All wild ungulates (deer, elk, pronghorn, bighorn sheep, etc.), can be aged fairly accurately by examining their teeth. This can be done two ways. One way is to examine the teeth under a microscope and the other is to look at wear and replacement patterns of all the teeth in the lower jaw. Using the number of tines on a buck’s antlers is not an accurate way to estimate age. Bucks in exceptional condition can have more tines than those of the same age which are in poor condition. And older bucks may have heavy beams but fewer points than a young buck.
Aging by counting cementum annuli under a microscope
This method requires the extraction of one of the large front incisors from the lower jaw and slicing the root extremely thin. These slices are then stained and examined under a microscope. As a wildlife biologist, I have pulled and collected hundreds, if not thousands of teeth from ungulates. Most of the time biologists send those teeth to a lab either at their Game and Fish Department or to one in Montana (Matson’s) to be examined. But I have also had jobs where I spent hours cutting, staining and examining slices of deer teeth. This method is very interesting and is similar to counting annual rings in a cut tree trunk. Deer lay down a layer of cementum in their teeth each year. A specialized machine is used to slice microscopic sections off of the tooth root. After staining, the slices of tooth will show annual rings.
Counting cementum annuli is the most accurate method of aging deer older than 3.5 years. In some species you can gain additional information from this technique. Matson’s lab in Montana has correlated the years that a bear has young with thin layers of cementum (perhaps because the bear is putting more resources into the pregnancy). So by looking at a slice of tooth from a female black bear, a biologist can tell how many times the bear has produced young. This works well in bear because they tend to only have young every other year. But for most deer, reproduction is an annual event.
If you have a buck that you would like aged, pull the front incisors from the lower jaw (deer don’t have upper incisors) and contact Matson’s lab for information on how to get it aged. It is just as expensive for the lab to analyze one tooth as it is for 4-5, so you might wait until you have several or get your hunting buddies to collect teeth too.
Make sure when you extract the tooth that you do not break off the root. The easiest way to extract them that I know of is to use a pocket knife to slice down deep into the gum on each side of the tooth. Then wiggle the knife on each side of the tooth so as to loosen things up. Do this on both of the front incisors. Then place the blade of the knife behind the teeth, with the width of the blade parallel to the width of the teeth. Push the knife blade into the gum and gently pry the knife toward you. This should push both teeth forward and down from the rest and then you can slice any remaining flesh from the root to fully extract them.
For more information visit Matson’s Laboratory, LLC – Home Page.
You can email Gary Matson at gjmatson AT montana DOT com
Matson’s Laboratory, LLC
8140 Flagler Road
P.O. Box 308
Milltown MT 59851
Aging by tooth wear and replacement
Another way to use a deer’s teeth to determine it’s age is by looking at wear and replacement. Deer develop their teeth in a predictable pattern. In addition, over time, the teeth are ground down and that wear can give an indication of age. This method is most accurate for deer less than 3.5 years old. For older deer, the amount that the teeth wear down annually varies according to what they are eating. A deer that lives in an environment with a lot of sandy, gritty soil will wear his teeth down faster than one that doesn’t. Many Game and Fish offices have a “deer jaw board” which has examples of deer jaws of known age deer so that one can see how the teeth wear in that particular area. When I get some photos of some jaws, I will post them. An excellent reference for aging all big game animals in Arizona has been published by the Arizona Game and Fish Department. It gives a great description and has pictures demonstrating the tooth replacement patterns.
To use this method of aging a deer, you want to look at the lower jaw. A deer has long incisors on the front part of the jaw and premolars and molars on the back the jaw. In fawns, you will only see four back teeth (3 premolars and 1 molar). A yearling Coues deer will have 3 premolars and the third premolar will have three cusps. The molars of a yearling are still coming in, but you should see three molars with the last molar only partially erupted. A deer that is 2.5 years old will have all its adult teeth in and the third premolar will only have two cusps. There is very little wear evident on the teeth of a 2.5 yr old. Because a deer does not replace any of its teeth after 2.5 years, the teeth start to show more wear with each passing year. The first molar (the fourth tooth on the back part of the jaw) is the one that will show the most wear and is the one to key in on. Look for the width of the dentine (brown parts of top of tooth) compared to the width of the enamel (white part on top of tooth). As the tooth wears it will have wider dentine sections compared to the enamel. And the cusps of the teeth will wear down and become smooth. A deer that is 3-5 years old will still have some cusps to it on the first molar, whereas on an older deer that molar will be very smooth. Here is a link to an online site that shows pictures of this wear pattern. For Arizona specific information, you will want to purchase a copy of the publication put out by Arizona Game and Fish – its only $3 and well worth it.
Deer leave a variety of sign that can let you know where they have been even if you don’t see them. The most obvious of signs are scat (feces) and tracks. Coues deer scat is in the form of small pellets. The pellets will vary in color from greenish (when really fresh) to brown or black and even gray or white (when really old). The photos below show some of the variation in colors. Coues scat can be clumpy if the deer is eating a really moist diet. Deer scat will also be moist when fresh, but dries fairly quickly. Scat that is somewhat fresh may appear dry on the outside but still be moist on the inside.
All photos by A. Moors.
Deer also leave tracks when they travel through an area. Good places to look for tracks include washes, hillsides, and saddles. Also check any area that has muddy soil like around a stock tank, spring or river. Looking at tracks can tell you the size of the animal and what it was doing there (i.e., running, walking, pawing at the ground). White-tailed deer and mule deer have very similar tracks, but mule deer are larger. Mule deer tracks tend to be about 2.5- 3 inches long while Coues tracks tend to be 2 to 2.5 inches long. Sometimes people confuse javelina and whitetail tracks. Javelina tracks are fairly easy to distinguish due to their smaller size (1 to 1.5 inches long) and blunter tips (see photos below).
Tracks can help determine when an animal uses an area.
The white-tailed deer is highly adaptable. It is found from Mexico and Central America to Canada and throughout the United States. It survives in environments that are subject to extremes in temperature – both heat and cold. It lives in remote areas where few humans ever go and it survives in highly populated areas as well.
So what is good Coues deer habitat? When evaluating habitat, it helps to think of the elements that are needed for any animal – food, water, shelter, and space to live. Good Coues habitat is any area that provides adequate amounts of each of those factors. The best Coues habitat will provide a large diversity of foods by having a mix of open areas and brushy areas. Coues are primarily browsers, so shrubs must be available for them. However, Coues highly prefer forbs and those grow more commonly in open areas such as a grassy meadow or grassland found at the edge of juniper woodland.
Coues deer seem to be most numerous in woodland areas about 4000-6500 feet in elevation that have Madrean evergreen oaks or areas of oak mixed with juniper and pinon pine. However, Coues deer can be found in the more open Sonoran Desert and in Semi-Desert Grasslands. They can also be found in Ponderosa Pine forests. I have selected some photos below to show some of the variety in habitat that Coues deer will use.
The best Coues habitat will have several permanent water sources since these deer need them to survive. The home range of a Coues is about 1-2 square miles. Deer density is highest within 0.5 – 1 mile of a good water source. Maghini and Smith (1990) suggested that a density of 1 water source for every square kilometer (approx. 0.5 sq. miles) is best for female Coues. Based on their research in the Santa Ritas in Arizona, Ockenfels et al. (1991) suggested that a density of one water source every 2-3 sq. km would meet deer requirements. They also found that the first 400 m (roughly equal to a quarter mile) around a water source was used far more often than areas greater than 1200 m away from water.
If you are looking for an area that has a high density of Coues deer, look for a place that has a good mix of thick and open vegetation types between 4000-6500 feet in elevation and that has springs or water tanks scattered throughout the landscape within about a 1/2 to 1 mile of each other.
