DeerBuilder.com
First Coues deer hunt
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
BOWNBIRDHNTR 14-Aug-17
BOWNBIRDHNTR 14-Aug-17
AZ~Rich 14-Aug-17
Paul@thefort 14-Aug-17
Charlie Rehor 14-Aug-17
t-roy 14-Aug-17
MathewsMan 15-Aug-17
Scar Finga 15-Aug-17
TEmbry 15-Aug-17
njbuck 15-Aug-17
MathewsMan 15-Aug-17
Brotsky 15-Aug-17
BOWNBIRDHNTR 15-Aug-17
AZ~Rich 15-Aug-17
TEmbry 15-Aug-17
molsonarcher 15-Aug-17
BOWNBIRDHNTR 15-Aug-17
MathewsMan 16-Aug-17
BOWNBIRDHNTR 16-Aug-17
MathewsMan 16-Aug-17
MathewsMan 31-Aug-17
MathewsMan 31-Aug-17
MathewsMan 31-Aug-17
GotBowAz 31-Aug-17
Brotsky 31-Aug-17
MathewsMan 31-Aug-17
gottoohunt 31-Aug-17
t-roy 01-Sep-17
Ward's Outfitters 02-Sep-17
Ward's Outfitters 02-Sep-17
Scar Finga 03-Sep-17
BOWNBIRDHNTR 11-Sep-17
BOWNBIRDHNTR 11-Sep-17
BOWNBIRDHNTR 11-Sep-17
BOWNBIRDHNTR 11-Sep-17
BOWNBIRDHNTR 11-Sep-17
BOWNBIRDHNTR 11-Sep-17
BOWNBIRDHNTR 11-Sep-17
BOWNBIRDHNTR 11-Sep-17
BOWNBIRDHNTR 11-Sep-17
BOWNBIRDHNTR 11-Sep-17
t-roy 11-Sep-17
BOWNBIRDHNTR 12-Sep-17
BOWNBIRDHNTR 12-Sep-17
BOWNBIRDHNTR 12-Sep-17
BOWNBIRDHNTR 12-Sep-17
BOWNBIRDHNTR 12-Sep-17
BOWNBIRDHNTR 12-Sep-17
BOWNBIRDHNTR 12-Sep-17
BOWNBIRDHNTR 12-Sep-17
BOWNBIRDHNTR 12-Sep-17
BOWNBIRDHNTR 12-Sep-17
HerdManager 12-Sep-17
BOWNBIRDHNTR 12-Sep-17
BOWNBIRDHNTR 12-Sep-17
BOWNBIRDHNTR 12-Sep-17
BOWNBIRDHNTR 12-Sep-17
BOWNBIRDHNTR 12-Sep-17
BOWNBIRDHNTR 12-Sep-17
BOWNBIRDHNTR 12-Sep-17
BOWNBIRDHNTR 12-Sep-17
BOWNBIRDHNTR 12-Sep-17
BOWNBIRDHNTR 12-Sep-17
BOWNBIRDHNTR 12-Sep-17
BOWNBIRDHNTR 12-Sep-17
BOWNBIRDHNTR 12-Sep-17
BOWNBIRDHNTR 12-Sep-17
BOWNBIRDHNTR 12-Sep-17
BOWNBIRDHNTR 12-Sep-17
Drop tine 12-Sep-17
Beav 13-Sep-17
Scar Finga 13-Sep-17
BOWNBIRDHNTR 14-Sep-17
Wv hillbilly 17-Sep-17
t-roy 17-Sep-17
Paul@thefort 27-Sep-17
Bowboy 27-Sep-17
From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
14-Aug-17
So I was the fortunate person able to jump on the cancellation coues deer hunt offered by Ward's Outfitters last week. I just lucked out that it was at a time when I could leave my business for a few days and my wife was 100% supportive of me going. It also helped that I went javelina hunting with Ward's in 2005 so I know they are a great outfit and I'm in for a terrific hunt.

I had already been shooting quite a bit and will continue to do so. I shoot 50 yards regularly and am now adding some more distance. I started working out at least 5 days a week over 5 years ago. I actually told the gym owner when I first walked in that someday I want to hunt a mountain lion and the only way that was going to happen was if I got in better shape. I haven't gotten to hunt that lion....yet...but I am confident I can physically handle this coues hunt.

