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Found 5 results

  1. If you just want the quick story, skip down to Day 6. Let me start by thanking everyone on this forum for all the great posts and information that helped me prepare for this hunt. Also, I have to give huge thanks to my hunting buddies, Randy and Bob. They taught me a lot during this hunt. This was my first big game hunt and I don’t think I could have been any greener when it comes to this type of hunting, especially Coues. We put in for Unit 34A since it was closer to home and were planning on day hunting. While it was nice to sleep in my own bed each night, I think next time we will camp out. With that being said, on to the story. Day 1: Friday. We planned to hunt near a small pond in hopes that we would catch some bucks coming in for drink. We were out to our area that we had previously scouted by 5:30am. We picked our spots and split up with big hopes. I set up with a great panoramic view and plenty of area to glass. We sat all morning and we didn’t see anything at all. We met up for lunch and planned our afternoon. I picked a new spot a little closer to the water but again, nothing to be found by me. The other guys were able to spot some does but no bucks. Come nighttime, we pack out and plan our return in the morning. Day 2: Saturday. Pretty much a repeat of the Friday. Again, I spent the whole day glassing and searching and couldn’t even find a doe. I did spot a nice pack of javalinas in the morning, but that was about it. The other guys spotted some does, but again no bucks. This was a bit discouraging but I knew this wasn’t going to be easy. Day 3: Sunday. We planned to skip the morning hunt since we hadn’t seen any activity in the early am and the holiday weekend had a lot of people tooling around and making all kinds of noise. We decided to just head out for an late morning/afternoon hunt. We get out and setup by noon and spend the rest of the day glassing, glassing, glassing. Randy was finally able to spot a young spike and little 2x2 with his binoculars but never got chance to ever get his scope on them before they turned tail and ran. Again, I spend a day without seeing even a doe. Now it’s getting frustrating. Day 4: Monday. Bob’s sister-in-law suffers a heart attack the night before and he has to run to Prescott. Randy had appointments already planned and wasn’t able to go out. I sit at home stewing about not seeing anything in 2 ½ days and the fact that I was stuck at home and not hunting. I thought about going it alone but I decided to play it safe and stay home. I stayed busy by watching hunting shows and reading this forum. Day 5: Tuesday. Bob was still out of town so Randy and I head out for a late morning hunt. I setup with a good view of the ridge line and the pond and hope and pray I get a chance to see something, anything, it didn’t matter what I saw, I just needed to see some wildlife. I was starting to think I had some curse on me and I was never going to see a deer. Finally, I was able to spot a doe and her 2 fawns around 1:30pm. They were bedded down and I think the winds swirled around because they got up quick and headed out in a hurry with their tails up. Later in the afternoon, they came back for a quick drink but moved on and no bucks were to be found. Day 6: Wednesday. Family obligations made it so we could go out before sunrise so we head out around 8:00am. We get to our spot and plan twere we are going to set up. Randy splits off to the north in hopes that even if he spooked something it would head our way. Bob and I continue on towards our spots. Sure enough, Randy spooks some deer, it was just the doe and her 2 fawns but at least that was some early activity. Things were looking up. As Bob and I are about to split up, Bob spots 2 deer drinking at the pond, 150 yards out. We both quickly grab our binoculars and try to identify them. They are standing side by side and in the shadows, it was difficult to identify at best. Finally, the one in back lifts his head and sure enough, it’s a buck! The front one lifts his head and sure enough he’s a buck but smaller. Now, adrenaline is running at full speed and I’m having a hard time keeping my binos steady. Bob keeps an eye on them as I quietly lower some gear and get set for a shot. I setup my shooting sticks and chamber a Remington Core-Lokt 150gr round in my .308. I get my scope on them and line up a shot. Since they were standing side by side, I really wanted the front buck to get out of the way and give me a shot at the bigger guy. Just them, the smaller buck steps back a little and I have a clean shot at the bigger one. I squeeze off the round and the big guy just drops right where he stood. My excitement level went through the roof. Randy calls right away asking if that was my .308 he just heard. I was happy to confirm his suspicions and we all headed down to gather my prize. Since, he dropped right where he was standing, he was face down in the mud with his antlers buried. We got him out of the mud and cleaned up for a picture. He’s a nice 3x3 (not counting eye guards). Here he is with me and Randy. I'm on the left.
  2. Hey guys, long time lurker here making his first post. Sorry for the wall of text, TL;DR at the bottom. Please let me know if I made any mistakes regarding posting, profile, etc. I am pretty new to big game hunting in general with only a couple of Javelina hunts in terms of "big game" (with various levels of success). I moved here from Alaska a couple of years ago and therefor everything I'm doing, hunting wise, is self taught or with the help of some friends and I'm kind of at a stand still. Me and a buddy were both drawn for rifle coues in mid November down in 34A. I am relatively familiar with the area due to the Javelina hunts but have never been deer hunting before. I spend 95% of my time on the east side of the Santa Rita's as opposed to the west and have seen plenty of doe before, but never any bucks. As I'm sure quite a few of you know, the elevation and landscape change a lot on that side of the mountain... So my question is, should I continue scouting the mid-higher elevation part of the mountain where I've seen the majority of the does I've come across. Or should we focus on the lower, more desert-like terrain? I don't want to ask anyone about their secret locations or ask for anything too revealing, but I do appreciate anything anyone can tell me (Even if it isn't related to my question, I welcome ANY and all information)! I am a nursing student in West Phoenix so finding the time to hunt was a challenge within itself, and any scouting more than the day before is sadly not going to happen. As such, I am planning on using what I know from my February Javelina hunts. I am not expecting any real success on the hunt due to my lack of preparation because of school, but the experience will do nothing but help me going forward. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this, I appreciate it, and any help you can provide! TL;DR: First time deer hunter. For coues on the east side of the Santa Ritas in unit 34A, which elevation should I focus my efforts? Low scrub-brush or the higher grass-like areas? Thank you for any tips you can help me with!
