APPLICATION STRATEGY 2019: Nevada Sheep and Mountain Goat
Nevada's 2019 bighorn sheep and mountain goat application overview
For many hunters, the most exciting thing to happen in the application game we play each year is finding out that you have finally beat the odds and you are going to get your chance to go bighorn sheep hunting. A close runner up might be finding out that you have more chances to draw a bighorn sheep hunt thanks to Nevada’s slight increase in overall permits. This year, Nevada is giving nonresidents two more selections for the California bighorn sheep, four more selections for desert bighorn sheep and, for residents, two new selections for Rocky Mountain bighorn.
This makes the Silver State one of the most exciting draws of the year. There will be 33+ potential desert bighorn sheep permits available for nonresidents in 2019 and as many as eight California bighorn sheep permits. However, all things considered: don’t hold your breath. We are talking about Nevada and, no matter the species, this state should be considered a long-term goal at best. In fact, you should also be applying for any species of interest in order to get the most value out of the hunting license that you are required to purchase prior to applying each year. This includes mountain goat if you are a resident, which, like bighorn sheep, have brutal odds of drawing; however, for the low cost to apply, once you have purchased the hunting license, if you are up for a mountain hunt, not applying for these amazing cliff dwellers would be a shame.
Note: The application deadline for all species in Nevada is April 29, 2019 at 11 p.m. PST for online applications. Paper applications are no longer accepted in Nevada. You can apply online here.
Why Nevada for sheep and mountain goat in 2019
Lots of bighorn sheep tags
Nevada is offering a total of 383 ram tags between all three species and 102 ewe permits. Potentially, 33 or more of these are nonresident desert ram tags with the addition of the two new hunts available to nonresidents. There is up to eight or more nonresident California bighorn sheep tags. Hands down, this is the greatest number of tags offered to nonresidents in the country.
Apply for multiple species
Nevada is only one of two states in the country that offer the applicant the opportunity to build bonus points for multiple species of sheep at the same time while also allowing them to build bonus points for ewes that has no bearing on their ram points.
Note: If you apply for a ewe permit in Nevada this draw happens prior to the ram drawing. If you are successful, you will be taken out of the ram draw for that application period.
Resident only opportunities
Residents are allowed to apply for three species of bighorn sheep, including desert bighorn sheep, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep and California bighorn sheep. They are also allowed to apply for mountain goat. No nonresident permits are available for the Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep or mountain goat.
Nevada Silver State tag
For an additional $25 you can select to be included in the Silver State tag drawing, which would make you eligible for a permit 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 Super Tags, and Super Raffles in other western states. This drawing is open to both residents and nonresidents. After purchasing a $10 Resource Enhancement Stamp, you can then buy an unlimited number of raffle tickets for $5 each for as many species as you want. You can enter the Dream Tag raffle here.
New for 2019
- The application deadline is now April 29, 2019 at 11 p.m. PST—almost a full two weeks later than last year. The point only deadline is now May 6, 2019.
- Harvested bighorn sheep ewes do not need to be physically inspected by the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW).
- Successful bighorn sheep ewe tag winners and mountain goat tag winners must complete a mandatory bighorn sheep and mountain goat gender identification course prior to receiving their tags.
- Harvest return card questionnaires are not required if a harvested bighorn sheep ram, black bear or mountain goat is physically inspected by NDOW.
- Harvest return card questionnaires are required for all unsuccessful tag holders—even if they did not hunt.
Ewe bighorn draw odds
Remember, we have Draw Odds for all female species. In Nevada, there are many opportunities for females of each species for residents and nonresidents.
Desert bighorn sheep ewe draw odds
California bighorn sheep ewe draw odds
State quotas will not be set until the May 2019 commission meeting. This is done to ensure that 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 Sheep and Mountain Goat profiles to access historical and statistical data to help you find trophy areas.
Important dates and information
- You may begin applying now.
- The deadline to apply is April 29, 2019 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 6, 2019 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 24, 2019.
