| March 9, 2018 | Hunt Research

Recently we updated our Nevada draw odds information to include results from the 2017 main draw. Tags in Nevada are issued via random draw but they do have a squared bonus point system intended to increase your chances as you accumulate points. They also allow an applicant up to 5 hunt choices for each species/hunt type which makes the Nevada draw system the trickiest of all states to accurately calculate draw odds.

For more information about the Nevada draw process and bonus point system, see the "What Happens After You Submit Your Application?" on this page. A more complete description of Nevada's bonus point system can be found here.

Like last year, we are using a computer simulation and the full applicant list to calculate draw odds. Total applicants and total tag quotas are only part of the picture in Nevada. Correctly considering up to 5 hunt choices per app, across the entire applicant pool, is critical.

We'd like to give special acknowledgment to JR (Randy) Creighton for his thoughtful contributions over the last several months. Randy holds a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin, and spent his career at Sandia National Laboratories working on a wide variety of experimental and theoretical projects. Randy's insights have greatly improved the manner in which we process and interpret the statistical results of our draw simulations.

This year we've added an additional chart to our unit pages that shows the total number of bonus point "chances" for each hunt. This number is simply a sum of all applicant bonus points (squared, +1) for each hunt choice. Visualizing this total can sometimes provide additional information about why the draw odds for a particular hunt shifted in one direction or another.

For example, the resident draw odds for the unit 161 archery elk hunt have steadily improved over the last 3 years. The total tag quota has remained the same, but the total # of applicants has slightly increased over the period. So we have more applicants, the same # of tags, yet better draw odds. It is in instances like this where the total number of bonus point chances can provide some additional information. For this hunt the total bonus point chances has significantly decreased over the last 3 years. In other words, applicants at higher point levels aren't applying for this hunt like they have in past years:

But then there are counter examples where the total number of bonus point chances don't seem to match up with the odds trend. Consider the resident unit 078 archery elk hunt. The draw odds in '16 and '17 are very similar, as are the total # of applicants. Yet the total bonus point chances show that in '17 there was a significant decrease in bonus point pressure. Why isn't that reflected in the odds?:

After digging into the details of this hunt, we found that choice order played a big role in the draw odds for this hunt between 2016 and 2017. It turns out that many more 2016 applicants misordered their hunt choices and placed this hunt in a less than optimal choice position. That makes sense given that the quota drop from '15 to '16 significantly changed the draw odds.

In 2017 applicants did a better job and fewer applications had choices out of order, but, we still see applications with unoptimized choices. For this hunt, we found 894 bonus point chances "wasted" in 2016, vs 365 in 2017. Out of order hunt choices on an application don't equally factor into the overall draw odds because they very rarely (if ever) get drawn. For more information, see last year's write up covering Nevada.

The overall point is that the odds in Nevada are complex and there are a lot of contributing factors. But making the most of your application is really quite simple: always order your hunt choices from hardest to easiest to draw.

Nevada's main big game application period is set to open on March 19 and the deadline to apply is April 16. Good luck!