My understanding is this hunt can be both spot & stalk and sitting blinds. I'm excited to try both. Any advice you can share with an Iowa boy that used to cold weather hunting for big, timber whitetails but now heading to (I'm guessing) hot, southern Arizona for the elusive gray ghosts would be appreciated!

I enjoyed reading about so many other hunts here on Bowsite. I will try to share a few posts before I go, will probably have a few questions to ask, and will try to post pictures either along the way or when I return. The hunt is August 31 - September 4.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
14-Aug-17

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Home shooting range
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Home shooting range
Here is a picture of my range at home. Standing on my patio the deer is at 20 yards, blocks at 30 and 40, and the bear and bag targets are at 50 yards. I can easily get to 90+ yards....as long as nobody is sitting on my patio!

From: AZ~Rich
14-Aug-17
For that time Plan for some really "hot" weather. It may even be preferable to be in a blind that's tucked in the shade of the oaks vs hiking/stalking out in that sun. Possible monsoon rains are usual then too, which can add relief but can also make it quite steamy. Hope for dry hot weather since the Coues will be more likely to drink. Steve should know if they are still hitting the tanks regularly or using alternative water sources. We have had a better than avg monsoon season so far and everything is greened up and quite lush out there. Careful where you step. Rattlers love those conditions and are out in AM and PM. Good luck on your hunt!

From: Paul@thefort
14-Aug-17

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Also, unlike mid west WTs that may be 40 plus inch at the back, these Coues bucks only stand around 30-32 inch at the back and might weight, on the hoof, 110 pounds.. And even though they look like "regular" WT deer in size and shape, it is very easy to misjudge the size and distance of the deer and end up shoot over the animal.

14-Aug-17
Do whatever Steven wants to do. You are in good hands! Good luck!

From: t-roy
14-Aug-17
Make sure and take plenty of pics..

Also might want to bring an ankle brace and a spare crutch.....just in case ;-)

From: MathewsMan
15-Aug-17
I'm headed down to meet Steven a week from tomorrow for the 25-29th hunt. Wanted to hunt and meet him for a long time now.

From: Scar Finga
15-Aug-17
Good Luck Gents, it should be a lot of fun!!! Use your range finder, they are deceptive:)

From: TEmbry
15-Aug-17
A friend and I will be down the middle week of January to hunt with Wards. Looking forward to my first guided hunt in a decade, will be a nice change of pace after a long fall season.

From: njbuck
15-Aug-17
I hunted the end of August two summers ago. You guys are in for a good time for sure. Listen to Steven, he knows coues deer as well as anyone. When I was in camp, there were four of us hunting. I sat over mineral the first two days and saw a bunch of does and fawns and did see a mature buck but didn't get a shot opportunity. On the third day I sat over water and only saw one buck, but it was a nice P&Y caliber buck and I shot him. My buddy shot his buck on the 4th day sitting over water as well. The two other hunters who were in camp did some blind sitting as well as trying some spotting and stalking but they did not go home with a buck. Listen to steven though but if it was me, I would make sure I have a book, some food and lots of patience and I would be mentally prepared to sit for a week straight, dawn to dusk. If you do that you will go home with your buck. If you have any other questions or want to talk, feel free to private message me. Good Luck!

From: MathewsMan
15-Aug-17
That's my favorite way to hunt- patience and becoming invisible...

From: Brotsky
15-Aug-17
This is so cool. I wish I could have jumped on this hunt! I will hunt Coues in the next few years! Then on to Sitka Blacktails!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
15-Aug-17
Thanks for all the good input so far guys. Those pics are really getting me fired up Paul!

Rain gear was the one clothing item I was questioning whether or not to bring. During a typical fall in Iowa, if it rains it is also cool to cold. My current gear would be very hot to wear if the temps were much over 50-60 F. Would you suggest having something on hand that is light weight? How bad are these "monsoons"? Any other clothing suggestions for late August/early September?

Troy, I still have the stick I used for a crutch that you found for me... but now that leg has some permanent hardware inside so I should be fine....lol.