  3. Drawing a leftover tag can be a bittersweet experience. On one hand you didn't get the tag you really wanted, but on the other hand you still get to hunt. You may not be hunting an area you are familiar with, but in trade, you get to explore and familiarize yourself with a new unit. One of the many virtues leftover tags provide is the opportunity to become a better hunter by forcing you to step out of your comfort zone. Leftover tags provide an opportunity to hone your scouting methods, and opportunities for future success in areas regarded as less than desirable by a lot of other hunters In the past few years the popularity of leftover tags has begun to soar. More hunters are playing the points game; applying for tags on the Kaibab, Arizona Strip, or the ever popular December Coues season. All the while relying on leftovers for their opportunity to chase deer while building points for high demand hunts. I'll admit, I am guilty of falling prey to the lure of hunting big rutting bucks and the opportunity to hunt them during the general season. Having successfully drawn leftover tags in my preferred unit the last several years I was anxiously awaiting the arrival of my tag and looking forward to another back pack hunt in southern Arizona. When the Arizona Game and Fish envelope finally arrived I was a little surprised to find that I had not drawn my preferred unit, but instead, was holding a tag for my fourth choice and a unit I had never set foot in. Never the less, I had the tag and I was going to make the most of it. Almost immediately I began looking at maps. I scoured every inch of the unit with the Arizona Game Planner Map Viewer and Google Earth. My hunting partner Tom and I made a scouting trip in early October and found plenty of water, great habitat, spectacular scenery, but very few deer. In a weekend of glassing, our scouting failed to turn up a single set of antlers. After the scouting trip we contacted the units Wildlife Manager, asked about deer densities, hunter densities, and traded information about the area we had scouted. The WM was a wealth of knowledge and among his recommendations was the same area we had been scouting. He had flown it the previous winter and clearly stated "that is where I would hunt if I had that tag". That statement was a solid endorsement of our game plan. Feeling confident we returned to our area the day before the hunt opened. We spent the evening before the hunt glassing the area in which we hoped to find success the following morning. Temperatures seemed high and deer activity was quite low. We did manage to turn-up 2 small bucks and a handful of does, so we felt optimistic about coming back the following morning. As always, 4:00 am came too early and a veil of frost had covered our campsite. Fighting back the cold we hurried to dress, eat, and load up the side by side with our gear and make the 30 minute drive to the area we would spend opening morning. We had a short hike to our vantage point and quickly ascended the 800ft. of elevation. I always look forward the first moments of the daylight when the sun peers over the horizon and reveals what has previously been hidden. The anticipation of waiting to see whats to be uncovered by the first rays of light always brings an elevated sense of awareness. The desert is more fragrant, deer pop off the hill, and if your lucky you hear the sound of hooves on rocks as deer feed their way to their days bed. Unfortunately for us, sunrise revealed more hunters than deer and the surrounding area seemed to be a favorite of the local road hunters. We did manage to glass 4 doe so it was not a total bust. The rest of the day was pretty much the same, didn't see many deer, so we made the decision to hunt the other side of the area the following morning. Saturday morning came and we hiked into the area on the other side of the range we were hunting. Almost immediately we started seeing deer. We glassed until about 10:30am and had found more than a dozen doe but no bucks. Still, it was the most deer we had found in any spot and we knew if the doe's were there the bucks were not far away. We went back to camp to eat and rest with a plan to return that evening. After our mid-day break Tom and I returned to our promising new area. We quietly hiked in and setup so we could maximize the area we could glass without relocating. Time passed and we had tallied a few does when Tom glassed up two bucks on a distant mountain side, both of which were worth definitely worth pursuing. I used the Avenza PDFMaps app on my smart phone along with a Game Planner Digital Map to measure the distance we had to cover. The bucks happened to be ~1200 yards away bedded in the shade of an oak tree. With a little over an hour of shooting light left both bucks got up and moved to the back side of the mountain. After a brief discussion about the stalk, the discovery of a bad wind, and a quick analysis of the terrain on my smartphone we decided to hike out to the road and use Tom's side by side to save some time getting closer. We parked about 700 yards from where we would eventually set up and quietly made our way onto a ridge adjacent to the peak the bucks were occupying. We had about a half hour till shooting time so we diligently glassed the mountain side for the deer. Just before the closing bell the first buck appeared briefly but did not offer a shot. Moments later the other buck came into an opening at 348 yards. I was already set up prone using my Kuiu Ultra 1800 for a rest and was ready to take the shot as soon as he paused. I fell into my zone, steadied my breathing, and focused on a small area on the