 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:
- up to 6 months in jail and/or
- up to $1,000
Otherwise, this crime is a category B felony in Nevada, carrying:
- 2 to 15 years in Nevada State Prison, and/or
- up to $5,000 fines
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 .08% 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.
- NRS 502.010 License or permit required for hunting or fishing; exceptions; limitations on hunting by minors.
- NRS 502.066
- NRS 502.010.
- NRS 502.060
- Nevada Senate Bill 17 (2019).
- NRS 502.060.
- NAC 503.142
- NRS 202.300
- NRS 179.245; NRS 179.255.