Nevada Elk Hunting 101

March 25, 2024

Connor Merritt

Connor Merritt

Rocky Mountain Elk, scientifically known as Cervus canadensis, are one of the most iconic animals of the American wilderness. These magnificent creatures, with their impressive antlers and impressive stature, captivate the hearts of outdoor enthusiasts everywhere. Elk are famous for their resilience, adaptability, and sheer beauty, making them a cherished species among hunters. In this article, we’ll cover general information about the species itself, basic tips and tricks, as well everything else you need to know about Nevada elk hunting.

Nevada Elk Hunting: The Rocky Mountain Elk

Nevada elk hunting

Habitat and Range

Rocky Mountain Elk are predominantly found in the western regions of North America, particularly in the Rocky Mountains and surrounding areas. Their habitat ranges from dense forests to open meadows, where they graze on a variety of vegetation including grasses, shrubs, and forbs. During the winter months, elk migrate to lower elevations in search of food and shelter, often congregating in valleys and foothills.

Physical Characteristics

Adult male elk, also known as bulls, boast impressive antlers that can span up to four feet in length and weigh as much as 40 pounds. These antlers are shed and regrown annually, with size and complexity influenced by age, genetics, and nutrition. Female elk, called cows, lack antlers and typically have a lighter build compared to bulls. Both sexes display a reddish-brown coat with a darker mane around the neck and shoulders.

Behavior and Social Structure

Elk are highly social animals, forming herds that vary in size depending on the season and environmental conditions. Bulls establish dominance through vocalization and displays of strength during the rutting season, which typically occurs in the fall. This period is marked by intense competition among males for mating rights with receptive females. Outside of the rut, elk herds are often segregated by sex, with cows and their offspring forming maternal groups while bulls roam alone or in small bachelor groups.

Conservation Status

Although Rocky Mountain Elk populations have rebounded in recent decades thanks to successful conservation efforts, ongoing habitat loss, fragmentation, and disease remain significant challenges. Conservation organizations, government agencies, and private landowners work tirelessly to protect elk habitat, manage populations, and promote sustainable hunting practices. Through collaborative efforts, we can ensure future generations will continue to marvel at the sight of these magnificent creatures roaming the wild landscapes of North America.

Nevada Elk Hunting Licenses

Resident Hunting and Hunting/Fishing Combination Licenses

Adult Combination – 18 & older $75.00
Youth Combination – 12-17 $15.00
Adult Hunting – 18 & older $38.00
Apprentice Hunting License 12 & older
Available at NDOW offices only

Non-Resident Hunting and Hunting/Fishing Combination Licenses

Adult Combination – 18 & older $155.00
Youth Combination – 12-17 $15.00
Apprentice Hunting License 12 & older
Available at NDOW offices only
1-Day Combination Permit to Fish & Hunt Upland Game and Waterfowl – 18 & older
Consecutive Day


Specialty Combination Licenses (Verification Required)

Senior Specialty Combination – 65+ & 6 months residence $15.00
Serviceman Specialty Combination $15.00
Severely Disabled Specialty Combination $15.00
Disabled Veteran Specialty Combination $15.00
Native American Specialty Combination $10.00

How to Apply for Nevada Elk Hunting

In Nevada, hunters require tags to pursue elk. Tags are distributed through a computerized draw process managed by Kalkomey Enterprises, LLC. The main application period for big game, including Silver State and Partnership in Wildlife tags, usually runs from mid-March to mid-May, with results available in late May or early June.

A second draw, held in mid-June, offers remaining or returned tags to any residency. Tags not allocated after the second draw may be purchased on a first-come, first-served basis, typically opening in early July. All application periods and program details can be found here during their respective open dates.

You can find more in-depth information on the Nevada application processes here.

Nevada Elk Hunting Tag Costs


Elk Tag $120.00
Elk Incentive Tag $120.00


Elk Tag $1,200.00
Elk Incentive Tag $1,200.00

Non-refundable Applications Fees

  • $15 for elk (includes $5 elk damage fee) (NRS 502.250)

Nevada Elk Hunting Application Dates

Main Draw Second Draw
Application Period Opens Feb 12 March 25 June 3 First-Come First-Served

Early July

Application Period Deadline Mar 11 May 8 June 10 Until all tags are issued
Results Release Date Mar 22 May 17 June 21 N/A

Nevada Elk Hunting Basics

Nevada elk hunting

1. Study Elk Behavior and Habitat:

  • Research elk behavior, including rutting patterns, feeding habits, and migration routes, to identify prime hunting locations.
  • Understand elk habitat preferences, such as dense forests, meadows, and water sources, to narrow down potential hunting areas.
  • Utilize trail cameras and scouting techniques to monitor elk activity and gather valuable insights before the hunting season.

2. Plan Your Hunt Strategically:

  • Scout multiple hunting areas to maximize your chances of success and adapt to changing elk movements.
  • Identify vantage points and ambush sites along elk travel routes, bedding areas, and feeding grounds.
  • Consider hunting during early morning or late afternoon when elk are most active, especially during the rutting season.

3. Master Elk Calling Techniques:

  • Learn a variety of elk calls, including bugles, cow calls, and grunts, to effectively communicate with elk and attract them within range.
  • Practice calling techniques to mimic natural elk sounds and adjust your calling strategy based on elk responses and behavior.
  • Use calls sparingly and with discretion to avoid alerting elk to your presence and maintain their curiosity.

4. Utilize Stealth and Concealment:

  • Approach elk hunting areas quietly and avoid unnecessary noise that could spook elk and disrupt their behavior.
  • Use natural terrain features and vegetation for concealment, such as brush, trees, and rock formations, to blend into your surroundings.
  • Employ scent control measures to minimize human odor and maximize your chances of remaining undetected by elk.

5. Understand Legal Regulations:

  • Familiarize yourself with Nevada’s hunting regulations, including tag requirements, hunting seasons, and weapon restrictions specific to elk hunting.
  • Obtain the necessary permits, licenses, and tags well in advance of the hunting season, and ensure compliance with bag limits and reporting requirements.
  • Respect private property boundaries, wilderness areas, and designated hunting zones while pursuing elk on public land.

6. Be Prepared for Field Processing:

  • Equip yourself with quality field dressing tools, including sharp knives, game bags, and a sturdy backpack for transporting elk meat and trophies.
  • Practice proper field dressing techniques to ensure efficient processing of harvested elk and preservation of meat quality.
  • Pack sufficient ice or coolers to keep harvested elk meat fresh during transportation and storage.

7. Stay Safe and Respectful:


Hunting Rocky Mountain Elk in Nevada is a rewarding experience for hunters of all skill levels. By following these basic tips and tricks and staying on top of the application process, you can enhance your chances of success. Remember to respect wildlife, abide by hunting regulations, and cherish the natural beauty of Nevada’s wilderness. With careful preparation and perseverance, you can embark on a memorable elk hunting adventure in the Silver State.


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