Juniper-oak woodlands with large populations of Coues deer. These two areas have a good mix of white and Emory oak, mesquite, acacia and pinon pine along with the juniper. The variety of topography in these areas provides places for many different types of plants to grow (trees, browse, grass and forbs). This excellent diversity of plants along with good water sources makes these places great habitat for Coues. Deer will feed through the open areas in early morning and evening and move into the thicker areas to bed.
The breeding season for the Coues deer is about 6-8 weeks later than northern or eastern whitetail. Breeding generally occurs from December to February with the peak usually in January. Some breeding activity can occur in November and some even as late as March. In November, bucks are generally found in small herds and can be seen sparring to establish dominance for the upcoming breeding season. These sparring matches are generally very short-lived and mild. They are much less dramatic than the spectacular battles that can occur during the rut. Bucks spend the breeding season searching for does in estrus (those ready to breed). Females are receptive to breeding for only 2-3 days. Females that are not bred in their first estrus cycle may be bred during their next cycle about 26 days later. Bucks can be very aggressive toward does during the breeding season. I have seen them chase a doe in a frantic effort to keep them from running away. They herd the doe much like a horse herds a calf or a sheepdog herds sheep, not allowing them to escape. If there are other bucks present around the doe, the dominant buck will usually be closest to the doe and force the other bucks to stay in the periphery. Bucks are most vulnerable to hunters during the rutting period because they are much more active throughout the day and rather careless in their single-minded pursuit of females.
Reproduction is highly influenced by the nutritional condition of bucks and does. Bucks that do not receive adequate nutrition can have delayed antler development which can lead to an extended rut period. Similarly, does in poor condition can have delayed cycles which can result in later fawning dates. Smith (1984) found that in a drought year in Arizona the average Coues fawning date was in the third week in August. Whereas in a year following several years of exceptional rainfall, the average fawning date was 2 weeks earlier. This 2 week difference in breeding activity has been documented in other whitetail subspecies for does on a nutritious diet compared to a substandard diet (Verme 1965). Smith (1984) also found that in years of poor food production, young Coues does (< 3 yrs old) may not breed at all and although the older does may still produce fawns, they have fewer of them (singles vs. twins). I have not seen any documentation in the literature that Coues deer can have triplets, but I have seen a Coues doe with three fawns in Arizona, which I presume were all her fawns. The fawns were of identical size and condition and were all following the one doe. It could be that she "adopted" a fawn from another doe that was killed, but that is probably less likely than her having had triplets. Production of triplets has been documented in other subspecies of whitetail.
Antlers are made of the fastest growing bone in the animal kingdom. Antlers are grown and shed annually, which in itself is amazing. In addition, generally, each year a deer’s antlers will grow larger than in the previous year. The annual cycle of antler development is primarily controlled by hormones produced in the pituitary gland and testes. Increasing daylength stimulates the pituitary gland to secrete substances that cause antler growth to start. Antlers receive the nutrients needed for growth through a fur covered skin (called velvet) covering the antlers. During this velvet period, the antlers are very sensitive to damage. If a buck injures his antler during this time, it will generally cause abnormal antler growth in the form of non-typical tines or bumps. These abnormalities may continue to be seen through each subsequent year’s antlers. In addition, it has been shown that in antler producing cervids (deer, elk) that an injury to the body will sometimes cause abnormal antler growth on the opposite side. For example if an elk injures his front right leg, the antler growing on his left side may become deformed. Later, the pituitary gland also secretes gonadotropin which causes the testes to enlarge. As the testes enlarge they produce an abundance of androgen which inhibits the pituitary antler-growth hormone, resulting in the stoppage of antler growth and the drying of the velvet covering on the antler. Antlers are eventually shed as changes in hormones cause the decalcification in the pedicle (the living bony growth on the frontal bone of the skull to which the antlers are attached).
Just as the breeding season for Coues is 6-8 weeks later than that for other subspecies of whitetail, the antler cycle is similarly delayed. For Coues deer, antler growth happens from June-September. During that time, the antlers are covered with “velvet”. After the buck has completed antler growth, the velvet dries up and is rubbed off (antler polish). In Arizona, Coues deer typically polish their antlers from late September to mid-October. Originally the antlers are white but become stained brownish from blood in the velvet and from the juices in the trees and bushes that the buck rubs his antlers against. Antlers are then used during the breeding season to secure mates through displays and fighting with other bucks. After the breeding season, hormonal changes cause the antlers to drop off. In Arizona, that antler drop typically occurs in April and May. Growth of the new antler begins shortly after antler cast.
Does that become pregnant will give birth to fawn(s) about 180-200 days later. Yearlings tend to give birth to single fawns while older does generally give birth to twins. Nutritional condition of the does and bucks influences by the timing of fawn drop and number of young produced (see discussion of this in the breeding section above). Most fawns are born in July and August. Fawns will weigh between 4-6 pounds at birth and nurse for two to three months. Fawns can eat some vegetation even while still dependent on the mother’s milk during the first month. In Arizona, nursing tends to occur between 0800-1000 and 1500-1800 hours. Fawns have spots on their coats for about the first two months of their lives. Fawns will stay with their mother until she drives them off, which usually happens just before she gives birth again the following year.
The information on this page is taken with permission from Craig Boddington’s excellent book “Shots at Big Game: How to shoot a rifle accurately under hunting conditions” published by Safari Press, Inc. Illustrations by Stuart Funk. Click on images to see a larger version.
Shot placement on a broadside deer is simple, but deer don’t often cooperate by standing just right. You’re more likely to get a quartering shot of some kind. On animals quartering away, try to locate the off-side front leg, and follow its line up to the chest area to find your aiming point. You need to visualize where the vitals lie from any angle, and plan your shot accordingly. On strongly quartering-away shots, your bullet may actually enter the deer’s body quite far back. On deer quartering toward you, keep your eyes on the on-shoulder; that one protects the chest area that your bullet must reach.
The problem with wind isn’t really that it has an effect — it’s in reading it and figuring just how much effect it will have. Winds at a 45-degree angle cause half the drift of a 90-degree crosswind, while headwinds and tailwinds have no effect at all. But is the wind at the target the same as where you are? How can you tell? You can read the wind carefully, but it comes down to a best guess.
It doesn’t matter whether the angle is uphill or downhill – the effect is the same. Your trajectory will essentially follow the trajectory curve of a bullet fired at the horizontal distance to your target.
Successful shooting of running game with a rifle isn’t materially different from hitting flying game with a shotgun. It’s essential that you keep the rifle barrel moving, establish your lead, swing with the target, and make certain that you fire with the barrel moving, following through afterward by continuing your swing.
The Coues deer is a small whitetail (a good buck might only weigh 80-90 lbs.), for which small caliber weapons can be appropriate. I use a .270 to hunt for Coues, but you could even go with a smaller caliber weapon like a .22-.250 or .243. Many people use 7mm mags. What you want is a very flat shooting rifle that will allow you to become proficient at long-range shooting (250-400 yards).
As many guides will tell you, they want clients that are able to shot long distances because the bucks they spot may be far across a canyon. And quietly stalking to that far side of the canyon may be impossible due to the rocky soil and thick brush that is found in Coues country. Shot placement is very important to making a clean kill. Click on the “Shot Placement” button on the left to learn more about a well-placed shot.
Spot and Stalk
Most people who hunt Coues use the “Spot and Stalk” method. This method is ideal for our open landscapes in the West. To effectively spot Coues whitetail you will want to have premium optics. For years I hunted with cheap 7×35 binoculars, and although I was successful, I recommend that you buy the best binoculars (glass) you can afford. Several years ago, I upgraded to Zeiss 10×40′s which have made spotting deer much easier. Some people prefer to go with even more powerful binoculars, such as 15×60. That magnification is outstanding for spotting pieces of deer through foliage. But they are heavy to carry and most Coues hunters opt not to carry such large optics. The best binoculars and spotting scopes are made by Zeiss, Leica, and Swarovski. These high-end optics are superior in the light-gathering and contrasting ability. In low light situations, I can see deer in my binoculars when I can’t see them with my naked eye – it’s as if the binoculars turn on some extra lights. If you are looking to buy some new optics, please check one of our sponsors, Camera Land. They carry an excellent variety of binoculars and spotting scopes.