flank of the deer. The shot felt good. With the report of a solid hit the bullet knocked the buck off his feet. Amazingly, the deer got back up! Even though he appeared to be hit solidly, I placed another shot through his shoulders for insurance, and he was down for good. Tom and I continued to glass for the other buck till it was to dark to see, but he had seemingly vanished. We left my buck over night and went up the mountain side the following morning to get him. We were both surprised to find a nice 2X3 buck waiting for us. Initially we thought he was a decent 2pt, I am not a fan of marginalizing animals because of the size of their antlers, but I love it when one turns out better than you expected! After photos and handshakes it took us about 40 minutes to quarter him up and get the meat into our packs for the trip off the mountain. I felt good about my success given this was a unit neither of us had hunted before and we drew as a 4th choice in the leftover draw. We hunted the other buck for another day before Tom and I had to return to work. He never did turn-up. We didn't see as many deer as we were accustom to, but we knew going into the hunt that this was a low density area. All in all, we glassed 4 bucks and 32 does in 4 days of hunting. Upon returning home I spent the day processing the meat and doing a euro mount. The meat processing took longer than I anticipated but I'm real happy with the way the mount turned out. I had recently picked up a Lee Challenger Reloading kit. This was the first hunt in which I used my handloads. I was shooting a Winchester Model 70 in .270wsm, topped with a Leupold VX-III 4.5X14 40mm scope. I loaded 140gr Accubonds over 72.5gr of Accurate MagPro and Winchester large magnum primers with Winchester brass. This load shot sub-moa out to 400 yards in my rifle. It took me a good portion of the summer to develop the load and I fired 120+ rounds during the process. I felt really good about my shooting going into the hunt and was happy with the way the loads performed. In my opinion, Coues deer are one of the most admirable species of western quarry. Some of the terrain they inhabit can easily be mistaken for that of wild sheep. They have the uncanny ability to vanish in little to no cover. They are perfectly camouflaged for their environment, which makes glassing Coues a challenge and finding a good one all the more satisfying. And, when you finally find a buck you'd be happy to tag, your likely looking at a 1,000 yard stalk through canyons choked with cactus and cat claw; followed by a long shot, at a small target. Coues deer will undoubtedly test every ability a western hunter possesses. I'm always impressed with how tough, elusive, and handsome these little deer are! They make a tremendous trophy for any hunter willing to undertake the challenge of hunting Coues Whitetail.
  4. Game Planner Maps

    Coues Hunting maps from Game Planner Maps

    Game Planner Maps is excited to provide a preview of its latest map release; Project Red Zone maps. Game Planner Red Zone Maps are built on the same synthetic media as our Custom Maps. Red Zone Maps are designed with the Southern Arizona Coues Deer hunter in mind. These are pre-configured maps and printed one at a time. Red Zone Maps are bundled as a package and include a matching Digital Map and a USGS Topo Digital Map. These bundles provide you with unmatched coverage of your unit. Combined with the Game Planner Map Viewer, Red Zone Maps give you all the tools you need for researching your unit, recording data from in-field scouting, and use while hunting. Digital Maps are downloadable immediately after purchase. Each package includes a printed Red Zone Map, matching Digital Maps, as well as, our popular unit specific USGS Topo Digital Map. Red Zone Maps Feature: 1. Roads and trails. 2. Private Land Boundaries and Public Land Surface Ownership 3. Surface Water, Springs/Seeps, Water Catchments 4. Unit Boundary and Section Grid 5. Terrain Basemap with Vegetation Landcover 6. 100' Contours Digital Maps are compatible with the free Avenza PDF Maps Mobile App. Digital Maps are downloadable items and limited to two downloads per purchase. Downloads must be made within 5 days of purchase. Download maps from your order history immediately after purchase. Click the links to preview the maps. When zooming in it will take a few moments for the maps to digitize to full resolution. 36C Front 36C Back 36A Front 36A Back 36B, 34A and 35B to follow. Other units coming soon! Don't forget to check out the Game Planner Free Map Viewer by registering here. Be sure to check your email inbox/spam folder for your confirmation email. Then just login to your acct and research hunting areas and print maps for free. Once your registered you can also take advantage of the Free Google Earth Downloads we supply. You also download your digital maps from this page. Follow the link to the downloads http://www.gameplannermaps.com/index.php/download Don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. Ed ed@gameplannermaps.com (480) 620-3309 www.GAMEPLANNERMAPS.com https://www.facebook.com/gameplannermaps/
  5. I was blessed today to be able to harvest my first deer with a bow, the shot was 90 yards !!! Saw him sitting in a thicket with my Vortex 15x56 Kaibabs. A special thanks to Bruce Noble and crew on being with me and helping out. Bruce called them back after they got out of range,Thanks to Boomer Salgado for setting me up with my PSE Bow Madness !!! I was able to get complete pass through !!! Complete pass through at 90 yards. Go see him at PSE !!! Thanks
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