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  1. Another January has come and gone, chasing coues deer with a bow around southeastern Arizona. I'm already planning eleven months ahead and imagining how it may go. I had so many plans for this year that just didn't happen, although I can't complain considering the way it turned out. There's always seems to be too much to hunt and never nearly enough time. Unfortunately, some of those canceled plans included hitting the hills with some great friends but I was fortunate enough to spend a little time in the field with my wonderful wife. She joined me on the first day of a three day backpack hunt. I had previously stashed water on the mountain, while accompanying my dad on a lion with my daughter along as well, always a pleasure. All in search of a big buck that barely escaped me last year, on January 1st. Unable to locate him again and having a failed stalk, on a different deer, behind me. I moved down my list of places to hunt. Due to an old neck injury flare up and a broken bow sight in December, I found myself going through the motions and wandering through the woods with a general lack of confidence. Since I wasn't able to shoot as much as normal. I did see some great bucks though and was elated the day I relocated a buck from two January's ago. A buck with split g2's, split g3's and as much gnarly character as I've ever seen. Another really awesome buck I spotted during a storm a couple days before finding my buck. Some great bucks for the future. My buck when I first saw him again this year. Back in 2016 when I stalked this buck, my friend Creed watched from just above a small saddle that overlooked the bowl. The wise old deer busted me well before shooting range and beelined it for the saddle next to Creed. He saw what was happening and hustled to reach a good position. They about ran into each other and both momentarily froze. After drawing on the buck, Creed responsibly refused to rush his shot and it was nothing but a close call. The deer took off and never slowed down until he was out of sight over a huge ridge, far to the northwest. From then on, I referred to him as the buck that Creed passed, always receiving a look and comment in return. Within a few minutes of studying him, this year, I had no doubt I had turned up the same old bruiser. He had lost quite a bit of tine length and body size but his frame with downward turned main beams was unmistakable. We reviewed some pictures and videos later and became more convinced of his identity, with the same color tail as well. So, this time he was about a mile away and the stalk to get around in good position would take hours through rough, thick country. I was pleasantly surprised as I reached my landmark above the draw he shared with a few does, when I immediately spotted him. I had plenty of time and the conditions were doable with extreme care to go slow and quiet. As I was moving forward, I noticed a doe to my right, staring at me. She wasted no time vacating straight towards my target and taking everything with her. I made it to 170 yards and then rushed the final stalk, dummy! A long discouraging walk back to my truck. After turning the place upside down, I couldn't believe my eyes nearly a week later. I watched the same buck disappear over a small rise, right at daylight. Moving into the next big canyon had the result I was hoping for but I had to dog trot up a long ridge to hopefully find him, yet again. I gasped for breath almost an hour later, while admiring my new perch. I could see everywhere he should be, I patiently sat right there for about the next ten hours convinced I'd turn him up any second. Every deer I saw was a heart rush to only be let down that it wasn't him. At least I witnessed some awesome rutting activity form there. I left most of my stuff behind and began the dark climb down, knowing I needed to return before daylight the next day. I felt some hesitation leaving my bow, binos, spotter and everything else for a lone night in the wild but didn't want myself getting lazy the next morning and settling for a lesser glassing position. Also I think it's funny that I left my lunch up there to eat the next day too, focusing on looking for my buck I completely forgot to eat it. Well, it's all about ups and downs and regardless of effort, the next day was a bust. My wheels were turning, I had to figure this out and make some decisions for the next