From: AZ~Rich
15-Aug-17
I suspect you will be in a blind most of the time and if it rains it should be no problem. The temps can drop 20-30 degrees during a monsoon rain storm and warm up quickly again once the sun emerges. If you decide to bring rain gear you might look into some very light weight Frog togs or similar materials. During Sept elk when rain is more than likely in AZ I just bring the top rolled up in the pack to at least keep my upper 1/2 dry. Things dry out fast in AZ so don't worry too much about getting chilled especially where you will be hunting in the SE corner. You will enjoy the area I'm sure. Yes, patience to hunt in the blind all day is key as mentioned. Spot and stalk for Coues is generally regarded as one of the more difficult things to accomplish in NA but it does happen; sometimes by pure luck. Have a great time down there. Having worked in the FS all throughout the Chiricuaha's, I really love that part of AZ. You should try to visit the Portal/ Cave Creek area if possible and have a beer outside at the Portal general store. Not sure where Steve is hunting you guys though. It also could be in the Dos Cabezos area about 30 miles NW of Portal in the Chiricahua range.

From: TEmbry
15-Aug-17
A friend and I will be down the middle week of January to hunt with Wards. Looking forward to my first guided hunt in a decade, will be a nice change of pace after a long fall season.

From: molsonarcher
15-Aug-17
I will also be down in Mexico in January with Steve. Looking forward to a great hunt and also my first trip for coues.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
15-Aug-17
Thanks for the advice Rich. I think I will pick up something like you mentioned for a top that I can keep in my pack just in case.

MathewsMan, are you flying or driving? My flight will arrive in Tucson around noon on the 30th.

From: MathewsMan
16-Aug-17
I am headed out next Wednesday around 10am after popping into work (as an Exempt Employee I need to show up so that I do not take a whole day off), but I am driving through Moab and down towards Payson on Wednesday, plan on sleeping in my wife's Jeep just before getting on the Reservation, then waking and driving the last 5 hours or so to get in on the afternoon of the 24th. It's only about 14 hours of driving.

If I manage to arrow a buck, I will head back the next morning, otherwise I plan on coming straight though on the 30th. I am not going through Phoenix or Tucson, although one of my best friends is heading up building and operating the water system in Apache Junction and it would be nice to run into him since he has come all the way to Grand Junction to run into me.

My return date is really up to Steven and god. It would be great to shoot a quality buck the first morning and save 3 vacation days, but hunting is really dependent upon presented opportunity and some degree of chance.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
16-Aug-17
Good Luck and safe travels MathewsMan. Please feel free to post any pics or comments about your hunt on this thread if you wish.

From: MathewsMan
16-Aug-17
Thanks- I've had numerous friends hunt with Steven and wanted to do this since about 2008. Can't wait to experience the desert and just having a fun time around Steven and the other hunters. This is the only hunt I am doing myself this year.

From: MathewsMan
31-Aug-17

MathewsMan's embedded Photo
MathewsMan's embedded Photo
I was not disappointed! Steven has excellent knowledge and opportunity.

I was not patient and shot a buck- but had I sat where I put 2 full days in a 3rd day I would have taken the buck in the next post! Gives me a reason to return next year!

From: MathewsMan
31-Aug-17

MathewsMan's embedded Photo
MathewsMan's embedded Photo
This would have been a 18 yard shot if I had not requested to move to a new stand site.

From: MathewsMan
31-Aug-17

MathewsMan's embedded Photo
MathewsMan's embedded Photo

From: GotBowAz
31-Aug-17
Mathewsman, your Coues will eat just fine. IMO it's the best game meat you will ever have. Like you said, maybe next year you get a crack at the big guy. Big congrats on your archery Coues!

From: Brotsky
31-Aug-17
Congrats on your first! I would be tickled pink with ANY Coues buck! That second one is a dandy, but don't let that diminish the buck you got! Enjoy him! Thanks for posting a pic and the outcome of your hunt!

From: MathewsMan
31-Aug-17
I'm sold on Vortex as well- the broadhead Steven put on my arrow shot through him and left a 5" exit gash that put down my buck in a few steps.

From: gottoohunt
31-Aug-17
I can't wait for January and my first hunt for Coues deer with Steven Ward in Mexico. Good luck to all.

Gottoohunt

From: t-roy
01-Sep-17
Good luck Jeff!!!

02-Sep-17
Jeff and I are having a great time. We have 4 hunters in camp and one harvested a great buck yesterday. Jeff made a solid stock on a 110plus buck to within 34 yards and brush made the shot difficult. I will let him tell the story. That day we saw 38 different bucks and will be staking the next two days to get one on the ground. We shall keep you all posted.

