Sunday, October 5, 2014

How to Target a Specific Coues Deer Buck

Brady Miller of and his first record book coues deer from Sonora, Mexico with Colburn and Scott Outfitters  Photo Credit Brady Miller

I would like to tell you that Darr and I had this buck targeted and knew his every move and Brady executed his job as the hunter perfectly.  Only the latter is true.  We are pretty sure that we saw that buck one afternoon one year earlier in the 2013 season in January.  Brady won the hunt in January 2014 by winning the KUIU photo contest.  Brady tried spotting and stalking for a couple of days with his bow and then decided to sit a water hole one morning around 10am.  We chose the water hole because of its location to a couple of nice bucks that frequented the area.  The buck came in for a drink and he made a perfect shot and the buck actually expired in the tank.  Brady's buck net scored just over 110 inches and grossed scored over 118 inches.  Congrats to Brady Miller on a trophy of a lifetime.

Even though this particular buck was more a matter of chance in terms of patterning, I truly believe you can target coues deer bucks and prey upon some of their predictable patterns.  Coues deer season is just around the corner.  I know many guys that spend the summer patterning these deer and then harvesting them on the October tag.  If you haven't hunted coues deer much, one of the most deadly things to know is that they have a very small home range.  Most bucks don't travel more than one mile out of their core area their whole life.  The Ockenfels study, shows that coues deer does have an even smaller home range down to about 1/2 of a mile radius in their home range.  Coues deer bucks have a small range with the exception of the "rut" where they have been noticed traveling 4-5 miles from their home range.

So how do you pattern a coues buck?  The first step is to get out and do a lot of glassing.  Time in the field is an important element here to success.  Find a buck that you want to  pattern then try to glass him during his every move.  Get to know his patterns intimately.  Learn where he beds and where he feeds.  Look for travel patterns to and from his bedding zone.  The more you can learn his pattern and movements the more pieces of the puzzle you can put together for the time of harvest.  If you are not fortunate to have bunch of time prior to the season but do get out to scout once and see a big buck you need to assume that you saw the buck in his home range.  Therefore, you need to place a concentrated effort glassing from different vantage points into his location.  Be careful not to disrupt or penetrate his core living quarters.  Stay back and observe until you have a good attack plan.  One of the most effective tools and important things to remember is that you need to be extremely patient and keep telling yourself not to bounce around too much because the "targeted buck" is right in front of you.  I have lost faith and been impatient thinking my buck has left only to be quickly reminded he has been bedded in the home area the whole time.  More to come on this subject soon.  I love getting others feedback on subjects like this.  What have you guys witnessed when patterning bucks? What tactics work for you?

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