- The second draw deadline for leftover tags is June 24, 2019 at 11 p.m. PST.
- The second draw results will be available on or before July 12, 2019.
Drought and snowpack in Nevada
Compared to last year, Nevada has made an incredible turnaround with 0% of the state considered in a moderate drought and another 1.06% barely making the scale at abnormally dry. This is great news for Nevada and plays right into the theory that 2019 could be a banner year for water for sheep cross the state.
2019 versus 2018 snow depth analysis
This comparison below shows year over year more clearly the incredible amount of moisture that the Silver State is receiving this year in all of its highest elevations.
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.
- 2019 maximum bonus points for desert bighorn sheep: 26
- 2019 maximum bonus points for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep: 23
- 2019 maximum bonus points for California bighorn sheep: 26
- 2019 maximum bonus points for mountain goat: 26
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 6, 2019 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 in the Silver State, 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 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 2019 desert bighorn sheep breakdown
Applying for desert bighorn sheep is often the reason many nonresident hunters get started in Nevada. Over 30 nonresident permits are offered each year and five selections considered on an application makes this one of the strongest applications for bighorn sheep in the country. It offers better than average odds of drawing to its residents, especially if you were to look at some of the less than premier units in the state. For nonresidents, you should expect normal bighorn sheep odds; however, there are a lot of winners each year. If you are particularly interested in a desert bighorn sheep, then applying for Nevada is a must. With a few new selections to consider for nonresidents starting in 2019, there is a lot of anticipation in the air for this year’s draws as the nonresident applicants will again be spread out a little more than they have been in the past, which, although minimal, will have a positive effect on the odds.
Desert bighorn sheep draw and harvest summary
|1992||115||77%||7.1||6.7||151 7/8"||172 2/8"|
|1993||123||84%||7.4||6.4||150 3/8"||178 6/8"|
|1994||125||71%||8.6||6.1||149 4/8"||179 4/8"|
|1995||124||72%||7.9||6.3||150 5/8"||171 4/8"|
|1996||122||81%||7.4||5.4||144 6/8"||177 3/8"|
|1997||109||74%||7.9||6.1||145 5/8"||170 6/8"|
|1998||115||83%||7.3||5.8||152 1/8"||172 0/8"|
|1999||127||92%||5.8||6.0||147 4/8"||179 2/8"|
|2000||132||86%||5.9||6.3||147 4/8"||173 2/8"|
|2001||143||86%||5.8||6.2||150 5/8"||178 2/8"|
|2002||140||80%||6.4||6.3||148 4/8"||183 2/8"|
|2003||133||90%||6.2||6.4||150 7/8"||173 0/8"|
|2004||138||92%||6.1||6.1||150 3/8"||174 6/8"|
|2005||149||91%||4.7||6.5||153 1/8"||176 5/8"|
|2006||154||92%||5.5||6.7||152 3/8"||177 6/8"|
|2007||172||87%||6.1||6.4||149 5/8"||172 7/8"|
|2008||173||88%||5.8||6.3||152 3/8"||178 5/8"|
|2009||193||89%||5.2||6.2||153 4/8"||177 4/8"|
|2010||216||86%||5.7||6.5||154 1/8"||189 6/8"|
|2011||222||87%||4.9||6.6||153 6/8"||181 6/8"|
|2012||281||86%||5.7||6.5||154 0/8"||182 2/8"|
|2013||275||91%||5.8||6.3||153 2/8"||182 3/8"|
|2014||287||89%||4.6||6.4||152 2/8"||183 3/8"|
|2015||307||93%||4.7||6.4||152 5/8"||182 0/8"|
|2016||311||92%||4.4||6.5||153 6/8"||182 7/8"|
|2017||334||90%||4.5||6.7||154 4/8"||178 7/8"|
|2018||309||90%||5.4||6.4||151 4/8"||179 7/8"|
Current desert bighorn sheep herd condition
The latest surveys released at the time this article was written was in 2017 and, like many states, Nevada spends thousands of dollars each year to protect their bighorn sheep herds as well as countless man-hours—many of which are donated by its residents. With so many factors against them each year, ranging from diseases to predators, Nevada truly is doing a fantastic job. Total bighorn sheep populations are up from 2016 with desert bighorn sheep numbers up 4% to 10,100 animals.
