Nevada Big Game Status Report
With gasoline prices soaring to record levels, hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts with an interest in Nevada's big game herds are spending more time at home and less time in the field. But that doesn't mean they have to remain in the dark when it comes to knowing the status of those herds. In fact, all they have to do is turn through the pages of the 2006-2007 Big Game Status Report published by the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) and now available as a PDF file on the agency's website.
The report is the compilation of data gathered by wildlife biologists across the state and organized by species. A summary gives readers a statewide overview of each of Nevada's big game species and is followed by more detailed information organized by herd management units. Those geographical areas coincide with the state's hunt units. The report covers mule deer, pronghorn antelope, elk, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, mountain lions and black bears.
"I always tell people the report is for the hunter who likes to dig deeper," said John McKay, Outdoor Education Coordinator for NDOW. "This document provides more detail about the herds and the quality of the animals in those herds than any other source of information. The report also documents any trends in specific animal populations. This information is especially helpful for hunters who may receive a tag for an area they have never hunted."
In the section discussing the status of mule deer in Area 7, for example, the report notes that 2,284 muleys were classified during a helicopter survey in December 2006. The buck-to-doe ratio in that group of deer was 29 bucks to 100 does. "The buck ratio was well above the previous 10-year average of 23 bucks/100 does," wrote Kari Martin, the area's big game biologist.
The Big Game Status report is also a good place to look for information on population trends and what the future might hold in a particular area. "The Area 10 population is up slightly from last year," noted Biologist Tony Wasley. "Area 10 has been relatively insulated from the severe drought conditions that adversely affected many of the state's deer herds. Population estimates in Area 10 have increased for six of the last seven years."
In addition to information on the animals themselves, the report also addresses habitat issues – good or bad. The more hunters know about habitat in a particular area, the more likely they are to be successful.
Other information made available through the Big Game Status Report includes harvest data and the age class of animals taken in each unit during the 2006 fall hunting seasons. In Area 22, a total of 316 bucks were harvested during the three 2006 deer seasons – archery, muzzleloader and any legal weapon. Of those bucks, 47 percent were four-point bucks or larger.
The 2006-2007 Big Game Status Report can be accessed at www.ndow.org. Click on the "Our Agency" icon then on the publications link. The document is more than 140 pages. The publications can be viewed online or downloaded and printed. Viewers should make sure they have enough paper and ink before hitting the print button.
The Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) protects, restores and manages fish and wildlife, and promotes fishing, hunting, and boating safety. NDOW's wildlife and habitat conservation efforts are primarily funded by sportsmen's license and conservation fees and a federal surcharge on hunting and fishing gear. Support wildlife and habitat conservation in Nevada by purchasing a hunting, fishing, or combination license. For more information, visit www.ndow.org.