To use the “Spot and Stalk” method, find a high point in some good Coues habitat, sit down and use your binoculars to search the terrain for deer. The key to finding Coues is to GLASS, GLASS, GLASS. Several times I have been out hunting somewhere and seen some hunters drive up, jump out and quickly scan a canyon with binoculars. After about 10 minutes of searching, they are convinced that there are no bucks and they leave. Meanwhile, because I have been there glassing longer, I have found deer in that canyon that they missed. The old rule of thumb of that you should “wear the seat of your pants out before your boots” is very applicable to Coues hunting. I recommend sitting in one place for several hours and searching continuously, even going over and over the same brushy hillside. Coues tend to move slowly and are amazingly good at hiding behind the smallest amount of vegetation. A slight change in position can make a deer visible or invisible, which is why scanning the same areas several times is a really good way to find deer.
A view through a spotting scope. Can you find the two deer in the photo above? Click on image to see larger version. Photo taken by A. Moors. (It is extremely difficult to see the deer, so if you have given up trying, click here to see them)
After you get a good pair of binoculars, the next piece of equipment you will want is a small, portable tripod. Using a tripod to hold your binoculars tremendously boosts your ability to spot deer. The tripod allows the binoculars to remain completely steady which makes detecting movement in your field of vision much easier. I used to glass just by bracing my elbows on my knees and although that is one way to provide some stability to your binoculars, it is not the best. Without a doubt, using a tripod will make you a far better glasser.
There are many manufacturers that make portable tripods. You can look over some tripods in the CouesWhitetail.com store. The tripod I use is one my husband bought for his camera at a yard sale and I haven’t been able to find it for sale anywhere. It was made in Japan and says “Minette” on it, which I assume to be the company. It weighs a little over a pound (20 ounces) and extends to 40 inches tall. Folded up, it is only 11 inches long. Some binoculars (like my Zeiss) do not have a place to screw them into a tripod. I use an attachment that attaches to the binoculars with velcro straps and has a sturdy base that can be screwed onto my tripod. Tripods and attachments can get very high tech and very expensive. What you want is something that is sturdy, but is light enough so that you will be willing to carry it with you everywhere you hunt.
My setup for glassing. The next few pictures show the individual components of the setup. Photo by S. Wesch. The three parts of my glassing setup: the tripod, the binoculars and the attachment for the binoculars. Photo by A. Moors.
Tripod shown in folded up position. The head of the tripod has a standard screw (in center of red platform) to attach optics to the tripod. Many binoculars and spotting scopes have the threading to be screwed directly on to the tripod. If your optics don’t have a place for a screw, you can purchase an attachment like the one shown below. Photos by A. Moors.
This attachment screws onto the tripod and attaches to the binoculars using velcro straps. Photo below shows the binoculars in the attachment. Photos by A. Moors.
When you are glassing, get comfortable. Get a seat pad of some kind and sit so your neck and back won’t get too strained. The more comfortable you are, the longer you can glass and the more deer you will see. I use a seat pad from Crooked Horn Outfitters. It’s great! It’s lightweight, made of saddlecloth so it can handle field conditions and it’s comfortable. It insulates you from the rock or ground that you are sitting on so you stay warmer as well. I also use the master guide daypack from Crooked Horn. I can pack out a boned-out Coues in one of those packs, along with my hunting gear. It’s a great product!
To glass effectively, you can use a couple of methods. One is to look over the habitat and decide where the deer are most likely to be at that time of day and glass those areas the most. That is what I generally do. Look at the lay of the land and think about how a deer would use the landscape. Where is the best food? Think about which plants are green and growing at the time. Where will the deer feel secure? Is there a water source nearby? Glassing closer to the water (say within a 1/2 mile) is more productive than glassing farther from the water. Is it early morning? The deer are more likely to be out in open areas. Is it late morning and getting hot out? Glass the thick brush and other bedding areas. The longer you hunt Coues, the better you will get at predicting where they will be at any given time.
If you don’t have a feel for where the deer would be, or the habitat is fairly monotypic such that they could be anywhere, use a systematic approach to glassing. Say you are glassing the hillside in the photo below.
You want to pick apart that hill systematically with your binoculars. Start at the top left corner and work your way across the slope to the top right. Then adjust your tripod so that you are viewing the next “row” down. Glass back to the left side. Do that same systematic glassing until you have covered the whole slope. If you haven’t seen anything yet you think it’s a good place for a deer to be, then start over. Glass the same areas several times. You don’t always see the deer the first time through. They may be behind a bush or just have been standing perfectly still and so your eye didn’t pick them up. Give the deer a chance to show themselves to you. Look for pieces of a deer. Maybe you will see the line of a deer’s back as it feeds with it’s head down behind a bush (as in the spotting scope photo earlier on this page). Maybe you will just see part of a leg. The more experience you have glassing, the more these small pieces of a deer “jump out” at you as you look at them.
Many people glass too fast. If you search too fast, you won’t find these tiny deer or you will only see the deer when they are fully in the open. You will miss the deer that are partly hidden. It’s almost impossible to glass too slowly. Force yourself to slow down and you will see more deer.
When you glass, let you eyes adjust to each new field of view. Let them focus for several seconds and search around in your field of view. On a brushy hillside like that one above, you will really have to concentrate to pick up a Coues deer. Sometimes in order to force myself to concentrate better and slow down my glassing, I will imagine that I am actually walking around in that field of view. I pretend as if I am actually on that slope searching around and peering through each bush. Doing that forces me to search more effectively. Look behind the bushes, search everywhere for any hint of a deer. When you have thoroughly searched in your field of view, move the binoculars over so that you are covering some new ground, but can still see about half of the old field of view. That method gives you extra coverage of each spot and will increase your odds of seeing deer. If the country is fairly open you don’t have to overlap field’s of view so much.
Once you spot a deer, take note of where you are looking BEFORE you pull you eyes away from the binoculars. Mark the spot in your mind so that you can find the deer again. Most likely you will want to put a spotting scope up on the tripod and get a better look at the deer. To find the deer again you will have to know where the spot is that you are looking at through the binoculars. Many people have trouble with this, but with practice you will get better. Once you have looked over the unique vegetation around the deer in your binocular, take a look at the slope with your naked eye. Can you spot the same vegetation so that you know exactly where the deer is? If not, get back in the binoculars and look some more. Are there three junipers and a yucca lined up? Is there a unique prickly pear near the deer? Maybe the deer is 50 yards downhill of a big white rock. Look for something unique that will help you zero in on the buck with your scope. I have been out with several people who have seen deer, but then they take their binos down before marking the spot and then they can’t find the deer again. This is especially a problem if you are not using a tripod, since you can’t just leave the binoculars set on the deer while you look with your naked eye. Whatever method you use, you don’t want to loose track of a deer you may have spent hours finding.
Most serious Coues deer hunters also carry a high quality spotting scope with them. A spotting scope will increase the weight of your pack that you are carrying all day, but it will save you some energy by allowing you to evaluate bucks without hiking over to them. If you are hunting for a large Coues, carry a scope with you. If you aren’t so picky about which buck you get, then perhaps the extra weight won’t be worth it. I carry the newly released Zeiss Diascope 65T*FL. These new, smaller, lighter scopes are great for packing. Leica has also come out with light weight scope. Having a lighter spotting scope will allow you to use a smaller tripod. I recommend that you go to a sports store that carries high-end scopes and have them set up several scopes for you to look through. That way you can pick that one that you like the best.