02-Sep-17

Ward's Outfitters's embedded Photo
Ward's Outfitters's embedded Photo
Ed with the buck he harvested yesterday

From: Scar Finga
03-Sep-17
Beautiful Buck, Congratulations!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
11-Sep-17

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
20 yards
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
20 yards
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
40 Yards
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
40 Yards
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
4 shots - 60, 70, 80 & 90 yards
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
4 shots - 60, 70, 80 & 90 yards
Well, I'm back home and it's time to share the story of my coues deer hunt...actually I'm in my office. If I don't get done today I will do my best to share it all by tomorrow.

Disclaimer: This is the first full hunt I've ever posted anywhere. I am not a writer nor a photographer. There are some tremendous hunters on Bowsite that are also terrific writers and photographers. Trying put this all together makes me appreciate their effort that much more! All of my photos were taken with my phone and the words are coming from my memory. I did manage to organize most of my photos in order on my phone so hopefully that will help with the story telling.

I posted my range at home earlier. My daily routine was to shoot 4-5 arrows before work each morning at ranges from 20 - 100 yards. In the evening I would shoot how ever many arrow I felt like. Mostly practicing at distances from 50 - 100 yards. By the time I was ready to leave I had great confidence in my shooting.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
11-Sep-17

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Glad they told me not to step out there!
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Glad they told me not to step out there!
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
I was packed and ready to go. I have not flown very much in my life. My last flight was in 2005 .... to hunt Javelinas with Wards! I read about several horror stories with the airlines but everything went very smooth for me. I flew American Airlines. Des Moines, IA to Phoenix to Tucson.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
11-Sep-17

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Camp was the Dream Catcher
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Camp was the Dream Catcher
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Patio area
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Patio area
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Mouse Catcher
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Mouse Catcher
I was picked up by guides Layne and Dave. By total coincidence the other three hunters, Pablo, Mike, & Ed, all arrived within 15 minutes of me. We stopped at Eegee's for a sandwich and it was obvious that all of us would get along very well.

An hour later we arrived at "Camp". The Dream Catcher is a bed and breakfast run by John and Julia. Steven rents rooms there for the hunters and they provided us breakfast and supper every day. I left to hunt every morning at 4:30 am and wouldn't return until after 8:30 pm and every day a hot breakfast and 4 course supper was waiting for me. The hospitality was incredible!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
11-Sep-17

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
I never did try out the robes.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
I never did try out the robes.
Gonna be roughing it here....

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
11-Sep-17

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
50 yard group.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
50 yard group.
After getting our rooms and putting things away the very first thing I did was get my bow set up. There was a target on hand. 20 yards was fine. The furthest I could shoot was 50 yards. This is my 50 yard group. I think the bow handled the flight just fine.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
11-Sep-17
The rest of the afternoon was spent visiting with the hunters and guides and enjoying a cold beer. Afterwards Steven discussed the logistics and strategies for our Coues deer hunts. On the first day I was going spot and stalk with Steven and the others were going to be taken to blinds by Dave and Layne. The meeting was followed with a terrific meal and more conversation. I was in my room by 10pm, checked my gear and in bed by 11. Steven and I would be leaving at 4:30 the next morning.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
11-Sep-17

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Steven and I pulled into a large area of public land at sun up. We climbed up a small hill and began to glass. It didn't take long for Steven to start finding deer....lots of deer. After some time I started to find some myself but it's amazing how well Steven could find deer. In Iowa we seldom look over a half mile away. Where we were sitting we could see for miles....

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
11-Sep-17
It didn't take long for us to find a buck that looked to be in a stalkable position and he was maybe 3/4 mile away. A plan was discussed and I took off while Steven would keep an eye on the buck. While heading up a low spot I encountered another buck....unfortunately he busted when we saw each other and took the other buck with him. Shame on me for thinking, Wow, been coues deer hunting for less than an hour I may be done! Also, shame on me for not taking more pics at this time. I'm truly not used to trying to hunt and take pics at the same time. Kudos to those that do!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
11-Sep-17
We then took off to glass another area. We saw a few deer but nothing we wanted to go after. Steven did spot one laying under a tree a LONG ways away from us. Even with the spotter on the deer I'm not sure I could actually see it. We finally decided it wasn't what we wanted and moved on.

