Desert Bull Scouting and Map Services
The Three Coues Deer Firearms Seasons
The first firearms season for Coues deer starts in October. I still find that the deer prefer the cool canyon bottoms during this season. It is often still warm during late October and watching a water hole can be productive.
The down side to the October season is that (1) the hunts are short and (2) there are many hunters in the field. The advantage to this season is that, if you have done your scouting, the deer follow a more predictable pattern.
One of the most important things you can do to help yourself to succeed is to be in position BEFORE daylight and to keep hunting until legal shooting time has passed. This goes for all seasons, not just the early ones.
When it is warm, the bucks will bed down early. This doesnít mean you have to stop hunting. Glassing up a bedded buck is not easy, but is not impossible either.
As the sun moves in the sky, deer will often change their beds to stay in the shade. They will sometimes even feed a little before laying back down. Keep alert and you just might catch a buck moving around at mid day.
Here is another good tip for the early season. Try and determine the most popular hunting spots in your unit. These are places where there are good roads, easily accessible trailheads, campgrounds etc. Then, look for the meanest, nastiest, most remote canyon that you can find.
The day before the opening of the October season, you hike in and set up camp between the roads and the remote area. On opening day, when the army of hunters drive in, load their guns, and start marching around every ridge and draw, you will be in a great place to intercept a fleeing buck.
After being pursued by archery hunters and firearms hunters for almost two months, these already nervous and shy deer become even tougher to hunt in November.
The November season does have some things going for it however. Two weeks are given to the November hunting season and the temperatures should be falling off, allowing the deer to be more active during daylight hours.
One of the keys to this season is to be willing to get away from the roads and into the isolated areas where the deer get concentrated when pressured.
Get out your maps and find a rugged canyon with water nearby that has no roads within 1-2 miles and you have a good place to start your scouting.
A good time to do your scouting for the November hunts is during the October hunting season. You donít want to plan your whole hunting trip around one area, only to find out on opening day that there were twenty hunters in there the week before.
Always try to have a back up spot to hunt in case there is unexpected company in your prime area.
In Arizona, the deer rut starts heating up in mid December, which is also the start of the late season.
This is the season that most hunters want to hunt, and therefore the tags are getting hard to draw.
During the rut, the bucks will range far and wide searching for does. During your scouting, it is important to find several good concentrations of does.
As the rut nears, keep going back to these areas and look for the bucks. Sooner or later they will show up.
Unlike Mule Deer, which will some times gather several does and try to fend off intruding bucks. The Coues bucks will find a single doe that they sense is getting close to estrus, and follow her like a bird dog.
They will battle other bucks that try to cut in on the action. Rattling horns can be effective in calling in a buck. They don't often come charging in like an eastern whitetail might. They will circle downwind before committing themselves.
You would be well advised to hunt all day long when the rut is in full swing. If you are lucky, your hunt will fall over a period of the "New" moon and temperatures will be cold and the sky clear, although a good snowfall will generally keep deer very active.