Finally Shot a Big Buck!


November 7, 2013, 11:57 PM
This year has been great. I was able to put my wife on her first deer during a muzzleloader hunt and not only was that a great experience but that buck may be the tastiest deer I've ever eaten .

The next weekend found me and a friend I met in grad school on a hunt I've been trying to draw for a few years. It's a unit where I don't see many deer in but when I do they are usually mature bucks. I knew it would be a tough hunt, the areas I'd been in offer virtually no glassing opportunities and is all still hunting thick stuff. We hunted the first two days without seeing a single deer, a decent number of tracks but not an abundance of obvious buck sign and it's hard hunting. Steep, heavily wooded canyons with lots of crunchy pine needles and oak leaves to step on. I like to walk old logging roads because they are quieter. We were able to sneak up on a few elk and coyotes, but no deer.

On day 3 we got up early for some new country on a recommendation from a friend. I misjudged how long it took to get there so it got light on us and going 60mph down the highway I saw some deer. I flipped around and we got out and glassed them and there were 5 deer. I could see 4 of their heads and they were all yearling bucks. My friend was looking and said "the first two are spikes. Oh, there's a bigger one." I hear his safety click off and I'm trying to see the last deer's head to see if it was a bigger one when he shot. 4 deer ran off and one lay dead. The one he shot is a fork horn, looks to be delicious. We hung and skinned it and broke down camp. Took it to the house and let it cool in the fridge awhile, then he left for the valley. He clarified later, by bigger he meant "not a spike.":D I'm no trophy guide (obviously) but I am happy to say I have now put this guy on his first bull elk, his first coyote and his first buck and he's clobbered every one of them.

The next morning my little brother met me and we headed out to the new spot to check it out. We had never been out to that area so as the sun came up we would pull over and take short hikes and glass and check out the terrain and look for sign. Didn't see much deer sign but lots of elk sign and saw a few small bulls. Around 930am we were in between spots, looking for an old road to walk because we'd found some thick/steep canyons when I saw a deer standing in the trees. I thought I glimpsed antler tips but wasn't sure and my brother stopped with an tree branch blocking my view. He gets on the binoculars and says "it's a buck, get out and shoot it." As I got out I asked him how big it was. He could only see one side and said "it's a 3 point." I still couldn't clearly see his antlers, it was facing me and peering under a branch. I could just see his body and antler stumps on his head thru the scope. I centered it on his chest, fired, and he went down. After he crumpled, my brother said "dude, you just shot a BIG buck." We got over there and I couldn't believe what I had. Coues deer antlers aren't that big compared to muleys so when I couldn't see antlers sticking over the tree branch I assumed it was a small buck. I did notice while aiming that he looked pretty stout and his face looked older than what I'm used to shooting at but I wanted to get hime so i didn't pay it any mind. I'm a meat hunter and generally shoot the first little buck I come across. Anyway, I got over there and was met with this:

I really shouldn't complain but I so much wish I would have glassed this buck up and pulled a sneak, or jumped him in a canyon, or caught him feeding along while still hunting a thick canyon, or even made a good shot on him at 500 yards. I hate that I got him driving between spots, in an area I've never been, and I had no idea how big he was until I got to him. BUT, I have put my time in on foot over the years and only once seen an animal of this class during deer season and I did not get that buck. I've seen them before a hunt only to have them disappear or get shot by someone else, but it was finally my turn. This is my 18th year of hunting big game and I've been dreaming of a buck this nice for longer than that. I sure hope it doesn't take me another 18 years to shoot another one but it was worth the wait. I've never needed to drag a tape out on a buck before but I did my first attempt tonight. I got 101 1/8 gross, 90 1/2 net Boone and Crockett. It doesn't even matter though what he scores, he's the first big set of horns I'll get to hang on the wall. I got to share it with my little brother who I never get to see and I realize now we didn't get a picture of the two of us. Guess we'll have to fix that when I get him back from the taxidermy man.

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November 8, 2013, 12:49 AM
Congrats on a nice deer. I always enjoy reading about game taken here in AZ.

November 8, 2013, 01:05 AM
For a coues deer that is a stud congrats.

November 8, 2013, 02:20 AM
I don't know much about coues deer, but that big buck looks like a beauty. And all of 'em look delicious.