My Zeiss Diascope 65T*FL. They sell an angled eyepiece, but I prefer the straight one. This eyepiece is a variable one that goes from 15x to 45x. It will also fit on the larger versions of this scope and then it will give you 45x-60x power.
Planning a stalk takes some good knowledge of the lay of the land. How will you get to that ridge the buck is on? Plan a path that allows you to get over there without the buck seeing or hearing you. That can be difficult in the rocky and open landscapes in Coues country. Use the topography to your advantage. A hillside can block the noise of you approaching if the buck is on the other side. Then you can cover ground much more quickly.
How close should you get? Well, that depends on the range you are comfortable shooting at. I always try and get as close as I can to my target. Some people think nothing of taking a 400 yard shot, but that isn’t what I prefer. I try and get within 200 yards. But really it’s a matter of your comfort level, which is dependent on how well you know your ballistics and your shooting ability.
Still hunting is a very difficult method for most people to master. It requires extreme patience since the hunter must move very, VERY, slowly through the landscape. It also requires a hunter to use all his senses to figure out what is happening around him. In still hunting, a hunter may take 30 minutes to move 50 yards or less, depending on how thick the vegetation is. This method can be successful when deer density is fairly high or in an area you happen to know is holding deer at the time. In Arizona, I have used still hunting to sneak up on deer in juniper or oak flats or along fairly flat drainages. It can be especially useful to the bowhunter who needs to get into close range for a shot. You may end up using still hunting as the way to finish your spot and stalk hunt. If you spot a buck far away and watch it go into an area where you think he will bed, but you aren’t able to find him through binoculars, you can hike over to that area and then slowly still hunt it – walking through the area looking for the deer. You will be looking for just pieces of the deer. You may only see an ear tip, or a tail, or just the line of the leg. Walking quietly in Coues country can be very challenging. You can walk in your socks (take a really thick extra pair to keep rocks and cactus from stabbing you) or use commercially made “stalkers” (they fit over your boots) to soften the sound of your footsteps.
Hunting from a Tree Stand or Ground Blind
As with still hunting, hunting from a stand or blind takes a lot of patience. Being comfortable is a key to making this method work because if you are comfortable (not freezing your butt off!) you won’t move around so much. A tree stand or ground blind is placed in an area where the hunter expects deer to come. In Coues country, this is typically a water hole. But they can also be placed along trails or saddles where you expect deer to move through. You want the stand to be downwind of where you expect the deer to be. In a tree stand, you don’t have to worry so much about total concealment as you do in a ground blind. A tree stand gives you an advantage over the deer because they don’t look for predators to come out of the trees after them. Although that is not to say that deer don’t learn about hunters in tree stands and learn to avoid them. But you have an advantage and assuming you don’t “teach” the deer about your tree stand by having a lot of scent around it or by allowing them to see or hear your movement in the stand.
Personally, I prefer ground blinds. I am just more comfortable there. I also like that you don’t have to haul anything in to put up in a tree. Generally you can make a ground blind out of the scattered limbs and bushes around a waterhole. If you know for sure which way the deer will come in, you can build your blind so that you are covered from view only from that direction. However, you are likely to be more successful if you totally surround yourself with vegetation, in the off chance that the deer comes in from a direction you are not expecting. It is also important to have vegetation behind you so that your profile is broken up behind you as well as in front of you. This makes is doubly hard for a deer to see you. It may help if you make the blind ahead of time and let it “sit” for several days. That way the deer will get used to it and any scent you left while making the blind has a chance to dissipate.
You will want to have full camoflauge on, including head and hands. You also don’t want anything metal shining through your stand when the sun hits it, so you may want to use camoflauge tape on your gun, bow or other metal objects. And you want to be scent free, which means using human scent eliminator sprays or soaps or something like a Scent-lok suit that locks in odors.
I should start off by saying I have never used this method to hunt deer. However, I am dying to try it and will do so this January. I killed a buck this November and will be using his antlers to rattle up some other bucks – or at least I will try to!
With rattling you want to imitate the sound of deer sparring or fighting. This method can be used to draw deer to you for close range hunting. As with calling in any kind of game, you want to be set up in an area where they can’t see you or smell you when they come in. You will probably want some kind of ground blind to conceal your movements. Deer are most likely to come in from downwind so they can “nose around” the situation before they expose themselves. If you set up near an opening, you may be able to force the deer to come in from upwind. They may prefer coming in from upwind rather than exposing themselves in the opening. My guess is that rattling for a minute or two, followed by listening for 5-10 minutes might make a good sequence. Repeat the sequence for an hour and see what happens. You may want to add some doe bleats or buck grunts as well as ground scraping noises for added realism. Their are electronic deer callers that can make all these noises for you. Check out the one made by Extreme Callers.
In the pre-rut (November-December for Coues), bucks are sparring to establish dominance. These fights are mild and short-lived. In contrast, fighting during the peak of the rut in January can be far more intense. So if you are trying rattling, think about the time of year and imitate either the mild sparring sounds of the pre-rut or the hard edged fighting of the rut.
If the buck is already with some does, he is less likely to leave them and come check out the fight. Rattling can also be another way to complete a spot and stalk hunt. If you spot a buck, but he moves into cover where you can’t find him, hike over there and set up. You may be able to lure him out to you by rattling.
Got some old antlers around? Give rattling a try, it might just draw in that buck you have been trying to get.
If someone should conduct a beauty contest among the game animals of the Southwest, I have no doubt the Arizona whitetail would win hands down. A big buck mule deer, with its massive antlers and blocky build is a magnificent sight. Likewise a great desert ram or lordly bull elk. But the Arizona whitetail is an exquisitely lovely thing. ~Jack O’Connor
The Coues white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus couesi) is one of the smallest deer in America. Coues deer stand around 28-32 inches tall at the shoulder and measure about 56 inches (1426 mm) from head to tail. A large field-dressed buck will rarely exceed 80-90 lbs. (although some can exceed 100 pounds) and a doe tends to weigh about 65 lbs. Hoffmeister (1986) reported the average weight of 7 males from the Chiricahua Mtns. in Arizona as 83.5 lbs (37.65 kg); of 19 females as 67.3 lbs. (30.53 kg). Raught (1967) reported that bucks in New Mexico averaged 85-90 lbs (39-41 kg) and females averaged 65 lbs. (29 kg). In contrast, a good-sized field-dressed Eastern Whitetail buck will weigh approximately 200 lbs. (90.91 kg).
You can see in the photos below the size of a Coues deer buck relative to the size of a man. Both these are large, mature bucks. The one on the left was exceptionally large bodied. It probably weighed 115-120 lbs. whole. At the meat locker it weighed 79 lbs. and it had no head, legs, internal organs or skin on it. Photos by A. Moors and M. Hanson.
The Coues deer varies in color from a grayish coat in winter to a more reddish-brown color in the summer. Fawns are born with numerous white spots on their coat. Those spots generally disappear after about 2 months. Coues deer have the classic white circles around its muzzle and eyes seen on other subspecies of whitetail. However, Coues tend not to have such a pronounced white throat patch as do whitetail in the East and to the North. The tail of the Coues deer is generally brown with a border of white on the topside and completely white on the underside. This is in contrast to a mule deer which has white on the topside of the tail. Tail color can vary geographically. The topside of a Coues tail can be grayish, reddish brown, or black (see photos below).
The illustrations above show the tail pattern variation in Coues deer and mule deer in Arizona. Graphics provided with permission from Dr. Donald Hoffmeister and were taken from his book “Mammals of Arizona” published by University of Arizona Press. Click on pictures to see larger version. Note the narrow, rope-like white tail of the mule deer in comparison to the wide, colored tail of the Coues.