day. Some bucks I saw while trying to relocate my buck. Still not knowing what to do, racing against time as the sky lit up, I moved up the familiar ravine towards multiple glassing options. I decided to move back west where I had originally saw him. It wasn't far for a rutting buck to cruise and it had been a couple days so who knew what else may show up. Agonizing over which spot was better, I finally started out of the ravine to my left. Climbing through the scrub oak and mesquites, doing my best to navigate correctly. I chose the more ideal spot to see more country vs. the better position to stalk from, once and if I had a deer spotted. After a slow morning, I finally spotted a couple does exactly where I had stalked him the week before. My heart took the abuse as I searched for his grand presence, no luck. Getting lost in my binos, I continued to scan. Holding my breath for a break, picking apart every shape. Suddenly, I couldn't have missed him. After having looked a dozen times, there he stood! I began to shake and did my best at a quick,hand held, phone video through my spotter. He was about 600 yards away but, I carefully packed up and snuck backwards out of sight. Knowing I'd be blind for at least thirty minutes I tried to hold a steady pace. Working down the backside of my hill, I reached the ravine and circled toward the other spot I had almost started at that morning. I would have been only 300 yards away and in a better position to begin my stalk, oh well. Stepping above the privacy of the thick cut, I realized he was where I had left him with a quick glance. Showing the patience of an old buck, with his doe a short distance away. I returned to the very bottom of my chosen traveling corridor and eased my way up, closing the distance. I would be below them but the wind was good and if anything, they were slowly working their way towards me, on the thick north facing slope. I checked my position by poking into view a few times and trying to see him again. A couple of the times I got no reassurance but continued on. One last check, a sky lined doe was about 200 yards up the hill and I heard several grunts! I picked out his rack through some mountain mahogany. After careful advance, I found myself in the brush with them. Things weren't really looking good but I had no good reason to believe they had left. With each small, slow step I dissected the vegetation through my binos. I found a doe nibbling the leaves off a scrub oak and my heart started racing. Around fifty yards and she had the same distinct white spots below her ears. This was it! Pounding hooves stole my attention as a doe raced up to my right, with a buck on her tail. She looked right at me and spun around, darting away. The buck remained oblivious as I could possibly have arrowed him. I looked back and the other doe seemed unbothered. She was coming down hill, closing the distance for me. She angled to my left and I picked up movement behind her. As she moved through a slight opening I ranged the best I could and hooked up my release. The movement was him! His rack was all I could see, literally. Floating above the shrubs ten feet behind his doe. I was drawn and hoping he didn't stop and look because there was no shot yet. To my dismay, he stopped in the opening. I split my 30 and 40, my bow jumped! I was waiting for that one thing to go wrong but knew it was over as my arrow disappeared in the sweet spot. Wow!!! All the emotions, hard work, pain, discomfort and everything else suddenly piled up and I thought I might collapse, I was exhausted. He was out of sight right away but I had no doubt he was laying a short distance away. I was standing no more than fifty yards from where Creed stood the day he "passed" this buck two years ago. Haha I found him right away, he had gone about forty yards. I was in disbelief and I still am. An old mature giant of the coues country, in my opinion. This deer was as much as thirty percent bigger bodied when we saw him before. With teeth worn down flat and some missing, I have no doubt he was near the end. Possibly may have been his last January anyway, had he slipped past me. Hopefully I have many more to come. This wouldn't have been possible without the support from my wife. I've said before, the amount of patience it takes to spot and stalk coues deer with a bow pales in comparison to the patients it takes to be married to me. Thanks for reading and good luck scouting!