November 8, 2013, 08:17 AM
Nice buck! Whatd it score?

November 8, 2013, 09:25 AM
That's a very nice Coues. Congratulations!

I hope your taxidermy man is a miracle worker. That neck is not going to look good after mounting. Did you cut his throat?

November 8, 2013, 09:33 AM
I hope your taxidermy man is a miracle worker. That neck is not going to look good after mounting. Did you cut his throat?

Yeah, I'm a retard. I'm not used to shooting big bucks and I was going to do a euro mount with any decent buck anyway. He's a bit nicer than what I was expecting though. As soon as I cut it though I was kicking myself. I'm still not sure what I'm going to do but I'm leaning shoulder mount. Most people think a shoulder mount is more impressive but I honestly like a Euro mount just as much. The taxidermist I talked to said they may be able to fix it but if not getting another cape is not a problem. The sad part is I didn't need to cut him, he was done. Just wanted to get him stopped completely so I could hold his antlers. He bled out internally, I didn't even get good blood with the cut.

What'd it score?

I got 101 3/8 gross, 90 1/2 net B&C. My first time though, so I'd like to have it double checked by someone.

November 8, 2013, 10:48 AM
I prefer the euro mount as well. My first kill was in the 150s (13 pt). Just beginners luck. When I took him for processing, EVERYONE gave me grief about not going full mount. But I just like the euro more. I am very happy with it.

November 8, 2013, 11:02 AM
Congrats to you both, very tasty game indeed.

Bwana John
November 8, 2013, 11:53 AM
Meat in the Pot!

Arkansas Paul
November 8, 2013, 12:19 PM
Congrats. Great mass on that thing.

November 8, 2013, 12:25 PM
Yeah he has great mass. We have some nice Coues sheds that's we've picked up and he is around twice as massive. He's also nice and wide, 15.5" inside and 17.5" main beams. Too bad his tines are so short but the mass makes up for it. I love a heavy antler.

I'm heading to the taxidermist later. I'm leaning shoulder mount although I honestly believe I'd like a Euro mount just as much or better for a fifth the cost. 90% of the people who come over though will find him more impressive as a shoulder mount. I'm not sure I can handle the incessant "why didn't you mount that buck!?" And if ever I was going to mount one, this would be the time.

November 8, 2013, 12:33 PM
The taxidermist I talked to said they may be able to fix it but if not getting another cape is not a problem.

I have seen repairs to the neck area from taxidermists who were considered "masters". It's like someone who asks, "when did you have your appendix out?" The scar is noticeable to everyone who can see it. It's the same with a mount.

Opt for the new cape. You'll be happier in the long run.

Arkansas Paul
November 8, 2013, 12:53 PM
^ I don't know.
If the scar is noticeable you can always say at the end of your story, "Then I got excited, didn't think and cut his throat." lol
No worries man. It just adds to it.

November 8, 2013, 01:50 PM
Or, you can come up with some fantastic story about how you were just walking along, minding your own business when this deer jumped out of the bushes and attacked you - so you had to defend yourself - and the only thing you had on you at the time was a Leatherman and a deer tag - so, you wrestled the attacking buck to the ground and slit it's throat with the Leatherman, which you also used to punch your tag and field dress the deer. Then you can get a little teary-eyed and say that you didn't really want to kill such a fine animal, but it was either him or you. So now you're honoring the deer by displaying him as majestically as possible - even though the scar on his throat still haunts you every time you look at it.

Then, sniff a little and pretend to wipe a tear from your cheek. And if somebody asks for more details, turn your back, start walking slowly away and say "I don't want to talk about it.".

Meh... just a thought.

November 8, 2013, 05:50 PM
Congrats jake.
Nice buck!

November 8, 2013, 06:59 PM
Congrats on your great Coues Buck! Beautiful animal! There is nothing like reaching a lifetime goal/dream!

I was super lucky back in 2002 as well. I managed to spot a gorgeous whitetail buck in Northern Alberta. Some of my friends and aquaintences didnt believe my story about how big he was. It was frustrating!
So I hunted as hard as I could for the remainder of the season. On the last morning, this is the buck I got.

He walked out into the Alphalfa field along a cutline. When I saw him, I calmy (as I could) shouldered the rifle. He sniffed along the trail for about 20 yards and turned broadside. As he turned, I squeezed. He dissappeared in the recoil of the rifle.