The photo to the left shows three Coues spike bucks with three different tail colors. Photo taken near Globe, Arizona on December 2, 2002 by Amanda Moors. Click on image to see larger version.
The nice 3 point buck in the photo to the right has a two-toned colored tail. It is reddish-brown on the upper half of the tail and black on the lower half. Photo taken Dec. 22, 2002 by A. Moors in the Roosevelt Lake area in Arizona. Click on image to see larger version.
How do you tell a Coues Deer from a Mule Deer?
In most of the Coues whitetail range, the other common species of deer is the mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus). Although there are some similarities in looks between these two species, it is generally easy to distinguish between them.
The tail is the easiest way to distinguish these two deer species (see graphic below). Coues deer also have a much wider tail that is white underneath, but not ontop. The tail of the mule deer is much skinnier, very rope-like, and is white with a black tip. When Coues deer are excited, as when fleeing a person or predator, they will raise their tail. This prominently displays the white under the tail and is commonly referred to as “flagging”. The mule deer will not raise its tail in that manner.
In addition to the tail flagging, you can also tell these deer apart by other differences in their behavior. White-tailed deer generally live in small groups of 2-5, not larger herds like mule deer. White-tailed deer and mule deer have different predator avoidance strategies. When mule deer are fleeing a predator they will use a unique gait called stotting. Stotting is the gait where they bounce stiff-legged on all four legs at the same time. Whitetails will not do this. They will leap or trot away from danger.
Coues deer have a much smaller metatarsal gland found on the outside of the hind leg (not the tarsal gland on the inside of the leg –see graphic below). The gland is covered by white hairs in the Coues, but by buffy or brown hairs in the mule deer.
This figure is provided courtesy of Dr. Donald Hoffmeister and is taken with permission from his excellent book “Mammals of Arizona” published by the University of Arizona Press in 1986. It shows the differences in metatarsal gland (see arrows) and tail of the white-tailed deer compared to the mule deer.
Coues deer have the classic white “halos” around their eyes and muzzle. Mule deer will have quite a bit more white on their faces, not just encircling the eyes and nose. Mule deer also have more black coloration on their foreheads. These facial differences are very useful to help identify deer that are facing you and you can’t see their tails.
This photo shows the white halos on a Coues Whitetail’s face. Sorry the photo isn’t really in great focus, but you can see the white rings fairly well. Photo by A. Moors.
Coues whitetail, like other whitetail, have antlers that have the tines coming directly off the main bean. In contrast, a mule deer has branching of the antlers such that some tines come off other tines in a regular forked pattern. A young Coues that has just two points (a forkhorn) on its antlers will look very much like it has the branching pattern of a mule deer. Keep that in mind when using this feature to identify deer.
Mule Deer Skull Coues Deer Skull
The photos above show the differences in antler branching patterns of Mule Deer and Coues Deer. Note the branching of the mule deer antlers versus the tines coming off the main beam on the Coues. The mule deer photo is courtesy of Dr. Donald Hoffmeister, from his book “Mammals of Arizona”. The Coues deer photo was taken by Amanda Moors.
Coues white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus couesi) is one of about 35 subspecies of white-tailed deer. The Coues deer is a member of the order of animals called Artiodactyla, which is a group of hoofed mammals that use their third and fourth toe as their main support when walking. This group is also referred to as even-toed ungulates. Elk, javelina, antelope, bison, and bighorn sheep are also members of this order. Deer belong to the family Cervidae, whose members are characterized by, among other things, having antlers that are shed annually and a four chambered stomach. White-tailed deer are members of the genus Odocoileus and the species name virginianus. The subspecies of Coues whitetail is denoted by having couesi added to the genus and species names.
In terms of evolution, the white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) is the oldest deer species, whereas the mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) is the youngest deer species. The white-tailed deer shows up in the fossil record for North America over 3 million years ago. The mule deer seems to be a species that only developed after the massive mega-faunal extinctions about 12,500 to 7,000 years ago. For more information about the evolution of deer, I highly recommend a book by Dr. Valerius Geist called “Deer of the World: Their Evolution, Behavior, and Ecology”.
Roy Lopez with Northern Arizona University is currently studying the genetics of Coues whitetail in Arizona. I hope to post his preliminary results as soon as they are available. DNA analysis can tells us, among other things, if deer in the Chiricahuas ever travel to the Galiuros or other mountain ranges. Or if those deer are reproductively isolated over the long term from the rest of the “sky islands” in the southeastern part of AZ. If you have antlers or tissue from deer harvested in Arizona game management units 21, 22, 23, 24a, 24b, 27/28 and/or 30b, please email Roy Lopez and find out how to get the sample to him. The more samples he gets, the more reliable the data. If you are a shed hunter and remember where you picked up those sheds, give Roy a shout and see if you can help him out. He can get a sample from the bone under the base of the antler.
After 3 years off hiking beautiful terrain and sweating buckets full of sweat, I finally put a 130g ballistic silver tip .270 on this beautiful creature. I couldn’t be more proud, even though he is on the smaller side ice is a trophy in my books. and he those make the fireplace at home look much better. I would like to thank R&R taxidermy in Mesa for doing a great job with the mount.
WMAT CouesWhiteTailDeer , Gross 130″ , Nets 120″
Isn’t it time you got a new CouesWhitetail.com tshirt? Here is a nice black and white design on a black shortsleeve tshirt. You can order one in the store: http://store.coueswhitetail.com/black-and-white-coues-deer-art-tshirt/
This shirt features two great bucks….one was a 108 7/8″ Coues taken by member Phil Cramer during his Mexico hunt in Jan 2011 (you can read his hunt story here). And the other was a pick-up found by Alan Ellsworth in AZ which grossed 122 with a 116 net. This wonderful artwork and screen printing was done by artist Scott Allison of Artizen Organics. Thank you to member Hector Albarran for all his time and effort working with the artist to create this unique Coues Deer design. Great job!! I hope you guys like this design as much as I do! Thank you to Alan Ellsworth and Phil Cramer for letting me use your bucks for a tshirt.
The main design is on the front of the tshirt and there is CouesWhitetail.com text across the back of the shirt.
This tshirt is made of 100% preshrunk Gildan Ultra Cotton. Nothing feels as good as the soft cotton used in the 6.1-ounce Gildan short sleeve Ultra Cotton T-Shirt. This solid performer will look as good at the end of the season as beginning. Made of preshrunk cotton, it features double-needle stitching throughout and a seamless collar.
2013 CouesWhitetail.com Wildlife Conservation Challenge
I thought we would try something new this year since it’s the 10 year anniversary of CouesWhitetail.com. I wanted to do a special contest and I want help motivate people to do more for wildlife. So the idea of this new contest is that if you do one of the activities listed below and post about it in the correct subforum (see rules below) then you get an automatic free entry in the contest. And, as a bonus, if you wear a CouesWhitetail.com tshirt or hat at the event and have pics to prove it, then you get an additional 3 entries. For each event you attend and post about, you can get more entries. The more entries you have, the more likely you are to win a great prize. I will run the contest for the 12 month period (Jan to Dec 2013) which should give everyone time to find several events to attend. If you did any of the following types of events this year, prior to me announcing this, then it can still count if you post about it.
I will keep a spreadsheet with the entries to date and post them here so you can make sure I counted you after you post about a project you attended. http://www.coueswhitetail.com/2013/03/wildlife-conservation-challenge-entries-to-date/
At the end of the year, I will randomly select winners from a list of all entries. Multiple entries are possible using the framework below.
We have some GREAT prizes lined up so far! Please thank our sponsors for their support of this contest and wildlife conservation in AZ!
Top prize is a scoped Ruger American .270…..a very nice gun! (you can read a review about the gun)
You can go look at the gun at Healy Arms in Mesa during their business hours!
We have a lot of other outstanding prizes lined up and you can see the list below.
