Is Coues DIY For You?
Dennis Howell—New Archery Nation Field Staff | Colorado
Dennis Howell with a beautiful Coues buck taken with the Hellrazor broadhead.
I talked to four people today that did not even know what a Coues deer was. I can tell you they are the toughest deer to kill with a bow in North America and maybe the world.
I have never hunted the world, heck I have never even had a guided hunt in my life. The one thing that you need to know about me is I hunt only DIY on public land and some private land if I am invited or can pay a reasonable trespass fee. This is what I talk about at my seminars around the country. I also talk about calling elk and other animals.
This hunt started this fall when I drew a coues deer only tag in New Mexico. Coues deer only live in southern New Mexico, Arizona and Mexico. They are a whitetail deer that are very small. They remind me of the Texas hill country deer. They are a very pretty petit deer and they eat very good. I had harvested an AZ Coues deer a couple of years ago. He was a small one that barley missed P&Y but I was very proud of him. It took me three years of hunting to get one. I learned a lot about these little deer during those hunts though. The neat thing is they rut in January and the weather is usually warmer on the border than at home in Colorado. I get reminded of that every time I call home too!
I was very happy to have drawn this great tag and I went down a few days early to scout. There was a full moon when I got there and I knew it was going to affect the deer for sure. Coues deer move from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.—at least that is what I have witnessed—and the guys that hunt them a lot say the same thing. You hunt these deer two ways—glassing the open country or sitting in a treestand over a scrape. I have tried both. I found three scrapes during my scouting time. These scrapes are about the size of a football and they always have a licking branch that is about knee high. I usually see a rub close-by also. This country had a big snow storm and had dumped a foot of snow about 5 days before I got there. The snow was helpful to see the deer sign in. I found trails that you likely would have not even known they were there if not for the snow.
Well, the season started New Year's Day and I was in bed early that eve while everyone else celebrated the new year of 2010. I was in my stand early and I did not see a thing till 10.30—when I saw movement up the snow covered mountain. Then I saw the little gray body and I knew it was a Coues deer. I kept glassing and then I could see a horn. I had just rattled and grunted so I was not sure if he was coming to the calls, or just trailing a hot doe track. He stopped and I could see he was a mature deer with only a spike and a small knot on the other side. I did not even get my new Maxxis 35 off the bow hanger. I Coues grunted again and he came on down and went by me at 14 yards. I thought, “that was great ... and now I want big boy to show up”. I sat all day and never saw another deer. I decided to sit another scrape I had found in another remote canyon. I sat it for two days and never saw a deer.
I decided to make a move and go glass deer in the lower country out of the deep snow. I sat my spotting scope up on the hillside and glassed for two hours and never could see a deer. So I decided to go deeper off of the main trails and look at some new hills. I got to a new area and walked up to this ridgetop and sat up my tripod and started glassing again. I finally saw a flash of gray and white. I thought it might be a coyote. Then I got a good look and my heart started racing. It was a monster buck with his head down checking his scrape line. I took off and got ahead of him. I moved in to the end of the ridge he was on then I saw him still moving with his head down. I moved in closer and got ready and made a grunt and tending grunt and his head came up and looked my way. I was ready with my Maxxis 35 in hand—Easton Axis arrow tipped with a HellRazor 125—ready to do its job. The buck was coming with intent to whoop this intruder that was on his scrape line. I had ranged a tree that I thought he would come close to. He stepped out and I grunted with my mouth and he stopped perfect. I was at full draw and I focused and picked my spot. The shot was 40 yards. I squeezed off my release and I hit him perfect. He went right down. I looked up to the heavens and said “Thanks”. I walked up to this buck and he was bigger than I ever could have imagined. I also could not believe the hole the HellRazor made.
So come out West sometime and hunt D.I.Y. public land—see what you can get.