  2. C.C.Cody171

    Archery NM Barbary Sheep

    Wandering the new and wide open grounds of what seamed like endless desolation with my brother, Caleb, wasn't similar to any hunting I've done. We had already been walking for days, occasionally reaching enough of a rise in the rolling topography to see a few more miles of the same color rock and sparse vegetation. Although, snaking through it, here and there, were cliffs made up from many years of water flow in washes and what the maps refer to as "rivers", even with the absence of water for a majority of each year. Along with each new vantage, earned by sore feet and legs, came the hope for a sighting of our nomadic prey. Of this foreign animal we knew very little, basically just what we came to believe through word of mouth and limited research. We had a decent amount of information going into this hunt but like any other subject, there's plenty of info, the trick is separating accurate from false. The only consistent way we have found to achieve this is with boots on the ground and eyes behind the glass. Late nights walking back to camp or the truck, hours after dark. We were beat, how could we go so many days without even laying our eyes on a New Mexico Barbary Sheep (Aoudad) and expect Caleb to fill his rifle tag and take one home. After laying down one night in the freezing temperatures with nothing but a breathing channel exposed to the night air, I was held hostage by my hunting partners night howling that I've been pestered with since childhood. Always jealous of Caleb's ability to immediately be asleep and snoring, I remained awake. Without motion, going over this hunt with detailed consideration. It was time for a change in landscape. We discussed our options, hours before daylight, the next morning and high tailed it for different country. The several combined units for this hunt makes up an absolutely massive chunk of real estate, scattered with private land. We had to avoid the often non fenced, non posted, private land with extreme care. In NM, it's each hunters responsibility to be capable enough with a GPS or map to stay out of court for trespassing. A serious offense, especially if you've dropped an animal. So, now we found ourselves in habitat the opposite of what we had been hunting. Most of this maze of deep canyons clustered with sheer cliffs was impassable for humans. We carefully navigated along the ridges from the top of the mountain where, fortunately, a rough road granted us access. We both glassed until our eyes were burnt from the intense wind that apparently never rests in this area. Two days later we were in awe that our efforts to provide Caleb with a shot were still without reward. No Barbary Sheep were found. What the "heck" can we do!!!Another night spent away from home and my warm bed. Once again laying in the pitch black. Too tired, thirsty and confused to sleep. Listening to the consistent inhale of my beloved brothers nasal situation. We had both, long since recognized my good fortune on opening day. Now, I recall those unbelievable and exciting events in my minds eye. Accustomed to hiking, glassing, spotting, stalking and killing coues deer in Arizona, we topped our first hill of the hunt with long awaited excitement. Soon realizing this wouldn't be the meticulous, picking apart, type of glassing we were used to. By 8:00 we were already aways from our trucks, surveying from our third hilltop. I spoke up about some sheep I discovered, they looked about a mile away. We studied them for a little while, this being the first either of us had ever seen in the wild, it was interesting to note their behavior. There was eleven in the group and possibly a couple were rams. We had rifle tags for either sex but we had agreed to hold out for any ram. Both females and males grow horns and from a distance it can be difficult to tell the difference, for beginners especially. Hearing from other people that these crazy looking things were extremely flighty and had incredible vision. We decided to carefully retreat from our lookout and circle around in order to advance while out of sight. After covering nearly a mile we realized Caleb's range finder still wouldn't reach half way to our destination. It's advertised as a 1600 yard tool. To say the least we were terrible at judging distance in this barren place. I've never even hunted antelope and their typical range would be the closest example of our surroundings. We navigated through several gullies and modest changes of elevation trying to remain hidden. As we reached our new goal we slowly gained vision over the horizon. We were now positioned with a deep rocky gorge between us and the sheep. It was impossible not to spot them with our naked eyes at this distance. A quick check, it came back at roughly 400 yards. A chip shot for Caleb with his 7mm mag but, still a bit outside my comfort zone with my stick flinger. Knowing we had the entire month of February to return to NM on the weekends, after our initial week long trip. I had decided to give it a chance with my bow for the first half of the days I could hunt. Everything I could find to read or watch about Aoudad hunting wasn't encouraging of this challenge. As Caleb set up to shoot, I studied my stalk options and came up with a plan. We checked the GPS one more time to confirm we were still within the fairly small section of public land. I told