We were then driving a "road" through a valley and just started to head up when Steven saw a buck running up the mountain. He must have been bedded near the bottom and we had kicked him up. Even though the buck was running up a fairly bald face I didn't see him. I kept looking while Steven pointed out some landmarks but I couldn't locate him. The buck then went into some bushes and didn't come out. We sat on him for some time and glassed and decided that he must have bedded again. Steven asked if I wanted to go after him. I said "If you think he's good then absolutely!"

The face of the mountain was pretty bare and some landmarks were easy to see. There was a single tree on the ridge that was at almost the same elevation as the bushes we (Steven) had seen the deer go into. The plan was for me to hike up the right side to a ridge, cross over and stay below the ridgeline and head for the single tree. Once I got to the tree I would ease across the face until I could see the small evergreen below the big bush where Steven had last seen the buck. Then it would be up to me to take some ranges and figure out where I could get to without getting busted.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
11-Sep-17
The stalk started around 12:50. It took me right at an hour to get to the spot where I could see the evergreen and the bushes he had bedded in. I would have never guessed that it would take me that long! At one point I looked at my ridgeline tree and thought to myself "almost there"....I swear 10 minutes later I looked again and still thought "almost there"! Mother nature's idea of covering a mountain with softball and basketball size rocks and then letting the grass grow knee high is a cruel joke to play on this Iowa boy!

Upon getting to my spot I could not see the deer. I ranged the evergreen at 31 yards and a clump of bear grass at 25 yards. The bushes were in the middle and maybe a few yards further back. I knew he was there somewhere.

Ok, here is where those of you reading this tonight I guess are going to hate me.....I have to go home. I have honestly spent about 2 hours pulling this together so far. I really didn't expect it to take this long. But now I have to go home and make my wife supper (she let me leave for a week, it's the least I can do!) Also, she just called me and is in tears. She is out golfing and just hit a goose in the head with a golf ball. She said it knocked him over but now she doesn't see him. I was laughing my a$$ off but she didn't find it nearly as funny. She is done golfing for the night and heading home. Grilled pork chops and MNF await. I will continue tomorrow.

From: t-roy
11-Sep-17
I hope they're Iowa chops! Gotta help the local economy.

Looking forward to the rest, Jeff!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
12-Sep-17

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Grinner behind DVD player.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Grinner behind DVD player.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Izzi the foofoo dog/hunter.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Izzi the foofoo dog/hunter.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Izzi's true personality
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Izzi's true personality
Yes, the chops were from Iowa and they were delicious. I also got to hear the goose story again and my wife even demonstrated how the goose reacted by flopping around on the lawn. I found it way funnier than she did.

Also had a little critter excitement of my own. As soon as I got home I let my dogs out. Izzi, my "Shitteranian" was acting like something was in the garage in the morning and was right back to checking everything that evening. My guess was a opossum...she hates "grinners". Sure enough while I was lighting the grill I heard Izzi start growling near my work bench. After looking in all low nooks and crannies I looked up at my eye level and found the grinner. He had somehow gotten on a shelf and was hiding behind the DVD player.

About then Annette got home...just in time to see me using a set of grill tongs to remove the grinner from behind the DVD player. All she asked was that I please don't use the tongs while grilling her chops. I told her not to worry as they were the tongs I no longer use.

Had the grinner not crapped in my tool box and in front of my door he may have had a better night. Lets just say he wont be back and Izzi thinks she took care of him all by herself.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
12-Sep-17
Back to the hunt....

After standing/leaning on the side of the mountain for a full hour I finally saw a branch on the bushes I'd been staring into move. I then saw an antler. Then it was gone. Yes, after a solid hour of sweating with cramping feet and calves and aching back, I got to see the buck for maybe 3 seconds....but that was long enough for me to confirm he was there and worth waiting for! I was also able to range the exact spot I had seen him. 34 yards. Spot Hogg sight is set and ready.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
12-Sep-17
Another full hour goes by and I start seeing branches move again. The buck then takes a step out of the bushes. Range again. 34 yards. All I can see is his head and neck. It crosses my mind to shoot him in the neck. I know I can make the shot but tell myself not to. Wait for the broadside shot is what I'm telling myself.

