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Found 5 results

  1. Couestracker

    Gould's success!

    For this season in Arizona, I drew my second Gould's turkey tag, this one in 35A. I found out that Game and Fish holds a survey camp, sponsored by The Huachuca Gould's Chapter of The NWTF, a month before the hunt. Of course I participated in the survey, it was fun, plus I learned a lot about the unit and found some roosting areas. Excellent camp, nice folds and great food! Did I mention the various Dutch-oven cobblers? Opening morning I went in where 3 toms had been roosted, but they weren't there. I heard a faint gobble further up the canyon, so I moved a half-mile further in. It was light by now, so I set-up by a little meadow alongside a running Creek and began calling. I had a gobbler respond about 300 yards up the canyon. Next gobble he sounded closer, the next sounded farther away. I called again and he sounded closer! I strained my eyes looking thru the trees and brush looking for movement. Finally I catch sight of him, he's strutting and gobbling his way in! I was counting on him coming along the creek, but he was on the dirt road on the far side of the creek. As he passed behind a tree, I got my shotgun up on a knee and pointed that direction. I had ranged all parts of the area, so I knew if I had a clear shot I could take him. He continued strutting and gobbling down the road, but there was a lot of brush between us. As I followed him with the muzzle, the road was angling away, when he got to be straight out in front of me, he passed through a clear spot, so I fired-dropped him in his tracks! Turned out to be a 50 yard shot. He was a nice tom! Weighed 20.5 lbs, had a thick 11" beard and 1" spurs. Checked the time: 5:50 am. Beautiful tom! View from where I shot Zoomed in, bird is on edge of road View of camp through trees Not roughing it this time Sunset from Coronado National Monument
  2. 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.
  3. 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/
  4. My 2014 buck taken at 650yds. My wife took her first Muley @ 165 yds with her .243 My daughter took her first muley @ 289 yards with my son's 25-06 My son took his first mature coues at 352 yards with his 25-06. Great year of hunting. 2014 Coues Buck.MOV
  5. Day One: Almost immediately we noticed that this hunt was going to be considerably different then my wife, son and daughter’s November hunt. As the sun came up, unlike the Nov hunt, we saw little to no activity in the flat. We started to glass up higher up the slope and picked up does already bedding. We glassed for a couple of hours and decided that they were going to most likely stay bedded until late afternoon. I decided to head to the top of the main ridge and see what I could see from up top. I got of my quad, grabbed my gear and stepped off the road to set up to glass. Immediately got busted by something. Something snorted. I pulled up by binos and noticed a nice 3x3 rounding a juniper and disappearing. Ok, suspicion confirmed. That afternoon, we headed back down to a high bowl and started glassing. Around 5 p.m. we see a buck in the bowl at 200 yards. As it moved to within 170 yards, we noticed it was an odd looking 3x3. 2” G1s angled inward almost touching. The G2s or G3s were facing backwards making it seem like he had double main beams. We tried to get his dad to set up for a shot on this buck, but was unable too before he spooked and ran off. Day two we headed back to that bowl for the morning. Again we noticed more activity up higher. Saw several does and a few small bucks bedding and milling around up high. We went and grabbed a bite to eat and decided to go back to the top of the ridge and glass where that buck from the prior evening ran. Another set of hunters beat us to the ridge and we were not able. We decided to take the ridge road along the ridge south of the draw the yesterday’s buck ran into. We set up started glassing and soon spotted a nice mature 2x2 standing under a juniper 400 yards away. Again we tried to get my friends dad on this buck, but he was not able to see him. I set up for the shot. The buck moved down the slope to 366 yds and I took the shot. I hear my friend chucky say “You missed over his back!!!” The buck disappears in a little draw. We regrouped and started glassing again. I went to the other side of the ridge and started to glass again. Within 30 minutes, I busted a small 2x2 buck bedded below me. He ran out to 98 yards and stopped. He was too small and I watched him snort and stomp off up the draw. I crossed back over to the side where I missed the buck earlier and shortly, the ole man says, “Chucky, I got a doe under a bush”. We go over to look at this doe and realized that is not a doe. It was a really nice, wide, thin racked buck. I good shooter at 401 yards. We set up for the shot, but before we are ready, he steps under a juniper and stays put until after dark. Day three: We head back up to where we put this buck to sleep. We both agreed that today felt like a good day. Maybe we both will kill today. I decide to start glassing the draw where I jumped that little buck while Chucky started glassing where we bedded the buck last night. Shortly I notice several does feeding up the ridge. A few hundred yards behind them game a small 2x2 and spike. I watched the bucks for about 45 minutes or so. Then I get a text. “I got your buck over here”. I replied, “How far?”, “250 yards” he says. “I’m on my way”, I replied. I get to where Chucky is at and sure enough it is my missed buck from the night before, and he was less than 40 yards from where he was standing when I missed him. I range him at 255 yards. I set up for the shot and fire. He did a 180 and started walking back into that draw again, but I knew I hit him. I reloaded, put the crosshairs shoulder high and waited for him to clear the scrub oak. My 7 REM MAG barked, the 168 Berger VLD with 65.3 grains of IMR 7828 finds it mark again and this beautiful buck drops where he stood. What a year of deer hunting. Six days hunting: Three days hunting during my wife, son and daughter’s hunt and three days during my late hunt producing 4 nice Coues. My wife’s: 54lb 2x2, Son’s: 71 lbs 1x2, Daughter’s: 64lb 2x2 and My 91lb 2x2. Now I have to come up with a unique way to mount all four heads (European mount style).