him not to hesitate to fill his tag with what turned out to be only one ram in this group, if I bumped them during my attempt to get within range. Although only about 400 yards away, it was necessary for me to back out of sight again and follow the landscape way around for possibly over a mile walk in total, to get all the variables in my favor. Caleb patiently waited for me to appear from over the rocks along the opposing ridge. If these Aoudad began to move off at any point he was game for putting this ram in his freezer but later he would share how excited he got when my head suddenly floated into view on the horizon above the sheep. I started creeping down hill towards the wary critters. At this point I was glad to see my landmarks had served me well for the blind approach. I came over, slowing exposing the hillside below me and started to see the yellowish/orangish shapes through the short shrubs and grass. Some were bedded and I couldn't see the ram so I continued forward. I had assumed this stalk wouldn't work out when I started but figured since we found the opportunity so early in the hunt, there would be more chances often. As I closed the distance I spotted my shooter once I was about 130 yards from him. Some of the ewes were bedded and the rest were lazily grazing, all in close proximity. Constantly scanning each animal, I inched closer for a long while. There was minimal breeze but it was in my face and I had elevation in my favor as well. The only problem was a complete lack of cover. I worked to get close for probably an hour and was disappointed to realize I was still over 100 yards away. Unfortunately, the sheep were also slowly working their way down hill. I had practiced more than ever for a long shot in preparation for this hunt, due to their elusive reputation and the possibility of open terrain. I ranged the ram, he was standing quartered away at 102 yards. I observed that I was having no issue with buck fever. The wind was basically dead and what remained was straight in my face. I glanced across the ravine at the statue behind his glass on a tripod. Little did I know, Caleb's heart was racing. I'd been smoking my target beyond this distance at home, with my broadheads. My live target in that moment stood his ground, completely unaware of my contemplation. I subconsciously went through my mental checklist and felt a flutter in my stomach. I studied the ground between us and knew there was no getting closer. With 22 elite eyes doing their best to survive predators, I wondered how I even got to where I was. Delaying my next step was coming to an end. A few ewes took small steps, they were moving away. I was convinced I could make this shot but I'll be honest. I'm a skeptic for long shots, on living creatures. My prey was clueless, soaking up the sun in the wide open. Although, in my experience, being in the open exposed to this many animals, getting busted is only a matter of time. My chance was evaporating every second. The ram took a few steps away and then turned broadside, looking downhill at his ladies that were becoming distant. I thought "ok 104". Caleb about lost it when I rose from my position and drew my bow. Settling my last bit of movement, my pin sunk into his bread basket. Everything was perfect, I felt I could responsibly send the deadly arrow. My bow suddenly sprang and I was almost shocked to see my arrow way above the ground, arching onward! It traveled so far I lost it in flight but the ram stood for impact. I glimpsed fletchings bouncing along beside his body as he rapidly disappeared over the crest. I was suddenly aware of my pounding heart and felt nervously sick. I stood still and put in another arrow. The rest of the sheep hadn't run, they jumped around a bit and stared in all directions trying to figure out what happened. They moved uphill, toward me and came to within 70 yards! I watched for the ram but counted only 10 heads over and over. Caleb was doing the same thing, the ram had darted into the draw out of view but it happened so fast. We weren't sure if he had returned to the others. They finally spotted me and wasted no more time. Those animals move amazingly through anything. They were across a cliff that skirted the deep, narrow canyon and out of sight within seconds. I took a deep breath after once again counting 10 animals, as they disappeared. Caleb and I each examined up and down the gorge that separated us, carefully from each of our positions for about 30 minutes. No movement. He gathered his gear and snuck my way. I slowly crept toward the point of impact, reaching it provided zero satisfaction. I moved in the direction of the rams exit, no tracks, no blood, no sheep, no good. I was disappointed in myself but there was still a chance. We both saw the arrow in his side but were unsure of its exact location. Caleb was coming across the very bottom of the deep rocky cut as I went to meet him. Now at only a short distance, we traded enough info to learn we were both unsure of my shot results. He excitedly exclaimed about being able to see my arrow through his binos coming toward the sheep from the opposite side. He said it looked like I smoked him but it was hard to tell because the ram immediately ran down, out of sight. Caleb had barely been peeking over his ridge, in fear of spooking them. Hope was dwindling as I cautiously worked down through the rocks for the