The buck is nibbling on a branch. I ease up my binos. I can clearly see his head, neck and part of his shoulder. He turns and stares at me. I stay frozen for what seems like several minutes. The buck finally turns his head back and begins nibbling on the branch again.

I look very closely. I can see his head and neck clearly and a part of his shoulder. He is in a slight depression so I cannot see his legs and his body appears to be hidden in the shadows of the bushes. After much consideration I determine that if I put the arrow a few inches behind the point of the shoulder I will kill this buck. He is looking straight ahead and nibbling on the branch. I draw, anchor, level, pick my spot and squeeze the release....

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
12-Sep-17

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
This is my view prior to deer exposing himself from the bushes. The evergreen is to the far, middle left and the bear grass is to the center on the horizon. The buck is in the bushes just beyond and in between.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
12-Sep-17
The buck explodes out of the back side of the bushes and is heading straight up the mountain. I could only see him for a couple seconds. And he goes over the top. (Steven told me afterwards that the buck stopped a couple times and looked back my direction.) I go to the bushes to look for blood. There is none. I hike up looking for blood and find nothing. Steven then calls me and says there was no blood on the deer and he was trotting up the trail as if nothing had happened. I'm at a loss....

At this point I should be showing you the grinning hunter photo. Instead I'm just going to tell you the plain truth. I messed up. What I found out is that the buck was actually facing me head on, not broadside (Steven could see this in the spotter). When I thought the deer was turning his head to look at me he was actually facing me. I put my arrow exactly where I aimed, the only problem is the deer's body wasn't there. Looking into the shadows I was certain that is where I needed to put my arrow. I was wrong.

Now I've told you exactly how everything went down for me. Steven, looking out for me, just posted on his FB page that my arrow was deflected off a branch. We discussed this and he simply didn't want me getting flamed online for "not being 100% sure of my target". Well I've decided to share it exactly as it went down. I simply didn't see what I thought I was seeing. At the time I was 100% sure of the shot I was taking. I was wrong. Now, if people want to flame me, flame away.

Fortunately I didn't wound this great buck and on day one of my first coues deer hunt I managed to stalk with 34 yards of a legit record book buck. Other than not making the shot I really regret not getting more pics of the spot where the buck was bedded. It looked more like a clump only rabbits could hide in!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
12-Sep-17

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
This is a picture Steven took of me on the stalk. If you look closely you can see me to the mid right, the evergreen is to the mid left and the big bush I used as a landmark is towards the top left. Steven said I was 713 yards and the bush with the buck was 712 yards away from him. He watched the entire thing through his Swarovski's.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
12-Sep-17

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
And here is the buck after my shot. Needless to say I have this picture burned into my memory. Steven took this pic through the spotter.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
12-Sep-17

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Use caution shed hunting with T-roy!
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Use caution shed hunting with T-roy!
After looking for any sign of a hit I returned down to Steven. I think the hike down was worse than the hike up! T-roy may understand better than most why I dislike going down hills so much....I actually fell down twice trying to navigate the hillside of softballs and basketballs hidden in the grass. One time I went down fairly hard and was actually glad I have a steel reinforced ankle!

When I got to the truck I was spitting cotton and very sun burnt. I pounded a couple bottles of water. Steven actually laughed and said "I noticed you didn't have water when you were hiking up the hill. Rookie mistake." That is the one and only time on this hunt I don't think I liked Steven much...lol!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
12-Sep-17

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
It was about 4:30 when I got back to the truck. To end day one we headed to a water tank that had been getting hit pretty regularly. I hiked to the tank and was just going to hide myself in some mesquite while Steven glassed. I actually had a doe come in before I was to the tank. I stood perfectly still on the road to the tank. She paused to look at me, grabbed a long drink then walked away. We were only 40 yards apart.

I had a few more does come in. Some were under 20 yards away. Apparently Predator camo and the right wind are a good combo when hiding in mesquite. Steven said he glassed up a few more bucks that were headed towards the water but they didn't make it before dark.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
12-Sep-17
Side note: I will wear different sock on my next mountain adventure. After getting back to the truck from my long stalk my feet were almost blistered. My Cabelas Meindl boots are great and very broke in but I had on the wrong socks. I wear these socks every day and work out in them as well but they do not perform well for me on long hikes or while running.

