By Larry Weishuhn
Office time, recording my weekly “DSC’s Untamed Heritage” podcast and awaiting a call from Luke Clayton to record our weekly “Campfire Talk” radio show segment. Glance to my left and looked at two Coues whitetail mounts. Compared to the near 30-inch wide Iowa whitetail hanging above them, the Coues mounts look small. Eve so, one is a near Boone & Crockett 15-inch outside spread 8-point, the other a velvet-horned 7-point “cactus buck”, both big and unique for the subspecies.
The 8-point is my first Coues (properly pronounced “kauz”, but also called “koos”). I grew up reading Jack O’Connor in Outdoor Life. O’Connor regularly wrote about hunting Coues in his native Arizona and Sonora. H admiringly called them the “smartest game animal in North America”.
I dreamed of hunting Coues long before being able to do so. As part of the Bass Pro’s RedHead ProHunting Team years ago, I was finally able to do so in Sonora, Mexico with Alcampo.
Hunting Coues reminded me of times spent as a wildlife biologist on Texas’ Black Gap Wildlife Management Area assisting the desert bighorn sheep project…glassing for many hours.
To access distant higher mountains which Coues love, we rode horses to vantage points, glassed until we found mature bucks then tried to stalk them. Coues tend to blend in with their background, one of the reasons they are known as “the gray ghost of the deserts”. On occasion I have crawled high and looked down on desert bighorns while hunting Coues.
My first Coues came toward the end of the hunt, high in the mountains, chasing a doe. I was thrilled! After dreaming about hunting and taking a Coues deer I had finally done so.
There have been more Coues, including one that ranks high in Boone & Crockett’s record book non-typical category, but that first one will always be special.
About time for me to again hunt one of my favorites animals in North America…