Simmons: It’s hunting tag time in Nevada

It’s time to apply for those coveted Nevada big game tags. The application period ends April 17.

The first step is to go online (huntnevada.com) or pick up a copy of the Big Game Application book at your nearest sporting goods store. This will give you area maps and quotas for each unit.

There are also helpful sections on this website with suggested areas of greater game concentrations and hunter results from previous years.

Once you have an idea of regions with positive results and are familiar with the possible hunting units, talk with friends and fellow hunters. You may be impressed at their willingness to share information from previous hunts.

If they have been successful in the past few years they may be out of the game for a particular species, as there may be a waiting period before they can apply again.

Other positive references are the local and regional hunting and conservation organizations such as Safari Club International, the Fraternity of the Desert Bighorns, Nevada Sportsmen Unlimited or Wildlife Habitat in Nevada. All of these groups will have a great many like-minded individuals anxious to help a fellow hunter.

INSIGHTS OFFERED

If you’ve applied in previous years in a positive area, but were unsuccessful with the draw, check recent harvest statistics on the Hunt Nevada website and apply again. Remember, even if you are not successful with the draw, you accumulate points that will give you a greater chance next year.

I always use my first choice in an area where I know the terrain, habitat and species habits. Big game is not evenly distributed throughout an area; they are in pockets. The key is to know the location of these pockets and that takes extensive scouting.

If you’re hunting in a new area or don’t have time to do extensive scouting – hire a guide. You’ll need to research your guide from the same sources mentioned above and then your guide will recommend positive areas to apply for your tags. Remember, he wants you to be successful too, as his reputation is based on your success.

Another factor to consider when thinking of a guide is the value of his local knowledge as opposed to your expense of scouting time, transportation, fuel, lodging and equipment. We’ve all incurred these and I for one have returned unsuccessful more than once. I’m sure some of you have had the same experience, so, can hiring a guide save you money and increase your success rate? For me, the answer is yes.

RECENT HUNT

On a recent elk hunt in the Pioche area, I called an old friend who guides in this area. He keeps pretty busy during the hunting season, but had a short opening and thought he could help me find what I was looking for – and he did.

I supplied my own camp and food and met him at a local campground.

Let’s call him “Pine Nuts”, a name he acquired on this hunt due to my lagging a bit behind on our hikes in high country. (No, I’m not 30 anymore and have slowed down a bit as my hair has changed color).

He was, however, patient and helpful. As he occasionally waited for me to get my breath or catch up he occupied himself with collecting and sharing pine nuts along the trail. He always seemed to be consuming them from his deep coat pockets or from the ground, thus the name Pine Nuts.

We traveled and scouted places I could have never gone. His trail craft was excellent, as is mine after spending many years hunting the far north as a game warden and guide. After a couple of days seeing many elk, but not the one we were looking for, we moved to another secret location.

Pine Nuts had been there many times before and felt good about the day’s possibilities. He described how we could drive to a secluded area, hike up a long ravine to the timberline, belly-crawl through brush and cactus to some downed timber and have a chance to be in range of our animal.

We’ve all had that intuition when hunting in familiar territory; sometimes we’re right and other times we have to wait until the next day.

We didn’t have to wait this time, however, it happened just as Pine Nuts had predicted and we concluded another successful hunt.

So now it’s the start of another season. I’ve done my research, made my calls and will apply for my favorite species and areas and then wait for the postman to deliver the news. Then I’ll call Pine Nuts, who also is known as Mark Holt, Lincoln County Assessor (that’s right), pine nut aficionado and master guide at Skull Valley Outfitters 775-726-3440.

If you have a story or comment about this or other articles, please contact me at dansimmons@usa.net or give me a call at 775-727-9777.

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