From: HerdManager
12-Sep-17
Not to make you feel worse, but that is a STUD coues buck!!!!!!!!!!!!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
12-Sep-17

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
My view for the next two days.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
My view for the next two days.
The next two days I would be going to a blind. I was fine with this and my feet were very happy. I would be hunting "Whitetail" which I believe is also the blind where Mathews Man took his buck. I had also seen video that Steven had posted on FB that showed a couple very nice bucks. I was excited to go there.

What turned out to be the most exciting part about this blind wasn't so much the hunt but the ride to the blind! Layne would be taking Pablo and I to our blinds. We left at 4:30 am in Layne's truck pulling a UTV. After a 45 minute truck ride we unloaded the UTV. 9.9 miles later we were on the other side of the mountain and we dropped off Pablo. A long 14 miles later we were at my blind. The sun was rising. The one comment I remember Layne leaving me with was "We've seen a lot of rattlesnakes in this area." Thanks Layne.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
12-Sep-17

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
HM, trust me I know.....I still can't believe how close I was to him.

My first morning in the blind I had a decent buck at 28 yards. I chose to pass. I also saw a spike buck. More exciting for me was the ride back. Flying along in the UTV we ran over a big rattle snake! We then picked up Pablo and saw a bobcat and a fox. We got back to camp around 9:00. Ed had shot the nice buck pictured earlier. Had a good supper, shower and in bed by 11:00.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
12-Sep-17

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Doe
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Doe
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Spike
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Spike
Day number 3. Alarm at 4 and on the road at 4:30. Back to the blind. Had a doe and a spike come in mid morning. They walked right up and almost introduced themselves. Very pretty little deer.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
12-Sep-17

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
The rest of my day was pretty slow until the ride home. This time we saw another rattle snake and a black bear. Pablo saw a mountain lion from his blind and heard a bear huffing at him when he was walking out.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
12-Sep-17
We got back the 3rd night and found out Mike (TradMike on Bowsite) had just missed a buck. Guess I've also failed to mention that up to this point Pablo had seen several does and a few small bucks but nothing to shoot yet. So by day 3 we were 3/4 for opportunity on good to great bucks but only one kill.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
12-Sep-17

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I'm not going up there for a 2 pt Steven.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
I'm not going up there for a 2 pt Steven.
Day 4 I am back to spot and stalk. This time Pablo is joining us and we have both Steven and Layne glassing. We are back on the mountain glassing the huge flats below us. We are all spotting deer. 3 bucks were spotted and watched for a long time. 2 were shooters for sure. We watched them from a long ways away for a long time. Several times we thought they were about to bed and the stalk would be on only to have them move again. Finally they worked into a canyon and were gone for good. A couple other deer were spotted but not what or where we wanted.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
12-Sep-17

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Blind view to lick.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Blind view to lick.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Steven's selfie shot
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Steven's selfie shot
Next we decide to split up. Layne and Pablo are going to look at a water hole and set up a natural blind. Steven and I are going to head to the middle of the giant flat we had been glassing. Every time we glassed it we were seeing deer go to an area in the middle. They would hang out and feed there. We decided to go investigate.

After some time spent in the truck on Google Earth and a long hike through a few canyons and prickly pear patches (loaded with bear crap) we found the spot. Deer had been going to a natural mineral lick out in the middle of no where. There were a couple small mesquites 30 yards from the lick. With a little modification we had a make shift blind.....and a long wait as it was only 11:30.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
12-Sep-17

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Time to relax a bit.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Time to relax a bit.
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Doe at the lick.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Doe at the lick.
It was decided that I would sit until dark and Steven would leave. He would come back around 4 and start to glass. I had a radio so Steven could move me if need be. Originally he said to just walk to the headlights after dark but after he got back to the truck he thought I should take the dirt road out to the highway. Would be a longer walk but probably safer and quicker.

About 5 pm the first doe arrived followed by two spikes and then another doe. After spending several minutes at the lick the two spikes came to say Hello. I didn't dare move or take a pic but they were within 3 yards of me! Later another doe came in and a nice 2 pt fed close by until dark. I believe I could have taken him but chose not to move. Steven later said there was a very nice buck working his way towards the lick but he didn't get there in time.