So…….HOW MUCH CAN YOU DO FOR WILDLIFE THIS YEAR?
- Ruger American .270 with Nikon Monarch 2.5-10×42 scope and Weaver quad-lock rings – donated by Healy Arms and CouesWhitetail.com – you may view this gun at Healy Arms in Mesa
- Outdoorsmans medium tripod with pistol grip head – donated by Outdoorsmans
- Outdoorsmans Backpack – donated by Colburn and Scott Real Estate
- IBEX EVO II 65+10 hunting backpack by Markor Hunting – donated by Vision Outfitters
- Blacks Creek Canadian backpack – donated by Santana Outdoors
- $100 Sportsmans Warehouse gift card – donated by Sportsmans Warehouse
- 6 weeks of 1 on 1 archery instruction for a beginner or 6 free hours in DART target system for more advanced bowhunter – donated by Archery Headquarters
- Jetboil Stove donated by Gila Outdoor
- Gift certificate for $75 dollars off game processing at Miller’s Southwestern Processing
- Gift certificate for $75 dollars off game processing at Miller’s Southwestern Processing
Ways to enter this giveaway:
Attend a wildlife conservation group work project anywhere in the US (includes groups like Arizona Game and Fish Department, New Mexico Game and Fish, California Game and Fish, Arizona Elk Society, Arizona Deer Association, AZ Desert Bighorn Sheep Society, AZ Antelope Foundation, etc) and post about the event here with pictures in the forum in the Wildlife Projects subforum. You get 3 additional entries if you post a picture of you at the project wearing a CouesWhitetail.com tshirt, hat or showing a CW sticker on your vehicle at the project.
Being a member of any Wildlife Conservation group during 2013 and post about it in the forum in the Conservation Group Events subforum. You get 3 additional entries if you are serving on the Board of Directors and you get 2 additional entries if you work at the banquet of one of these groups. You get 3 additional entries if you are a Life Member of the group. You must post proof of your membership, proof of you being on the board, and/or proof of you working the banquet. And again, if you are wearing a CouesWhitetail.com tshirt/hat at the event, then you get 3 additional entries.
Work at a youth camp or adult camp designed to teach hunting skills (ie, like the women’s javelina hunting camp) in the US during 2013 and post photos and text about the event in the CouesWhitetail.com forum in the Conservation Group Events subforum. You get 3 additional entries if your photos show a picture of you at the event wearing a CouesWhitetail.com tshirt, hat or showing a CW sticker on your vehicle at the project.
Attend and speak at an AGFD commission meeting or other game and fish commission in the US and post about it in the Political subforum. You get 3 additional entries if your photos or video show a picture of you at the event wearing a CouesWhitetail.com tshirt or hat. Post photos or a link to video from the AGFD website that shows you were there.
Attend a Wildlife Conservation group banquet and post text and photos taken at the event in the CouesWhitetail.com forum in the Conservation Group Events subforum - You get 3 additional entries if your photos or video show a picture of you at the event wearing a CouesWhitetail.com tshirt or hat. You get 2 additional entries if you work at the banquet of one of these.
Donate to a Wildlife Conservation group and post about that donation in the CouesWhitetail.com forum in the Conservation Group Events subforum. You will get one entry into the contest for each $100 of retail value of the item (or cash) donated. So for example, if you donate a gun to a fundraising banquet and it’s worth $600, then you get 6 entries. If you donate $200 in cash, then you are eligible for two entries. If you donate four items valued at $25 each, then you get one entry in the contest since that would total $100.
Remember for all these actions, you have to follow up by posting about them in the forum. The whole idea is to raise awareness and motivate others to do something good for wildlife. So please remember to post about whatever project/banquet, etc that you worked on and it’s also helpful if you email me a link to your post to help me keep track of the entries.
|Wildlife Conservation Challenge – 2013|
|1||Coues “n” Sheep||jan commission meeting, spoke, wore CW tshirt, saw it on video|
|2||Coues “n” Sheep||jan commission meeting, spoke, wore CW tshirt, saw it on video|
|3||Coues “n” Sheep||jan commission meeting, spoke, wore CW tshirt, saw it on video|
|4||Coues “n” Sheep||jan commission meeting, spoke, wore CW tshirt, saw it on video|
|5||Bowsniper||jan commission meeting, spoke|
|6||Bowhunter4life||jan commission meeting, spoke|
|7||ExtremeCoues||jan commission meeting, spoke|
|8||Bowsniper||attended NWTF banquet in Tucson|
|9||Bowsniperjr||attended NWTF banquet in Tucson|
|10||Bowsniperjr2||attended NWTF banquet in Tucson|
|11||Younggunz||attended and worked NWTF banquet in Tucson|
|12||Younggunz||attended and worked NWTF banquet in Tucson|
|13||Younggunz||attended and worked NWTF banquet in Tucson|
|14||cmc||attended and worked NWTF banquet in Tucson|
|15||cmc||attended and worked NWTF banquet in Tucson|
|16||cmc||attended and worked NWTF banquet in Tucson|
|17||Younggunz||worked at womens javelina camp, with coueswhitetail.com sticker on his truck|
|18||Younggunz||worked at womens javelina camp, with coueswhitetail.com sticker on his truck|
|19||Younggunz||worked at womens javelina camp, with coueswhitetail.com sticker on his truck|
|20||Younggunz||worked at womens javelina camp, with coueswhitetail.com sticker on his truck|
|21||gr8whitejr||worked at womens javelina camp, with coueswhitetail.com sticker on his truck and CW tshirt|
|22||gr8whitejr||worked at womens javelina camp, with coueswhitetail.com sticker on his truck and CW tshirt|
|23||gr8whitejr||worked at womens javelina camp, with coueswhitetail.com sticker on his truck and CW tshirt|
|24||gr8whitejr||worked at womens javelina camp, with coueswhitetail.com sticker on his truck and CW tshirt|
|25||girlygirlhunter||worked at womens javelina camp, with coueswhitetail.com sticker on truck and cw tshirt|
|26||girlygirlhunter||worked at womens javelina camp, with coueswhitetail.com sticker on truck and cw tshirt|
|27||girlygirlhunter||worked at womens javelina camp, with coueswhitetail.com sticker on truck and cw tshirt|
|28||girlygirlhunter||worked at womens javelina camp, with coueswhitetail.com sticker on truck and cw tshirt|
|29||tjhunt2||worked at womens javelina camp, with CW sticker and tshirt|
|30||tjhunt2||worked at womens javelina camp, with CW sticker and tshirt|
|31||tjhunt2||worked at womens javelina camp, with CW sticker and tshirt|
|32||tjhunt2||worked at womens javelina camp, with CW sticker and tshirt|
|33||Pjhunt2||worked at womens javelina camp, with CW sticker and tshirt|
|34||Pjhunt2||worked at womens javelina camp, with CW sticker and tshirt|
|35||Pjhunt2||worked at womens javelina camp, with CW sticker and tshirt|
|36||Pjhunt2||worked at womens javelina camp, with CW sticker and tshirt|
|37||lucky2hunt||worked at womens javelina camp, with CW sticker and tshirt|
|38||lucky2hunt||worked at womens javelina camp, with CW sticker and tshirt|
|39||lucky2hunt||worked at womens javelina camp, with CW sticker and tshirt|
|40||lucky2hunt||worked at womens javelina camp, with CW sticker and tshirt|
|41||roger||worked at womens javelina camp, with CW sticker and tshirt|
|42||roger||worked at womens javelina camp, with CW sticker and tshirt|
|43||roger||worked at womens javelina camp, with CW sticker and tshirt|
|44||roger||worked at womens javelina camp, with CW sticker and tshirt|
|45||hntiwlgo||worked at womens javelina camp|
|46||bonecollector||attended AES banquet, wore CW tshirt|
|47||bonecollector||attended AES banquet, wore CW tshirt|
|48||bonecollector||attended AES banquet, wore CW tshirt|
|49||bonecollector||attended AES banquet, wore CW tshirt|
|50||tjhunt2||attended AES banquet, wore CW tshirt|
|51||tjhunt2||attended AES banquet, wore CW tshirt|
|52||tjhunt2||attended AES banquet, wore CW tshirt|
|53||tjhunt2||attended AES banquet, wore CW tshirt|
|54||Pjhunt2||attended AES banquet, wore CW tshirt|
|55||Pjhunt2||attended AES banquet, wore CW tshirt|
|56||Pjhunt2||attended AES banquet, wore CW tshirt|
|57||Pjhunt2||attended AES banquet, wore CW tshirt|
|58||tjhunt2||worked tearing down AES banquet|
|59||tjhunt2||worked tearing down AES banquet|
|60||Pjhunt2||worked tearing down AES banquet|
|61||Pjhunt2||worked tearing down AES banquet|
|62||coosefan||attended and worked AES banquet|
|63||coosefan||attended and worked AES banquet|
|64||coosefan||attended and worked AES banquet|
|65||dan h||attended AES banquet, wore CW tshirt|
|66||dan h||attended AES banquet, wore CW tshirt|
|67||dan h||attended AES banquet, wore CW tshirt|
|68||dan h||attended AES banquet, wore CW tshirt|
|69||angela h||attended AES banquet|
|70||gotcoues||attended AES banquet|
|71||gotcoues’ wife||attended AES banquet|
|72||azcouesandelk||attended AES banquet|
|73||125coues||attended and worked AES banquet|
|74||125coues||attended and worked AES banquet|
|75||125coues||attended and worked AES banquet|
|76||mrs125coues||attended and worked AES banquet|
|77||mrs125coues||attended and worked AES banquet|
|78||mrs125coues||attended and worked AES banquet|
|79||tjhunt2||became member of AES|
|80||Pjhunt2||became member AES|
Bull Elk contest winners 2012-13
Many thanks to all who entered and to those that donated prizes!!