Units that on average produced six year or older rams in 2018
goHUNT’s hit list units for trophy Nevada desert bighorn sheep in 2019
Top hit list units to consider for 165" or better desert bighorn sheep
killed in 2016
killed in 2017
killed in 2018
|Unit 268||175"||175 2/8"||173 1/8"||175 2/8"||104:100|
|Unit 262||170"||175 0/8"||178 7/8"||172 7/8"||47:100|
|Unit 263||170"||173 0/8"||178 6/8"||168 7/8"||41:100|
|Unit 267||170"||160 3/8"||170 4/8"||170 4/8"||44:100|
|Unit 181||165"||172 0/8"||170 7/8"||166 5/8"||61:100|
|Unit 261||165"||160 7/8"||164"||158 1/8"||57:100|
|Unit 272||165"||NA*||164"||147 7/8"||135:100|
|Unit 283||165"||167 1/8"||158 2/8"||152 7/8"||58:100|
|Unit 286||165"||182 7/8"||175 4/8"||166 6/8"||52:100|
|Unit 280||165"||162 4/8"||162 4/8"||164 2/8"||35:100|
|Unit 281||165"||165 3/8"||165 5/8"||162 2/8"||58:100|
|Unit 282||165"||174 5/8"||176"||179 2/8"||48:100|
Hidden gem information
Finding a wrinkle in the drawing odds is difficult when it comes to bighorn sheep hunting as it is such a focal point for many hunters. Hours are spent pouring over the data to find these gems and, even when one is located, the difference it makes is minimal when compared to other species and opportunities. Often, these gems are either one of two things. The first being low bighorn sheep density and/or lower age class of rams coming out of any given unit. Many hunters—especially the ones who have waited the longest—want to get the most value out of the time and money they have invested and avoid applying for these areas as they would not be happy with the end result. The second factor that can increase a unit’s odds of drawing is how physically demanding the unit happens to be. If it is common knowledge that the unit tends to be more physical because of limited access or simply where a hunter needs to go in order to get to the majority of the bighorn sheep this will often create better odds of drawing. Be sure to be realistic with your goals and your physical capabilities because there just couldn’t be anything more horrible than an unfilled sheep tag as the sun sets on the last day of the season.
Another method in locating a hidden gem is with Filtering 2.0 and our Draw Odds. It has never been easier to help you locate a unit that fits your individual goals. You can pour over information like trophy potential, draw odds percentages, ram:ewe ratios and percentage of public land. You can also analyze the number of applications that are submitted each year as well as the number of tags drawn to show you how a specific unit is trending. With all of these tools at your disposal, it has never been easier to locate your perfect hunt.
Top 10 Nevada desert bighorn units for ram:ewe ratios
B&C entry trends for Nevada desert bighorn sheep
Nevada's top Boone & Crockett producing counties since 2010 for desert bighorn sheep
|Units found within county|
|Clark||51||243, 244, 262, 263, 264, 265, 266, 267,|
268, 271, 272, 280, 281, 282, 283, 284, 286
|Nye||23||243, 244, 262, 263, 264, 265, 266, 267,|
268, 272, 280, 281, 282, 283, 284, 286
|Lincoln||12||133, 223, 241, 243, 245, 271, 280, 281, 282, 283|
|Churchill||5||181, 182, 183, 184|
|Mineral||2||181, 202, 204, 205, 206, 207, 208|
|Esmeralda||2||208, 211, 212, 213|
|Pershing||1||044, 045, 182, 183|
The points system
The bonus point race
2019 maximum bonus points for desert bighorn sheep: 26
Managing points and expectations
I have 0 desert bighorn sheep bonus points. What can I expect?
