Arizona 2017 Coues Hunt

JimP

Veteran member
Mar 28, 2016
3,685
434
Gypsum, Co
Well folks here it is.

This was the hunt that almost wasn?t.

Last year on this exact day December 30th we had spotted a very nice coues deer buck about 2 miles away and the stalk was started. We had crawled the last 50 or so yards to get into position and had set the rifle up to bag me a trophy. Just as I got the cross hairs onto the vitals at 400 yards a ATV came past us on a road over a mile away, this deer heard it and was off like a shot. A 2 ? hour stalk ruined, but then what do you expect on public land.

I had cashed in 8 points in Arizona for a chance at this buck in unit 36c down on the Arizona/Mexico border and my partner had cashed in 7 so to say that we were disappointed really didn?t say how we felt. We thought that we would have a good day on the last day of the hunt but woke up to cloud cover in the canyons that we had planned on hunting. So much for 8 years of hope and payers.

This year?s draw came around for Arizona and I was wondering what to do. I thought about just picking up a bonus point and not worry about the draw but on just a whim I put back in for a December coues deer hunt with on one loyalaty point and not worry about it. You should of seen my surprise when I saw a $300 charge on my CC. I went back into my AZG&F portal account and checked my application, yes it was the right hunt number. I then went to the guide book and checked out the hunt number and yes it was for unit 36c, could I of been so lucky to of drawn this tag 2 years in a row? This isn?t the way that my luck usually goes.

Then the official notification came and I was like a kid on Christmas Day with a new train set under the tree. You older members will know what I mean by that. I was going coues deer hunting in December again.

I called my friend and told him the good news, but he was unable to get any time off during December so I would be on my own. I then contacted an outfitter that . I then contacted an outfitter that we had met down there in 2016 but all of his hunts were full, what am I going to do? I was going to go hunting by myself if I needed to.

I spent the summer getting my rifle ready for 500-600 yards shots I loaded ammo and shot ammo at all different ranges. I also got mad at Leopold due to the fact that they didn?t tell me that my VX3 4.5-14 didn?t qualify for the free CDS dial until it was too late to do anything about it. So onward I charged. Come Thanksgiving things started to look up. My friend called and said that he could get the last week of the year off and he was ready to be my spotter. A week later the outfitter called and said that one of his clients was getting iffy on his hunt, I was ecstatic. I told the outfitter that I would work with him out in the unit if needed and he was quite happy to tell me that he would help out. The hunt was on.

I drove to Arizona the day before Christmas and spent the night ??s of the way down. I then spent Christmas day with a friend in his home just north of Tucson with plans of meeting my friend in a small town of Three Points at 7am and then drive into the unit and start hunting. We met up and headed out to the unit and unloaded his side by side. We then headed down to the area that we had the blown stalk the year before to start glassing. Once there we spotted a nice buck with two smaller ones, the stalk was on for a mile. We came up over a small ridge just to the south of the bucks but didn?t see them. After a hour we spotted a spike but the larger buck was gone. It was now noon so we headed back to camp to set it up. That night we were back glassing for the larger buck and found him, only now he was around 2 miles away, so off we went. We finally got as close as we dared, 542 yards and set up. He was laying in some brush with another buck and some does. We watched him for over 3 hours until it got dark and him never moving. I think that he knew that we were there.

The next day we went back in in the dark and started to glass. This time we were only 450 yards from him but he was hidden by cactus and never did offer a good shot. Then a couple other hunters came along the hillside and spooked him. The last we saw of him he was headed strong in the wrong direction never to be seen again.

The next day we went to a new spot, a 7 mile hike up a dry wash to glass some bowls. All this accomplished was some sore muscles and tired feet. That night we went back to what we were now calling buck heaven. The problem was that we were not seeing any bucks and very few does.

Friday morning came and we decided to take it a little bit easy and only go for a 3 mile hike. When we got up onto the knob to start to glass my friend asked what kind of buck I would be happy with? I told him I wanted a respectable one and not a dink. He went back to glassing. A half hour he came running around the hill telling me to pack up, he had found the buck and that he was only a mile away, so off we went. An hour later found us on a small saddle with the buck only 418 yards away so I very quickly and quietly got set up. The buck was working though some high grass and what I call the devils walking stick with no shot possible but as he moved I moved the cross hairs. He finally stopped and my friend said ?shoot?. The word wasn?t even out of his mouth when I pulled the trigger. He said that the buck was down, but then back up as I gathered myself for the second shot, then the buck was down and rolling down the hill. I had my coues.

It took us a 1 ? hours to get up and over to him through all the cat claw and other cactuses that were up there. My arm looked like Edward Scissors Hand had gone to work one me, but I had my buck

After the handshakes and hugging we took some photos and started to quarter him up to get him off of that hill. 4 hours later we were back at camp drinking a cold soda and planning our next adventure.

I have no idea of what he scores and could care less. He had 5 points on one side and 4 on the other counting the eye guards. He is a toad of a coues.



 

Umpqua Hunter

Veteran member
May 26, 2011
3,558
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55
North Umpqua, Oregon
Congrats Jim! Thank you for sharing your story. What a blessing to get to go back and do a rerun of that hunt. That is a beautiful Coues. I would love to hunt them someday.
 

ColoradoV

Very Active Member
Oct 4, 2011
594
79
Thx for keeping us updated as I was looking forward to hearing. Great hunt and a great buck as well!
 

Horsenhike

Very Active Member
Nov 11, 2015
667
0
Eastern SD
Could you post some more pictures of the terrain and landscape?

We are headed that direction over the next couple years and are curious.
 

JimP

Veteran member
Mar 28, 2016
3,685
434
Gypsum, Co
Could you post some more pictures of the terrain and landscape?

We are headed that direction over the next couple years and are curious.

I thought of taking some other pictures but they wouldn't do the area justest.

The first area that we were spotting and stalking the deer in was almost what you would call flat, rolling hills and gullies until you got the the larger hills. Then they would rise another thousand feet up. This area contained bowls where we spotted most of the deer.

The area that I got my buck was like a canyon. A dry wash in the bottom with side canyons branching off of it into bowls.

All the areas had areas where you could find a vantage point and then start to glass to spot the deer.

For this type of hunting I highly recommend 15x56 binoculars on the bottom end of power. I had a pair of 10x42 Swaro's and while I could see the deer I had no idea what they had on their heads. Then once the deer are spotted then pull out the spotter to see if they are worth going after.

One thing that I didn't mention was that there is a archery mule deer hunt going on at the same time as this coues deer hunt is. The mule deer stay down low in the grass lands and scrub mesquite so they usually are not a problem but the coues deer is a very spooky deer and things can go bad quite quickly if another hunter should wander into the area and they spot them.
 

Bonecollector

Veteran member
Mar 9, 2014
4,003
396
Ohio
I remember hearing of your prior unfortunate hunt. Congrats on getting it done this year!!
On a really nice buck too!
 

JimP

Veteran member
Mar 28, 2016
3,685
434
Gypsum, Co
I remember hearing of your prior unfortunate hunt. Congrats on getting it done this year!!
On a really nice buck too!

It is a little bit ironic in that this could be the very deer that I missed last year. He was in the same area/drainage and it was a nice buck that I shot AT last year.

But if not there is still a real nice buck in the area.