Desert Deer Hunts for Snowbirds
By: Pat Meitin
From fall through early winter, hunters living in the Rocky Mountains find the region a pure hunting paradise. Fall offers so many hunting opportunities – from upland birds to waterfowl to big-game adventures – you sometimes don’t know where to begin. In some Rocky Mountain states, black-bear hunting is open, too.
Then, almost suddenly, deep winter sets in and hard-core Rocky Mountain hunters grow restless. For many, small-game and predator hunting currently open lacks the pizzazz of the sexier big-game and upland-bird seasons. But hunters who haven’t indulged in enough big-game hunting come January can still go afield … if they were intrepid enough to have the foresight to submit an early license application (there are exceptions) … if they have the gumption to load a 4-WD vehicle with camping gear and coolers … if they’re prepared to hitch a camper to their pickups … if they’re willing to push a day south … if they’re ready to do all this and more to get on the trail of the Coues white-tailed deer.
Arizona and New Mexico are your destinations for these mid-winter big-game hunts, and while desert muleys also abound, it is the elfin Coues whitetail that has captured the hearts of late-season hunters up and down the Rocky Mountains. Once largely forsaken but for a small cadre of cult-like aficionados, Coues deer have become hunters’ newest bucket-list quarry. Blame it on the new fascination with slams, or just plain-and-simple wanderlust, but the Coues deer, once a subspecies few outside their range had heard of, is now a major attraction that lures serious big-game hunters to the Southwest each winter.
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