You live in a state that in 2019 stands to give out 282 unicorn permits or, I mean, desert bighorn sheep. This is hands down the hardest species to draw a permit for in North America aside from the Tule elk in California. Deciding on what your goals are early on could result in a chance to hunt sooner rather than later. There are a number of units in the state that give more permits as well as have a lower age class or genetics that don’t seem to produce like the other units. If none of this matters to you and you simply want a bighorn sheep tag in your pocket, then start early and start using four or all five of your selections to apply for the best odds in the state and worry about what kind of ram you are going to have a chance to hunt in the future. Having your name on a bighorn sheep permit is equally as impressive as actually harvesting a ram. The odds are brutal to start with, but, if we can get rolling early, of all states that a hunter has a chance to eventually end up with decent odds of drawing—it’s Nevada.
Welcome to the party! This is one where dreams come true for 30 plus hunters a year and, well, even with zero points your odds are just about as good as anyone else—even the ones who have been at it for a long time—like 20 years long time. This isn’t an application with a finish line. We are applying for this because we dream of hunting desert bighorn sheep and Nevada offers more of them to nonresident hunters than all of the other states combined. This is a must for hunters hoping to add a desert bighorn sheep to their hunting resume. Swing for the fence with at least the first two selections and, if you are willing, look towards some of the less desirable units for your bottom two or three selections. Study up on which units have the least amount of applicants each year and if they fit your goals use them.
What can I expect with 9 or 10 desert bighorn sheep bonus points?
If you are now applying with 10 points you will go into the draw with 101 tickets in the bucket and are just starting to have some presence in the draw. If you are looking towards some of the better odds with your last three or four selections on your application, the best odds you will find with this current point total are Unit 132 with an 8.2% chance of drawing for residents.
You have been playing this game long enough now to know what you are up against. It really doesn’t matter how many points you have—it’s going to take a lot of luck. At a minimum, you have a decent amount of points in a state that offers more desert bighorn tags than any other and they have now increased the number of selections that nonresidents can choose from. This should spread out the applicants a little more and you should see a slight increase in odds because of that.
What can I expect with 11 or more desert bighorn sheep bonus points?
If you have made it to 15 points based on last year’s odds you now have seven different units in the state that you would have at or better than a 1:10 chance of drawing. If you are done waiting you may consider applying for only one premier unit for your first choice just in case and swing for the fence on some of the better drawing odds. If you have a 1:10 chance or better on four of your five selections, this becomes a very aggressive application and you are giving yourself the best chance to be successful that you can.
Maximum point holders can see draw odds as high as the mid to upper 20%. Check out the standalone Draw Odds details page for more information.
If you are one of the unlucky ones who happen to have been applying for 20+ years you are in for some rough news. Your odds of drawing are still less than 1% across the state except in three units based on 2018 drawing odds. Those units were right at 1% in Unit 044 and Unit 182 and 1.1% for Unit 184. Keep applying and keep your fingers crossed. When it happens it will be oh so worth it. Hopefully, you have been applying for the other species Nevada has to offer and taken full advantage of those opportunities when they have come.
Nevada's 2019 Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep breakdown
Some of the most exciting news for Nevada residents this year is the addition to two new selections to add to their Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep application for 2019. Being able to apply for all five choices is awesome. As they have not released just how many permits will be available on these new hunts, we are not sure how close this comes to doubling the number of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep permits in the state, but, even if it ends up being only one ram per unit, two is better than nothing. This leaves three remaining herds of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep in the state that Nevada is still currently not hunting, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction. With any luck, there will be permits offered on these two new hunts for many years to come.
