The leaves are starting to change, air is beginning to cool, and deer are on the brain. It’s officially Fall, and more particularly, coues deer season is knocking on the door. Here in Arizona, our rifle coues deer seasons start up at the end of October. It’s a beautiful time to be out in the hills and one that we look forward to every year. Bucks are now hard horned, but are still bachelored up, as well as patternable. This provides a great opportunity to wrap your tag around a dandy. October coues hunts aren’t all peaches and roses though and do come with their fair share of difficulty. So, in light of the coming coues fest, we’ve laid out some tips to throw in your toolkit, should you be so fortunate to have one of these tags.
Glass All Day for Coues Deer
Deer hunting, and hunting in general really, is usually pinned to an early morning/evening event. Most hunters are going to head out first thing, move back to camp for the day, and then cruise back out for an evening hunt. While this strategy lines up with deer being crepuscular(active in twilight), it limits one’s hunting to only a few hours here and there each day. Just because deer are most active early and late, doesn’t mean that someone willing to look won’t find them otherwise. By spending all day behind the glass, you’ll up your odds significantly for spotting deer.
A spotting scope or high powered binoculars like the Vortex Razor UHD 18×56 Binoculars can be a huge help when you are looking for the “Grey Ghost.” If you don’t have your own glass you can always rent a pair from us.
On top of being out and looking all day, you’ll also be out when the hills are quiet. Deer know this and will oftentimes come out for a midday snack or drink. With most of the hunting crowd being out first and last light, it leaves quite a few hours in the day when one could hear a pin drop. Take advantage of this and stay in the field.
Move With the Sun
Staying in the field all day glassing for bucks needs to be done with some forethought. In order to up the odds even more in your favor, not only is it important to be glassing all day, but where you’re glassing should be equally on your radar. It all has to do with how deer move through a landscape throughout the day. They’ll feed in the morning, bed throughout the day, and then feed again in the evening. This means that you want to be looking at feeding areas first, then bedding, and back to feeding. An easy way to do this is to move with the sun.
Put the sun at your back in the a.m. to look at feeding areas. By doing this, you’ll be looking at the sunny hillsides first. From there, you’ll want to be looking into shade pockets where deer will bed to retreat from the sun. That will either put the sun off to your side or out in front of you. At the tail end of the day, you’ll want to be looking into the sun. By doing so, you’ll be looking at shady hillsides that deer will come out to feed on after bedding all day. Of course there are exceptions to every situation. Moving with the sun is a great starting point though and will absolutely put deer in your glass and, with any luck, your cooler.
Bucks are Patternable
I mentioned earlier that bucks are still bachelored up. It’s a gentlemen’s club and these gentlemen are usually like clockwork in their actions throughout the day. Because of this, bucks can actually be patterned this time of year, giving a massive advantage in the hunter’s favor. Pre-season scouting can really go a long way if someone has the time to do so. If you find a group of bucks before season, chances are that buck is going to be right in the same area come late October. Spending the time to find a few different groups of bucks to work will increase your odds of success even more. It’ll give you “back up bucks” to hunt, should your plan A spot get blown out for some reason.
There are some really great coues bucks that get tagged this time of year, and most of it is due to hunters getting their boots dirty ahead of time to find where the giants are residing. If for some reason a hunter can’t get out and scout though, all is not lost. Should they find a buck during their hunt, but can’t get a shot right off the bat, dollars to donuts says that buck will be there the same time the next day. This offers a great opportunity to set up and ambush from a far. He’s gonna be there!
October coues deer hunts are such a nice welcome after the long summer. The days can still get hot, but the nights are usually beautiful. It’s a great opportunity to get out, cut loose, and enjoy some quality time with friends and family. All the while, you’ll get to be in the field glassing for these wily little bucks. With any luck, you’ll get to wrap your hands around our famed “gray ghost” and try some of the best game meat that walks this earth. Coues deer meat is hard to beat. They may be small, but they sure are tasty. Stay hydrated, stay persistent, be respectful of other hunters, and best of luck out there. Coues deer season is here!
If you need anything for your upcoming coues deer hunt, be sure to stop by Ross Outdoors and we’ll get you taken care of!
Written by Josh Kirchner of Dialed in Hunter