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John's Journal... Entry 121, Day 1


Acquainting Yourself With the Area Where You Hunt Coues Deer

EDITOR'S NOTE: Chris Denham of Chandler, Arizona, has lived in Arizona for 38 years and started hunting seriously in Arizona when he was about 14. Denham, an outfitter and expert hunter, took his first Coues deer when only 16-years old. A colonel, Elliott Coues, back in the 1800s, first discovered the Coues deer, and the deer were named after him. This week we'll take a trip with Denham to the mountains of Arizona to hunt Coues deer.

QUESTION: Tell us about the mountains where we're hunting.
ANSWER: We're hunting in the Winchester Mountains, in southeast Arizona just outside the Cochise County line. The elevation in this area runs anywhere from 5,000 to about 7,000 feet. The land homes mostly cedar and a few pinon trees but also has some ponderosa pines at the very top. Too, you'll see an abundance of mesquite and thorn bushes locally known as cat claw in the lower country.

QUESTION: Tell me about the history of these Winchester Mountains -- where Cochise and Geronimo once lived.
ANSWER: Both of these Apache Indian chiefs lived in this region, and Cochise County is named after Chief Cochise. Geronimo surrendered here, but no one's sure what happened to Cochise.

QUESTION: Tell me how the Coues deer differs from the white-tailed deer we hunt back East.
ANSWER: The Coues, a subspecies of white-tailed deer, has a much smaller body than other white-tailed deer. When the Coues is a mature buck, he only will be in the 90- to 110-pound range with the Boone & Crockett score 110 inches minimum on the bucks. These smaller whitetails appear to have much larger tails than whitetails in the East. Their tails are probably the same size as that of eastern bucks. However, on a Coues deer's smaller body, the tail looks huge. Hunters call a Coues deer's tail a fantail because the big-looking tail fans out. These mountain deer have gray-colored bodies and always seem to prefer traveling and living on the steeper slopes.

QUESTION: Would you compare Coues deer hunting to goat hunting?
ANSWER: Yes, Coues deer hunting is very similar to hunting goats and sheep. Many hunters refer to a Coues deer hunt as "the poor man's sheep hunt." You'll spend a lot of time glassing; you must be prepared to climb very steep terrain composed of loose rocks where the air is thinner than in most sections of the East and your footing won't be very sure; you can expect to take shots of 150 yards or more; and you'll wear a 30- 50-pound pack on your back all day, every day. Too, you'll quickly learn how good the Coues deer's nose and eyesight are. The Coues deer also hears very well. I believe the Coues deer is one of the most-elusive and most-difficult of all the whitetails to hunt.

To learn more about Coues deer hunting, you can contact Chris Denham at 1814 West Oriole Way, Chandler, AZ 85248, (480) 857-3057, or email him at c.denham@prodigy.net.





Check back each day this week for more about Hunting Coues Deer...

Day 1 - Acquainting Yourself With the Area Where You Hunt Coues Deer
Day 2 - The Equipment You Need to Hunt Coues Deer
Day 3 - How the Hunt for the Coues Deer Usually Progresses
Day 4 - Another Way to Hunt Coues Deer
Day 5 - Denham's Toughest Coues Hunt and General Information about Applying to Hunt Coues Deer

John's Journal