Rocky bighorn sheep draw and harvest summary
|1995||2||100%||10.5||10.0||174 1/8"||183 2/8"|
|1996||2||50%||10.0||10.0||165 6/8"||165 6/8"|
|1997||3||67%||7.3||8.5||164 6/8"||169 1/8"|
|1998||5||100%||1.4||7.6||169 6/8"||176 2/8"|
|2000||4||100%||4.3||7.5||164 2/8"||173 3/8"|
|2001||3||67%||5.7||6.0||174 2/8"||178 1/8"|
|2002||3||100%||3.0||6.7||167 6/8"||183 1/8"|
|2003||6||100%||4.7||6.8||168 1/8"||183 4/8"|
|2004||6||83%||3.2||8.0||176 7/8"||189 4/8"|
|2005||6||83%||8.5||7.4||174 5/8"||178 2/8"|
|2006||6||83%||2.7||7.0||170 1/8"||190 5/8"|
|2008||13||92%||6.4||6.8||169 4/8"||191 5/8"|
|2009||11||100%||3.8||7.9||172 2/8"||195 4/8"|
|2010||4||100%||3.0||5.8||153 6/8"||160 1/8"|
|2011||5||60%||8.0||7.7||159 5/8"||167 2/8"|
|2015||4||25%||10.0||7.0||146 5/8"||146 4/8"|
|2016||5||40%||11.6||5.5||151 5/8"||155 6/8"|
|2017||6||50%||7.5||7.7||162 6/8"||167 6/8"|
|2018||5||100%||9.4||5.8||140 3/8"*||166 2/8"|
Current rocky mountain bighorn sheep herd condition
The last herd reports across the state were in 2017 and they showed an increase in the number of bighorn sheep across the state by 30 animals, resulting in the total population in the Silver State at 240 animals. However, this upward swing must be continuing or it is unlikely that they would have added the opportunity that they did this coming season.
There are four different seasons for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep in Nevada, depending on the hunt that you draw. All of these hunts are considered any weapon hunts and the hunter can choose to either hunt with their rifle, muzzleloader or archery equipment if they prefer.
The early hunt on Unit 114 is scheduled for Aug. 15, which is an earlier start than ever before, and closes on Oct. 31. This is in an effort to increase the success rate on this hunt as it has been less than 100% multiple times over the past number of years.
Top hit list units to consider for 170" or better Rocky Mtn bighorn sheep
|Unit 091 - New Hunt||165"+||77:100|
|Unit 074 - New Hunt||NA||NA|
B&C entry trends for Nevada Rocky and California bighorn sheep
Nevada's top Boone & Crockett producing counties
|Humboldt*||1||012, 031, 032, 033, 034, 035, 051, 066|
|White Pine||1||114, 115|
The points system
The bonus point race
Only residents are allowed to apply for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep in Nevada.
2019 maximum bonus points for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep: 26
Managing points and expectations
I have 0 Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep bonus points. What can I expect?
Do not miss a year applying in your home state for a chance to hunt sheep. Equal odds are good odds. Look at it like this: if you were to purchase one lottery ticket and your neighbor purchases 26 of them or 200 of them, you both still have a less than 1% chance at hitting the lottery. This is exactly the same situation when it comes to Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep in your home state. Don’t miss out on having your name in this hat. In the big picture, it is one of the least expensive chances at a bighorn sheep you will have any given year and who knows? You could be the lucky hunter who will be headed out first to one of the new hunt areas available this year.
What can I do with 5 Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep bonus points?
Remember what we talked about: one ticket versus 200 it really is the same. Your odds have not moved off of the floor at this point and you will still have a less than 1% drawing. However, odds are for the weak and if you draw a Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep tag with only five points, they might just name a street after you in your hometown.
What can I expect with 15 or 20 Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep bonus points?