You can read each hunt story that was posted in the forum by clicking the link under the winner’s name.
Winners, please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your name and mailing address so I can get your prizes to you! Also, if you won a tshirt, you can select the size, style, color on the CW tshirt page in the store.
|First place – Archery
Ryan Owens (aka Hunt6523)http://www.coueswhitetail.com/forums/topic/36205-2012-archery-bull-az/
|433||$500 off taxidermy work at Artist Touch|
|Second place – Archery
Aaron Hartzell (aka Packer)http://www.coueswhitetail.com/forums/topic/35370-beyond-my-wildest-dreams/
|424 1/8||Covert Trail Camera MP6, antler night light, CW tshirt|
|3rd place – Archery
David Krouse (aka 105coues)http://www.coueswhitetail.com/forums/topic/35681-my-unit-10-archery-hunt-added-pics/
|372 5/8||$100 gift certificate to Gila Outdoor|
|4th place – Archery
Chris McCotter (aka cmc)http://www.coueswhitetail.com/forums/topic/35484-dreams-come-true/
|364||mattress pad from A1 mattress|
|5th place – Archery
Brent Oakeson (aka slayer)http://www.coueswhitetail.com/forums/topic/35356-brents-unit-27-bull/
|338 6/8||CouesWhitetail.com Tshirt|
|6th place – Archery
Andrew Dykes (aka Andygrand)http://www.coueswhitetail.com/forums/topic/35376-utah-archery-success/
|7th place – Archery
Brian Fish (aka standman)http://www.coueswhitetail.com/forums/topic/35315-my-2012-bull/
|8th place – Archery
Robert Poor (aka elpepe25)http://www.coueswhitetail.com/forums/topic/35378-my-az-elk-story-and-more-pics-added/
|322 7/8||CouesWhitetail.com Tshirt|
|1st place – Rifle
Dallon Lines (son of Lance Lines)http://www.coueswhitetail.com/forums/topic/35699-dallons-first-bull/
|361 1/8||Covert Trail Camera CA4.0|
|2nd place – Rifle
Robert Matthews (aka Basser15)http://www.coueswhitetail.com/forums/topic/35952-successful-elk-hunts/
|337||$50 in SW gift cards + Havalon Knife|
|3rd place – Rifle
Chris Beck (aka Sundevil)http://www.coueswhitetail.com/forums/topic/37559-1st-elk-wilbur-jr/
|315 5/8||$50 in SW gift cards|
Spirit of the Hunt and Best Field Photo categories
|Best Spirit of the hunt photo – first place
Andrew Dykes (aka Andygrand)http://www.coueswhitetail.com/forums/topic/35376-utah-archery-success/
|$25 gift card for any item in CouesWhitetail.com store|
|Best Spirit of the hunt photo – second place
Robert Poor (aka elpepe25)http://www.coueswhitetail.com/forums/topic/35378-my-az-elk-story-and-more-pics-added/
|Best Spirit of the hunt photo – 3rd place
|Best field photo – first placeRobert Poor (aka elpepe25)http://www.coueswhitetail.com/forums/topic/35378-my-az-elk-story-and-more-pics-added/
||$25 Cabelas card|
|Best field photo – second placeChris Beck (aka Sundevil)http://www.coueswhitetail.com/forums/topic/37559-1st-elk-wilbur-jr/
|Best field photo – third placeChris Mccotter (aka cmc)http://www.coueswhitetail.com/forums/topic/35484-dreams-come-true/
||5 foot loop rope|
Just wanted to post a quick video of the buck I killed this year with Colburn and Scott Outfitters in MX this year. My father and I had a great hunt with Jay and Darr. Those guys are serious about hunting Coues and their preparation was impressive. This was definitely not the last time Pops and I will be booking with those guys. At any rate, on the last day I glassed this buck up and called Jay over to take a look at it with me. I knew he wasn’t a monster, but after some gentle prodding from Jay I decided to take him. He was the 2nd double beamed buck I had seen in as many days and that combined with his character was more than I could take. Jay stayed to keep and eye on him, and I looped around to get within range as we were at 1100 yards. I admittedly was a little nervous about the shot as Jay had kept saying how he was “looking forward to seeing The Coues Sniper in action” . But I was able to find a perfect setup at 465 yards – prone, no wind, in a saddle between two bluffs, and a flat rock in front of me to pre-load the bipod. The buck was bedded with his head over his vitals so I took my time and was able imput my actual atmoshperics and even dry fire a few times. Jay and I were talking on the radio when the buck got up, that’s when the video starts. I waited for him to stop and let the crosshairs settle right on his shoulder and timed my squeeze with the exhale on my breathing cycle. I was shooting my 300 ultra pushing 208 grain A-Max’s at 3180 fps. The result was pretty devastating. Impact was exactly where I aimed and it was like you hit him with a sledgehammer. When we got to the buck, his legs were folded underneath him just like he was bedded or you posed him for photographs. Exit hole was about the size of a silver dollar. I was very happy both with the deer, and the performance of the A-max’s. Thanks again to Jay, Darr, and Janis. One of my favorite hunts, and bucks, for sure!
Here’s the story…
So, back in 2008 we get the sheds from this buck and we know exactly where the sheds were found. A year later another set was found in the same area and the buck was bigger. I tried to buy the sheds but the owners felt they were worth thousands of dollars so I didn’t get them. Over the years of hunting for this buck and this same area we find the Shed Buck along with several other great bucks and gain tons of knowledge about how to effectively hunt this area. So, with confidence that I can find at least one of the big bucks during the early season and with a client willing to do a backpack hunt, I have him apply for the tag, he draws it and the hunt is set!