last bit, to reach the bottom. Both our mental states of mind did a 180 and a couple back flips when I noticed the dead ram in some bear grass a short ways ahead! I erupted and Caleb almost hurt himself getting through the terrain to reach me. After some big hugs and coming back to earth I yelled "Dude, I just killed a Barbary Sheep with my bow!" We soaked in the moment, exchanging details of the whole ordeal. I've been fortunate to harvest a number of big game animals with my bow over the last few years. All in the same spot and stalk fashion but usually it has happened while solo. It was so very special for me to share this experience with my brother and not only that, he actually got to watch the whole thing. We decided to carry the sheep, out of the canyon, to get pictures showing the land we were hunting in. Major chore, they're heavier than they look. Then we worked quickly carving meat and packing up. We were both exhausted once we reached the trucks several miles away. With some relief, we figured, surely we could find Caleb a sheep right away and head home. There was no camp, we had simply parked on the shoulder of a county road at 10:00 the night before and gone to bed. It was our first time in the unit because, regrettably, our work schedules and prior commitments made scouting impossible this time. We just knew there was a section of public land in one direction, that hopefully held some of these mysterious Barbary Sheep! I woke up later that month still shaking my head with disbelief and realized I was quite cold. Caleb was getting ready for another day of trying to grind out success. I rolled out of my sleeping bag to prepared our oatmeal. We hunted the rest of the days we planned but never fired a shot. One time, Caleb spotted two running sheep about five miles away for just a few seconds. That's the only other sighting we had. Besides the impressive herd of mature rams we got to observe right in the middle of our hunting area, on the other side of an eight foot fence! At only a couple hundred yards they paid little mind, we could have blundered within bow range of these pets. All this took place back in February of this year. Seven months later I was sitting around with my kids telling stories and they insisted to hear about the cool looking euro mount once again. Grabbing it off the wall brought back all those memories and I couldn't help but write something up, after all. I'm not necessarily for long range shooting at animals, that's what has kept me from feeling as good about that hunt all this time. I'm glad it worked out for that amazing animal to not have suffered but it's a lot of arrow flight time for one step to cause a bad hit. As it was, the double lung dropped him within 80 yards! As always, I was able to enjoy this hunt to the fullest knowing I had the support of my amazing wife and would like to thank her for everything. Her whitetail hunt in AZ is next, wish us luck! Thanks for reading and if anyone is planning an Aoudad hunt, I wish you the best of luck!
  3. Filled my 2015 lion tag! This is my 3rd spot and stalk lion in the last 10-11 years... and finally go me a good Tom! Pretty stoked to have also found this cat's last kill, a lil 3 pt coues... hoping Dale and Heather can incorporate the head into the mount! We glassed 9 lions from October thru the end of December... Time to go buy another tag!
  4. Coues 'n' Sheep

    Major back fire or coincidence?

    Has anyone noticed the Huge spike in successful spot and stalk archery deer hunters this last year or is it just me? It seems there are twice as many guys out there glassing hills and ground checking Giant Mulies and some great Coues as well... not to mention all the average bucks posted on the internet collectively. A huge congrats to all these guys and congrats to each and everyone of the successful archery hunters in late 2014/ early 2015... My Question: Is this partially due to the fact that less guys are sitting ground blinds and treestands since the banning of Baiting in AZ? Lets face it the baiting ban was shoved down our throats with a rouse of CWD but it was really about too many archery hunters filling tags... and hunters would not unite behind the few who tried to stand up for bow hunters. (A rule they seem to not be enforcing btw, considering how many bait piles a guy can still find if he really looks in some of the old popular spots) But lets face it, the number of coues deer bucks being harvested in the Rim Country Crashed! ...and that was one of their main target areas (a pet project agenda of a couple department officials). They were worried about the deer that rifle hunters weren't impacting because "Baiters" were hunting the nasty thick overgrown country that Can't be effectively hunted with a gun... After passing the new rule they even went as far as to remove the mandatory check in of archery harvested deer? Were they That confident that they had solved their perceived "archery over harvest Problem" that they didn't even need to see where harvested deer were coming from any more or how those harvests may impact the ridiculous amounts of early rifle buck tags? My Point: You guys didn't stand with the few baiters when they needed you... Are you gunna ask for those same guys to stand with you when they decided that their plan "Backfired" and more changes are needed to "reel in archer deer success"??? Just curious....