20 years’ worth of points should count for something, right? Unfortunately, when we are talking about a Nevada Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep permit, it does not. With a less than 1% chance at drawing, this is still a long shot; however,, you, my friend, are addicted to all the right things. This was never about actually drawing; it was the fact that you couldn’t look yourself in the mirror the day after the deadline and know that your name wasn’t in that hat. Put your boots on and roll the dice again. Who knows? Maybe these two new hunts will tilt the scales in your favor and you will be headed out the door with a bighorn sheep tag in your pocket. Besides, guys like you are my favorite success story. When it happens for you it will all be worth it. As of right now your odds of drawing with the most number of points possible are this:
Nevada's 2019 California bighorn sheep breakdown
As the total population of California Bighorns continues to climb, reaching close to 2,000 total animals located primarily in the north and northwest corner of the state, we are excited to announce that there has been an increase in the number of nonresidents permits available 2019. With six permits offered last year, we expect this number to stay consistent; however, the addition of two new hunt choices for nonresident hunters is the first time nonresidents will now be able to simply apply for all available choices as there are now six to choose from. One of the added selections for nonresidents is Unit 051, which had a slight drop in numbers based upon the 2017 surveys and, yet, produced a 177 4/8” giant in 2017. With 12 total areas of the state offering hunts for California bighorn sheep, now half of these areas have established populations that can sustain this increase in permits. The odds of drawing are unlikely to increase much if any as, historically, these hunts have been at or less than 1% even for top point holders, but, given the expensive hunting license required prior to applying, it would be a mistake not to throw your name in this hat. If every applicant has a less than 1% chance—regardless of points—then that is equal odds in my book and, well, equal odds are good odds, especially for a bighorn sheep.
Current California bighorn sheep herd condition
The most recent counts across the state, which happened in 2017, were up 100 bighorn sheep (6%) with the total count coming in at 1,900 animals. Five of the hunt areas showed an increase in the total number of bighorn sheep. Unit 032 was the most notable with 50 additional bighorn sheep counted in the survey from the previous year. Three hunt areas showed a decrease in total animals with Unit 051 being the most drastic at 30 bighorn sheep less than the 2016 count. The overall average of rams:ewes ratio in the state is 60 rams for every 100 ewes. The most drastic being Unit 012 on the low end with 27 rams for every 100 ewes and Unit 031 with 97 rams for every 100 ewes. The California bighorn sheep are in great shape in Nevada and seem to be headed in the right direction. It is not an application that I would typically call out strong enough to apply for on its own, but, if you are going to be purchasing the state hunting license for any other species, it would be a mistake to not include California bighorn sheep in your application spreadsheet.
Top hit list units to consider for 160" or better California bighorn sheep
killed in 2015
killed in 2016
killed in 2017
killed in 2018
|Unit 032**||170"+||164 1/8"||163 6/8"||162 7/8"||164 3/8"||53:100||100%|
|Unit 051||165"+||161"||165 3/8"||177 4/8"||175 6/8"||45:100||0%|
|Unit 041||165"+||168 1/8"||172 3/8"||163 2/8"||133 6/8"||67:100||100%|
|Unit 033||160"+||159 3/8"||139 7/8"||166 2/8"||146 5/8"||57:100||100%|
|Unit 034**||160"+||154 2/8"||166 2/8"||154 3/8"||156 6/8"||77:100||89%|
|Unit 035**||160"+||160 1/8"||161 0/8"||158 5/8"||163 1/8"||55:100||88%|
|Unit 066||160"+||163 4/8"||150 0/8"||NA||155 6/8"||88:100||100%|
|Unit 031*||170"+||172 7/8"||166 4/8"||162 4/8"||169 4/8"||97:100||100%|
Hidden gem information
With six selections to choose from, this will be the first time in years that a nonresident applicant has more selections to choose from then choices on an application. If you are interested in applying for the best odds about the only thing you can do is to apply for what would be considered the least desirable permit of the six as your final selection. Historically, this would be Unit 012; however, with the addition of Unit 051 and Unit 068, it is hard to say if these units will receive some extra attention or if one of them will now take over at the bottom of the totem pole. Overall, it is important to remember that these are not units that have not been hunted. They are new to nonresidents as a selection, but have been a choice for residents for a number of years and have had hunters hunting these bighorn sheep for many years.
B&C entry trends for Nevada California bighorns
B&C classify California bighorn sheep in the same records as the Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep and, as we have stated previously, this smaller subspecies rarely makes the grade for the B&C minimum. The few that have over the years would be listed as sheep that have come out of Humboldt County.
