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This Week's Feature


First Arizona Coues Deer

By Benjamine Packard - WCH Rifleman Member

Hunting the Chiracahua Mountain Range for white tail Coues deer seems to be a daunting enterprise. It's an arid, high desert range 40 miles north of the Arizona/Mexico border and 10 miles west of New Mexico. With Border Patrol agents everywhere and signs saying, "Caution, illegal drug and human smuggling may be encountered in this area," we were slightly apprehensive but willing, if not wary. We kept our rifles and side arms loaded and close at all times.

I hunted with two friends, Tom and Joe, for what would be the first deer hunt for all of us. We had applied for deer tags before, but had never been drawn. We decided to apply for leftover buck tags in a unit that had better odds of getting a tag. Luck was with us and we were all drawn.

I brought my Ruger M77 Mark II in .30-06 loaded with 150 grain Hornady V-Max cartridges. Tom and Joe both carried Savages in .300 WSM, using Nosler’s Trophy Grade 180 grain bullets.

Our plan was to gain the high country and do a lot of glassing, since the landscape is very open in the southern part of the unit where we were to hunt. In the mornings, we would wake before dawn and hike to the tops of canyons, overlooking the numerous stock tanks in the area. We hoped to be able to spot our quarry from a distance and make a move for a shot at about the 200-300 yard range. The wide open country made for easy spotting of game, but added to the difficulty, because if we could see them with our naked eyes they could definitely see us. The hunt was on!

Over the next five days we hunted hard, but didn’t see any deer. We awoke before the sun each morning to get into position by first light. The mornings were very cold, for Arizona, so we would bundle up until the exertion made us sweat then we’d ditch layers. We soon came to the conclusion that the right clothes for the right time and place make a huge difference and were glad we came prepared.