  5. with back drop of area I was glassing more of the area I was glassing where I found him laying, propped his head up with sticks where I found him, 100 yards from where I shot him side view So, my friend Colton already posted a picture of this buck last night, but here are some more pictures along with the story. I have stalked 1 mule deer and a bachelor herd of 3 mule deer this season, and in January and last August I have stalked a total of around 30 bucks. Everything from spikes to giants. I stalk any buck I see that is within a couple miles if I can get to it before dark. I am not too concerned with antler size, I was just blessed with a great buck. I was glassing for a few hours like I do almost everyday of hunting season. As it was getting a little warmer I was paying more attention to bedding areas. I finally caught a glimpse of a buck standing and feeding in a bush at the top of a hill about a mile away. I watched him walk in between a few bushes and never emerge from the other side. After watching for about 10 minutes, I figured he bedded down right there. He was in an area the wasn’t too thick and I could see I would have some shooting lanes if I went and waited for him to stand from his bed. So I began my stalk. I went to my truck and dropped off my tripod and my Vortex 15s. I grabbed a couple waters, my home made Sneaky feet (I made them out of automotive headliner carpeting, string and hot glue so I could slip them over my boots, I was sick of walking through the desert in my socks, and this was the first time I used them and they worked great, very quiet), painted my face and sprayed down with scent killer. As I walked to the top of the mountain the wind was perfect. I could see the bushes he should be bedded in so I would take a couple steps and look through my 8s, then a couple more and look again to see If I could pick up an antler tip or any movement to make sure he was still there. And I was also checking in the areas around there to see if he was somewhere else. When I was about 150 yards away I picked up a buck feeding in a different bush. After watching for a minute it seemed that he was content in staying there so I planned my path to come around some bushes and wait for him to step out and hopefully shoot him. But I know Coues bucks often travel in pairs while in velvet, so I was keeping my eye on the bushes I had seen the buck earlier, just incase this wasn’t the same buck. As I was rounding the final bush where I was going to stop and wait for that buck to feed out, I stepped out onto a rock and looked in to the bush where I had seen the buck originally. There he was standing right there still feeding in that bush about 1.5 hours from when I had seen him with my 15s. So I froze, ranged him (luckily I have one of those range snap things, mine is actually home made but after sewing it onto my bino harness strap and getting the connectors, clips, etc. and doing all the work, I wished I would have just bought one) and adjusted my hand on my bow, as I did this he whipped his head up and the staring contest began. I did not move a muscle even though my left leg was shaking so bad I thought I was going to fall off the rock. He kept doing the whole head bob, foot stomp thing and taking steps toward me. After about a minute he turned broadside but was still staring at me. I was afraid to draw because I have done it with a few bucks and they are usually about 100 yards away by the time you reach full draw. So, I said a quick prayer and felt like God told me to draw. So I focused on a spot dead center of his lungs, reached full draw, quickly set my 40 yard pin and watched my arrow hit dead on and pass through him. I watched him run straight down the hill spraying blood. I thought to my self, “God, please don’t let me wake up.” Because I could hardly believe it actually happened. I went over found my blood covered Easton Axis with the Spitfire broadhead fully opened. I sat down and called my wife who was at work and my mom who was watching my 2 boys and told them I had just shot a great Coues buck. Since I didn’t hear him crash I waited for about 20 minutes. I would have waited longer but I knew the shot was a perfect double lung pass through so he had to be dead. I followed the blood trail about 100 yards and found him laying there. I grabbed ahold of him and realized how nice of a buck he really was and I was extremely excited and thankful. Then I took a few pics, called someone to help me pull him out, pulled him into the shade to gut him. My friend arrived and we got him to my truck. I brought him to the Mogollon Taxidermy and had him caped out. Then brought him home and took care of the meat. The equipment I used for this hunt was: 2013 Bowtech Experience set at 64#s (just got his new bow after a few years of shooting a Diamond and it is amazing), Easton Axis 340s, Spitfire Broadheads, Black Gold 7 pin Sight, Carter Release, Vortex Viper 15s with a $45 Dolica photography tripod (works great), Bushnell Legend 8s, Wildgame Innovations 900 yard angle compensating rangefinder, cheap camos, 84 Toyota 4runner. Thanks to: God who is the ultimate hunting guide, my wife for always letting me go out and always shoots bows with me, my mom for watching my kids, Isaac for helping pull this deer out (even though he almost had a heart attack), Jeremy at Chasin a Dream Archery shop who always has great products and helps me with tuning and servicing my bows, and Coueswhitetail.com members for all the knowledge I have learned through reading your posts. Hope you enjoyed the story.