The points system
The bonus point race
2019 maximum bonus points for California bighorn sheep: 26
Managing points and expectations
I have 0 California bighorn sheep bonus points. What can I expect?
It’s best to get your horse some water and give him a good brushing before you put him to pasture as you are going to be here for a while. Drawing a bighorn sheep permit in the States is tough, but drawing a California Bighorn in Nevada is on the next level as far as odds are concerned—even for residents. Currently, the odds of drawing are going to be less than 0.01% and, unfortunately, even with 20+ years, they are going to stay pretty close to that. However, not applying in your home state for every chance you can at a bighorn sheep permit is a bad decision. There is a gentleman from Las Vegas that after 39 years of applying finally beat the odds and drew not only his California bighorn sheep, but also his desert bighorn sheep both in the same year. You never know when it will be your turn, but it definitely won’t ever if you don’t throw your name in the hat.
Not applying for every species of interest in a state that requires you to purchase a hunting license is typically a mistake. Nevada—and the fact that you can throw your name into two different bighorn sheep drawings—is no different. It should be noted that your current odds of drawing are going to be less than 0.01% and, after 20 years of applying, they do not get much better than this. With a very high demand and a very limited supply, the odds of drawing a California bighorn sheep tag in the Silver State are about the same as getting hit by a lightning bolt as you head out to check the mail this evening. However, it does happen for a few lucky hunters each year and 2019 could be your year! Don’t forget to apply for the Silver State tag while you are at it. For a few extra bucks, you just doubled your chances.
What can I do with 5 California bighorn sheep bonus points?
Your odds are not doing much better and you have increased slightly to above 0.01% in a couple of units. Continue with your original plan. Who knows? Any year could be your year and don’t apply “point only” unless you just absolutely cannot hunt this coming fall.
Don’t get cold feet on me now! We are just warming up! There has been very little movement on your odds as the number of applicants coming out of the draw has historically been only five per year, but now there is a chance for eight or more with the new additions selections. Who knows? Maybe one of them will have your name on it.
What can I expect with 15 or more California bighorn sheep bonus points?
With any luck, you have seen some better results in the other species your state has to offer. As we have discussed before, this one is a long shot and doesn’t get much better with time. However, your odds are starting to increase and there are a couple of selections that have a better than 1% chance of drawing. Unit 035 had the best odds in the state last year, but, because of this, is unlikely to have the best odds in 2019. If you are looking to beat the odds, instead of chasing the low number from year to year, it is best to identify a unit that has a rollercoaster in the number of applicants listing it as a selection each year. Your odds will fluctuate dramatically year over year; however, if you are consistently applying for a hunt selection like this, then on the years it dips you will be in it, essentially giving you the best crack on that year even though there will likely be odds chasers the following year, making it a more normal odds. Who knows? You are in Nevada. Crazier things have happened when we are talking about luck.
You are not applying for this because of the odds so we don’t need to talk about that. They are brutal even after all of these years. You most definitely know that at this point in the game. The “what if” is a powerful force that drags us back against better judgment. With any luck, there has been a successful application or two along the way at this point in Nevada and this would simply be a cherry on top. Good luck this year and make the most of it if lady luck shines down on you this application season!
Nevada's 2019 Rocky Mountain goat breakdown
Nevada will only be offering mountain goat hunts for residents in 2019. With two consecutive years of a harvest success of less than 80%, it does not look like things are getting any better in the Ruby Mountains for the mountain goats. The last survey in 2018 estimated a population of approximately 310 mountain goats across the three units. This has been a downward spiral since 2009 when there was an estimated 470 goats on the mountain.
Although the opportunities are limited in Nevada, if you do happen to draw one of these tags, the caliber of billies coming out of this state are quite good as B&C records show. This is most likely caused by the very limited number of tags each year as well as the remoteness of the herds, which helps maintain a higher age class. Long story short: drawing a Nevada mountain goat tag is very difficult, but if you are the lucky recipient and you can put a few miles on your boots in rough terrain, you are in for a world class experience.
