Sonora, Mexico Coues Deer
Several years ago I needed a Coues deer to complete my deer slam, which consists of five species: Whitetail deer, Mule deer, Sitka Blacktail deer, Columbia Blacktail deer and the Coues deer. A friend of mine introduced me to fellow bowhunter Frank Noska from Wasilla, Alaska, who had recently began guiding for Coues deer in Sonora, Mexico. Frank is a super slammer and accomplished bowhunter, so I felt this was the place to go. I've bow hunted trophy Whitetail deer for many years all over Mexico, so I knew I would feel right at home on this trip.
Luckily Frank had a spot open for me, so I quickly paid my deposit and locked in my hunting dates. This would be a six-day hunt and take place in the month of January. All I had left to do was purchase my airline tickets to Hermosillo, Mexico and wait nine months for the date of my Coues deer hunt to arrive. Throughout the years many people have said how difficult Coues deer hunting can be, especially if the weather doesn't cooperate. Like many hunts, water is used as an attractant, and if it rains just before your hunt or even worse, during your hunt, this could be disastrous. As my hunt approached, I closely monitored the weather hoping for hot days and no rain. My wish was granted, and the weather was perfect with blue skies, 30-degree mornings and 85-degree days.
Mexico, Here I Come
Early on a Saturday morning the last week of January 2010, I drove to the airport to begin my day of travel. The first stop was Phoenix, Arizona then after a short layover I was on my way to Hermosillo, Mexico. Upon arrival in Mexico, we had ceviche for lunch in a Mexican restaurant. Ceviche consists of fresh octopus, shrimp, fish, scallops, onions and cilantro and is prepared by doing nothing more than squeezing lime juice over it. What a delicious meal! Next, would be a 2 ½ hour drive to the ranch located about 50 miles from the Pacific Ocean.
We arrived right before dark with just enough daylight left to get our hunting gear unloaded from the truck and things set up for a morning hunt. Frank had pictures to share with us of Coues deer taken by hunters in the previous weeks. Frank also had a couple of Coues deer antlers to show us that he had taken. If just being there wasn't exciting enough, the pictures and antlers surely did the trick. After dinner and catching up with a few hunting stories we headed to bed since 5 AM comes early.
Hunt Day One
The next morning consisted of coffee, fresh fruit, eggs, bacon and making lunch since we would be in the blinds all day. There were three hunters in camp: myself, Frank, and a friend of his from Wasilla, Alaska. After grabbing our bows and backpacks, we loaded in the truck then drove to the blinds where we were dropped off for the day’s hunt.
It didn't take long before I saw my first Coues deer when a couple of does came into the water for a drink. A small eight point was my next visitor. Later that morning in the distance I saw a good buck chasing a doe. This time of year Coues deer are in the peak of the rut. During the middle of the day, four more does came in. Early in the morning when temperatures were 35 degrees I was warmly dressed. But as the afternoon sun began to heat up the blind I stripped down to my shirt and shorts.
As the sun began to sink lower in the sky, I saw a buck appear on the far side of the tank dam. I could tell immediately he was a deer that I wanted. After making sure things were safe he walked towards my blind and down to the water, giving me a 20-yard shot. The water is a dangerous place for a Coues deer, so they don't stay long due to predators searching for an easy meal. As the buck took one more look around, I used my range finder to determine how far he was from me. Then he lowered his head to drink as I came to full draw. I took aim and let my arrow fly. Instantly the deer fell to the ground and quickly expired. After a short time, I exited the blind and walked over to put my hands on my trophy P & Y Coues deer.
Hunter and Hunted
While standing there admiring my accomplishment, I had a strange feeling something or someone was watching me. I quickly looked up and to my amazement about 30 yards away under a tree was a mountain lion staring me down. I can only assume it wanted my Coues deer, but I was not about to give it up. Slowly I reached for my bow, removed an arrow from my quiver and nocked it. The lion quickly moved away, walked right behind my blind and vanished into the brush never to be seen again. I waited by my deer until well after dark when Frank arrived to pick me up and return to camp. The next morning we took pictures and over the next five days I helped with chores around camp and hunted javelina. Although I saw a few javelina, the mountain lion never showed itself again.
As the hunt concluded, I made the 2 1/2 hour drive to Hermosillo, went through customs in Phoenix, then home to Houston. Since my first trip to Mexico for Coues deer, I have continued to go every year for the last six years, enjoying each trip as much as the first. This relaxing, simple way of life, great friends, awesome food and hunting keep me coming back year after year. The ranches we hunt with their abundance of P & Y Coues deer also help to make this trip a huge success as I have been fortunate enough to harvest many nice bucks. In my opinion, this is one of the finest places available to hunt Coues deer.