I went in early and packed in most of the water and when the client arrived we made the trek in with all our camping gear. I had several bucks that lived in the same small canyon figured out. The buck that the sheds came from, the “Shed Buck”, I felt was the least likely to be there because he hadn’t been seen in a while but I still felt confident at least one of the bucks would be there. The problem with this canyon is you have to sneak across an open hillside to get into position to effectively glass into the thick bedding side. You have to have the wind right in order to do this correctly and for the first 2 days of the hunt the wind was wrong so we waited and glassed different areas. We saw good bucks elsewhere but nothing over our lofty goal of 110″. Finally on the 3rd day the wind slowed down and was finally blowing the right direction so off we went. We snuck down to our pre-determined glassing spot, I set up my tripod and binos and before Steve even had his backpack off I glassed up the “Shed Buck”! Here he is…
I immediately knew it was the Shed Buck and told Steve to get set up for the shot because we need to kill this deer! Steve set up but was hesitant with shooting this buck just yet. We knew there was a higher scoring buck in the area and we hadn’t even glassed the hillside yet! I agreed that we needed to look around in case this was a bachelor group but couldn’t find any other deer. The Shed Buck laid there in his bed for over an hour as we watched him! We had the wind right, he was well within Steve’s effective killing distance and we wanted a standing broadside shot. During that time frame we searched hard for the other bucks but it appeared he was all by himself. Steve still seemed hesitant to shoot this buck just yet but after I told him I’d give him the sheds and reassured him the character of this buck was off the charts, he agreed we needed to kill him now! Finally the buck stood up to stretch and without any delay Steve put the buck right back into his bed with a perfect shot!
We hiked across the canyon and walked up to an amazing, once in a lifetime buck! The palmation and character of this buck is second to none! I have held the sheds for several years and as soon as I grabbed the rack and held this buck it felt exactly like the sheds, the curves, texture and angles were all the same but now one of his sticker points had turned into an awesome “J-hook” dropper!
We packed him back to camp and savored the rest of the day! We no longer had to ration our water or food so we ate and drank like kings that night!
Here’s the mount that my buddy just finished last week along with the sheds!
Please help me welcome AZ Ground Pounders Outfitters as our newest sponsor on CouesWhitetail.com!
AZ Ground Pounders Outfitters consists of brothers Cash, Steel and Levi Armstrong along with Cousin Waylon Pettet and they established their guiding business 4 years ago. In that short time, they have impressed a lot of people with their skill and work ethic! I must admit I was a little concerned about these guys because they are so young. I was wondering if they could really be any good at such a young age, but after talking with several past clients, my concerns were put to rest and I definitely recommend these guys. They are SERIOUS about lion hunting as well as being passionate about Coues and elk hunting!
AZ Ground Pounders Outfitters is a full service guide and outfitter. They can accommodate large groups as well as remote backpack type hunts. They offer guided hunts for all species, but perhaps shine the most with regard to mountain lion and Coues hunts.
They can provide accommodations during the hunt in either travel trailers or wall tents if in a more remote location. Meals they provide include Steak, chicken, and fish, along with sides like bacon wrapped jalapenos and fried potatoes. Breakfasts include eggs, bacon, sausage and hash browns as well as pancakes waffles and breakfast burritos.
I called several of their past clients and the comments that I heard were glowing and included things like “outstanding!”, “I couldn’t believe how dedicated they were!”, “Definitely going back with them! I rate them 100%!”, “they were great!”, “they know the country and they delivered on what they said”, “great lion guides!”, “already booked two more hunts with them!”, “best trackers I have ever seen!”
I also spoke with Waylon Pettet about their business and when I asked him what makes AZ Gound Pounders different from other outfitters, here is what he said, “AZ Ground Pounders Outfitters are different than other guides due to the immense knowledge of the units that we guide. Cash and Steel spend over 200 days a year trailing and hunting and hunting. The AZ Ground Pounders will work as hard as any outfitter to make sure that the client goes home with the best possible trophy.”
“The AZ Ground Pounders Outfitters have consistently guided or hunted some of the biggest Coues Deer in the Arizona every year. The Az Ground Pounders specialize in Dry Ground Lion Hunts from October until April and average just over 15 successful guided lion hunts per year.”
Waylon continued, “We have guided or killed many record book animals including Coues Deer that scored 133”,131”, 125” 120”, 117”, 114” and many other buck over 100 inches. We have also guided a 387” typical bull elk in 2011. Many of our lions have scored in either Pope and Young or Boone and Crockett Trophy Class. The AZ Ground Pounders Outfitters work to guide our clients to kill trophy animals.”
“We have a 100 percent success rate on all rifle Coues hunts. Lions Clients are currently 48 out of the last 52 hunts. Elk Hunts are 100 percent opportunity rate on both early and late hunts.”
Enough of the hype, let’s see the proof! Check out a selection of their trophies below…..
And then check out their blog and learn more about what they can offer you!
Forum member Non-typical solutions shared this photo along with several pics of sheds from this buck. Check out his post in the forum to see more:
Let’s all welcome our newest sponsor, Vision Outfitters out of Sierra Vista. Vision Outfitters is owned by Darin Gold and it’s an online retail store that sells all kinds of hunting gear. Darin has been in business since 2001. Some of you have already gotten some great deals from him!
Darin says his store mostly sells archery and hunting supplies. He is also an authorized dealer for Swarovski scopes, Havalon Knives and Sitka Gear.
“Any hunting enthusiast will find what they are looking for and more with us.” says Darin. We cater to the “recreational recurve archery user, professional hunters and huntress and many more.”
He lists his top 5 most popular products as:
Smick Sage recurve bows
Mossy Oak accessories
Swarovski Binoculars and scopes
So when you get a chance, check out their website and see if you can find some gear that you need. When you do, use code “Coues” to receive 10% off storewide for orders over $100, including Swarovski optic and Sitka Gear Offer expires Dec 31, 2013.
Darin has a huge variety of gear, check out their website! Please remember to support those that support your passion!
3745 Loma Ventosa
Sierra Vista, AZ 85650
If you are looking for something specific, give Darin a call and see if he has it in stock or can get it for you.
Forum member Evan shared this pic of his 5 year old daughter. He says she can’t wait until she is 10 to go on her first coues hunt. And he says she can already identify all big game species in Arizona!
How sweet is this pic??
100% of the money goes into elk related projects through the AGFD Habitat Partnership Committee
After 27 days of glassing I finally came across this monster 4×4. After a long stalk got 55 yds from him drew back and smoked him he ran 30 yds and fell over. Shot him with my new High Country bow. He scored right at 117.
My family and I, are looking for a new addition to our family, We just lost our 13 year old boxer to cancer. We are wanting a Springer Spaniel, Lab, Or German Short Hair. I thought I would post this in case if someone has one or knows someone. We are looking for a pup or a 1-2 year old. If you have any info you can call me at 928-237-1976 I’m willing to go any where in the state to pick one up.
Bucks harvested 150 miles south of Arizona boarder. 3 generations hunting!, This experience makes this hunt very special for me.
I am sure all of you are going to admire this beauty, my dad harvest this once a life time trophy 5 years ago, 21 points over 1″ and scored 150 and 4/8, +- 200 meters distance, bedded!
The best of this experience was that my oldest sun (First grandson of my dad) was hunting with Grandpa who was 70 years old at that date. Awesome experience,that same hunt I harvest a very nice 108″ buck 19″6/8 of inside spread!!
I hope you guys enjoy this pictures..
Hi, I am new kid o the block..Look forward to share some nice pictures and comments with all of you…I am sure you guys will enjoy them…Regards,
Unit 33 with my PSE rally 1/12/13
I know this is a tad late, but I wanted to post Scott’s picture with his mule deer. He shot it on the last day of our hunt in 36A. Finally meat in the freezer..
2012 Coues Buck 36B
Shot 300 yards from camp. Opening day