Current mountain goat herd condition
The last survey released by NDOW was in 2018 with most of the data collected in 2017. Those counts came back showing the mountain goat population in Nevada sitting at approximately 310 animals. The system used to determine this number has a + or – of 20%. This number reflects a decrease of 6% in total mountain goats over the 2016 survey. Both Unit 102 and Unit 103 came back with the same number of mountain goats from the 2016 survey. Unit 102 currently holds the bulk of mountain goats in the state at 200 animals while Unit 103 holds approximately 45. Unit 101 saw a decrease of 20 animals since the 2016 survey, which brought that unit population down to 65 animals. The long story short with Nevada mountain goats is that this herd is in rough shape. As recently as 2009, there were close to 500 mountain goats in Nevada and, due to an outbreak of pathogens that has led to a large number of pneumonia-related mortalities, this herd continues to decline. With a very poor recruitment happening each year, it is hard to say when this epidemic is going to stop. Based on a declining success rate, it is possible that conditions are in worse shape than they were in 2016 when these numbers were compiled.
Mountain goat draw and harvest summary
Nevada mountain goat hunts are any legal weapon permits. You can use a rifle, muzzleloader or even archery equipment if you choose. The great part about Nevada mountain goat hunting is the two-month-long season. Dates are Sept. 1 through Oct. 31, which give hunters plenty of time to find a quality mountain goat.
Top hit list units to consider for 9" or better mountain goat
killed in 2015
killed in 2016
killed in 2017
|Unit 101||9"+||9 3/8"||9 3/8"||9 3/8"||85 goats||100%|
|Unit 102||9"+||10 2/8"||10 2/8"||9 3/8"||200 goats||83%|
|Unit 103||9"+||8 4/8"||8 4/8"||9"||45 goats||0%|
How to uncover hidden gem mountain goat units
With only three available selections there really isn’t a way to uncover a gem. Based on the overall population, Unit 102 sticks out as an obvious first choice. An average, the caliber of goats taken in Unit 101 and 102 are typically larger. At the end of the day, you should apply for all three units each time you submit your application and feel very fortunate if you happen to be successful no matter which unit it happens in.
B&C entry trends for Nevada mountain goat
Nevada's top Boone & Crockett producing counties since 2010 for mountain goat
|Elko||4||101, 102, 103|
The points system
The bonus point race
2019 maximum bonus points for mountain goat: 26
No nonresident permit available in 2019
Managing points and expectations
I have 0 mountain goat bonus points. What can I expect?
These are some of my favorite applications in the country. The odds are atrocious in the beginning and they stay pretty much the same until the day you draw. Your odds of drawing are currently 0.01% and, if you are one of the “lucky ones” sitting with top points, you are still at less than one percent. These are the type of applications that, although you are decades behind the point curve, it really doesn’t matter. If a top point applicant has a less than one percent chance of drawing and so do you, well, my friend, in my world, I call that equal odds and equal odds are good odds. Plus, not applying for a hunt like this in your home state should be against the law! Pick up that penny you are about to step over and apply for all three units—it could be the best few dollars you ever spent!
What can I do with 3 to 4 mountain goat bonus points?
This isn’t the time to get skeptical; we knew going in that this was a long shot. Nothing has really changed. You have a less than 1% chance of drawing and it’s not about that. Odds are for the weak! It’s about crying on the phone with your best friend the day the draw results post as you tell him that the drawing gods have looked down on you and smiled.
What can I expect with 10 or more mountain goat bonus points?
Keep a prayer in your heart application warrior: 2019 could be the year. Although all of those points you have are not doing you much good to distance yourself from the competition you know in your soul that it was meant for you. Grab your lucky rabbit’s foot or light a candle or something as you’re going to need all of the luck you can muster. The odds of drawing break down like this.
If you currently have 26 points for mountain goat in Nevada as a resident your odds are:
If you have less than 26 points than your odds are less than this.