I heard the distinct Sound of an impact after the shot. I jumped up and started walking as fast as I could towards where the deer was! At first I couldnt see the deer. Then as I got near him, I saw his antlers reaching up in the grass! He Was massive! My legs went rubbery, and the realisation of a lifetime of hunting for "THAT BUCK OF A LIFETIME" was at hand! That moment was surreal for me! I just stood over him and took it all in!

He was a heavy horned Typical 6X5. The side with 5 typical points had one sticker, to make him a 6x6. The score isnt all that important to me anymore, but he is over the 170 minimum for B&C. Hope you like my pictures. ( (

Once again congrats on your Coues whitetail! Thats a great deer! Now that you got that buck of a lifetime, you might be suprised what luck you may have in the future! Mine stayed good for four more seasons! Good luck and good hunting to all!

November 8, 2013, 07:37 PM
Wow, love the mass on that buck.

November 8, 2013, 07:45 PM
This year has been great. I was able to put my wife on her first deer during a muzzleloader hunt and not only was that a great experience but that buck may be the tastiest deer I've ever eaten .

Hey...that lady (and the picture) looks mighty familiar...

Are you bragging about her again?



November 9, 2013, 05:05 AM
That is a fantastic Coues, Jake. If you haven't already, you should post it on

I'm just hoping to see a couple of bucks this year. It's my 3rd year out of ten living here in AZ to get a Coues tag, and I've never even seen a buck during the season.

November 9, 2013, 08:40 PM
I did post over on Sixgunner. Good luck on your hunt. What unit are you hunting for Coues?

November 9, 2013, 09:53 PM
Which area? I'm in 35B end of Nov, first week of December for Coues.

November 9, 2013, 10:04 PM
I don't think you can compare northern whitetail to couse deer. No disrepect but if youve never hunted them then it's hard to describe. That's a great buck. Where I live in willcox is 2 hrs from where the world record was shot. 147" by wards outfitters. Honestly I cant stand the guides and don't like their ethics but they put big deer down. You want couse come down here to southern arizona and lets hit the hills. I killed a 90" a few years ago with my bow and I was spent!! It was a hard hunt on public land and not guided. A great time. Congrats and live it up!!

November 10, 2013, 02:08 PM

I understand you dont mean any disrepect. But I will say, have you ever hunted in the conditions we have this far north? Seriously hard on a person! -30 celcius to -35 for days on end! Brutal! Each species/sub species introduces its own challenges within its own environment. The quality of the pursuit is my personal barometer to my satisfaction of a hunt.

Just to clear, "again", I am not taking anything from "wankerjakes" deer! Its a great example of the species! Thats why I drew the parallel with my experiences.

No hard feelings what so ever.

November 10, 2013, 03:26 PM
34B, day after thanksgiving through the first week of December.

November 10, 2013, 04:12 PM
Never hunted 34B Sixgunner so I don't have any tips for you. Good luck though!

Dthunter, no offense taken on my end. I enjoyed the parallel, that's one hell of a buck you have there.

November 10, 2013, 04:16 PM
Outstanding, there is something special when your wife shots her first deer. This is my Wife's first one shot in 2010 (

November 10, 2013, 04:24 PM
Whoohoo! Good job!

November 10, 2013, 09:02 PM
No problem. I've seen a few out there, but rarely. Gonna go hunt anyway. :D

November 11, 2013, 08:02 PM
Good job! Congrats!

November 11, 2013, 09:40 PM
I've hunted whitetail in Ohio/WVA, Blacktail in Washintgon, mulies and Coues in Arizona and by far in my own opinion, Arizona is the hardest to hunt. Spot and stalk, Rugged terrain full of crap that is covered in thorns, mountain lion, rattlesnakes and illegals everywhere, warm in the daytime, lack of good cover just to name a few......lmao.

November 15, 2013, 09:36 PM
Thanks for another great hunt Wank. Meat should be back from the processor next week. Hopefully mine is as tasty as your wife's spike.

November 16, 2013, 10:36 AM
I hope so too man. Should be a good one, let me know. Come shoot some predators with me this winter. I need some fox pelts and now I know where to get some.

Lennyjoe, I haven't hunted deer anywhere else but it sure looks harder here than a lot of other places.

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