Now things got interesting again....Simple hike out on the dirt road right? Well I could see the headlights and Steven could see my light but as I followed the road I started veering away from truck. Soon Steven called and asked if I was still on road. I was so we figured it must curve back. Next thing I know I'm at a gate that says Private Property. Time to switch directions back towards the headlights. I ended up crossing 4 canyons and had one very brief encounter with a rattle snake! I think I screamed like a little girl and I know I jumped at least 6 feet to the side. An hour and 20 minutes later I was at the truck.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
12-Sep-17

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Due to the fact it was late and we were a long ways from the Dream Catcher Steven put us up in a hotel in Willcox and bought us supper. This would allow us to get a bit more rest and be on the mountain glassing at first light the next day.

Earlier in the day Steven texted me a picture of a caterpillar with a warning that they had venomous quills. When I got to the hotel I brushed one off my neck. Fortunately he didn't get me!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
12-Sep-17

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Sunrise on the mountain.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Sunrise on the mountain.
Day 5. Steven and Layne are glassing. I hike several hundred yards up to a point where we have seen several deer and Pablo stays down low. Three bucks are spotted and Pablo begins a stalk. The bucks bust and are headed my way. Two decent bucks and one very nice buck come my way but get my wind. They cut to my left. I have one buck in the open, broadside at 62 yards. The bigger buck is closer but behind a mesquite. I quickly crawled forward to clear the mesquite. I range him at 50 yards. Right as I begin to draw them smaller buck takes off and big one follows. No shot.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
12-Sep-17

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Full moon as I packed up my last day.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Full moon as I packed up my last day.
Mid day we regroup and go glass some new areas but the plan is made to come back to this area for the last evening hunt. We have cameras on a few water tanks that are showing some nice bucks and there's that mineral lick that I sat the night before.

This is probably the hottest day we've had so far. Nothing is moving. Between the very long hike to the lick and the heat, Steven and I agree that water is probably the best bet. I will go to a tank that had a nice buck show up right at last light the night before and Pablo will go to the tank I went to my first day.

I had a perfect wind and made myself a nice little blind tucked into an evergreen about 38 yards from the tank. In the last hour I had 3 does come in to get a drink but no buck. That would be the end of my first Coues deer hunt.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
12-Sep-17

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Pablo's last minute buck
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Pablo's last minute buck
Pablo on the other hand had a terrific ending to his last day. With 5 minutes left he had 5 bucks come into the water and he made a perfect 50 yard heart shot while Layne watched everything through his spotter!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
12-Sep-17
As far as the story goes, I know it's rather anti climatic. My most eventful day was definitely the first day and I have the image of that buck forever burned into my mind. The entire hunt was still an incredible experience and I would highly recommend Ward's Outfitting! These guys are very terrific hunters and will do everything they can to help you succeed. As a group we ended up 2 for 4 and everyone had opportunities.

Coues deer were not high on my list prior to this hunt. Now I can definitely say I want a nice Coues buck on my wall. I will be back to chase the Gray Ghost some day.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
12-Sep-17

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Javelina in the grass.
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Javelina in the grass.
Thanks for following along on this hunt and sorry I made it so long. I'll post just a few more pics from the hunt.

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
12-Sep-17

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Trying a new camera angle!
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Trying a new camera angle!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
12-Sep-17

BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
BOWNBIRDHNTR's embedded Photo
Headed home. Still sure I don't want to step out there!

From: Drop tine
12-Sep-17
Great story and pics, thanks for sharing. Hunting with Ward's is definitely on my must-do list.

From: Beav
13-Sep-17
Great job of sharing the hunt. Good luck on your next hunt!

From: Scar Finga
13-Sep-17
Great adventure and story, sounds like everyone had a great time!

Thank you for sharing, and I loved the pictures!

From: BOWNBIRDHNTR
14-Sep-17
Thanks for positive feedback guys. It truly was an awesome experience.

17-Sep-17
Great story! Even without a kill I'm sure you made some great memories. Congrats on your trip and best of luck on your next one. Your right it takes almost as much effort to write the story as the hunt. Thanks for posting!

From: t-roy
17-Sep-17
Great story Jeff! It would be nice to have that shot back.

We'll have to give the shed hunting another go. We'll stay up on the flats this time ;-)

From: Paul@thefort
27-Sep-17
Jeff, excellent story with pics Enjoyed it a lot. Yes the Gray Ghost can get under your skin . Nice job and story. Paul

From: Bowboy
27-Sep-17
Great pictures and story thanks for sharing.

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