Coues Whitetail Hunting

Come Hunt Coues Deer with Country Ventures and Brian Eason ( Coues Ninja ). Known for their elusiveness, these are by far the most challenging of all Whitetail species to hunt and some have said the most difficult of all the North American animals to harvest with a bow. Our hunts are done in the Southeast corner of Az. And Southwest corner of New Mexico. We offer a wide range of options to fully guided, semi and even DIY hunts. BOOK TODAY!!!!


    Coues Ninja

Arizona Coues Deer Hunting



What is a Coues Deer?

Coues (Whitetail) Deer* (properly pronounced "cows", but most pronounce it "coos")
"If someone should conduct a beauty contest among the game animals of the Southwest,

I have no doubt the Arizona whitetail would win hands down.  . . . the Arizona whitetail is an exquisitely lovely thing."   J. O'Connor

Arizona's other deer, the Coues, is a subspecies of the white-tailed deer. Coues deer are most common in Arizona's southeastern mountains, but range up on to the Mogollon Rim and into the White Mountains. They are most abundant in areas of predictable summer precipitation. They prefer woodlands of chaparral, oak, and pine with interspersed clearings.

The Coues Whitetail Deer is a small subspecies of white-tailed deer found in Arizona, New  Mexico and Mexico.  Coues deer are most common in Arizona's southeastern mountains, but range up to the edge of the Mogollon Rim and into the White Mountains. They are mostly found in areas of predictable summer rain, prefer wooded areas of chaparral, oak, and pine, with interspersed clearings and are usually found at higher elevations than mule deer. These deer have many different names:  some say cow, some say coos, some call them the Desert Whitetail, even the North American Indians have a name for them  - the "Grey Ghost" - due to their uncanny ability to vanish from view in the smallest amount of cover.

Hunting a Coues Deer

Many people consider Coues deer to be the most challenging big game animal to hunt.

The Coues deer is much smaller than most of its eastern cousins. Coues Deer Bucks stand just over 30 inches at the shoulder and rarely weigh over 100 pounds. Coues Deer Does average 65 pounds.  The "Grey Ghost" rarely offers the hunter a standing shot once jumped. The statewide take has varied from 1,500 to more than 7,000 Coues whitetails a year, depending on the variances of drought and fawn survival.  For example, Coues whitetails comprised less than 15 percent of Arizona's deer harvest in 1961 but today, they comprise over 40 percent of total deer harvested.

How to tell a Coues Deer from a Mule Deer?

Since these are the most common deer found in Arizona and New Mexico, it is helpful to know how to tell them apart.

The tail is the easiest way to distinguish these two deer species. Coues deer have a much wider tail that is white underneath, but not on top.  The tail of the mule deer is much skinnier, very rope-like, and is white with a black tip.  When Coues deer are excited, they will raise their tail ("flagging") which displays the white under the tail.  The mule deer will not.

White-tailed deer generally live in small groups of 2-5, not large herds like mule deer.

White-tailed deer and mule deer have different behavior/strategies to avoid predators.  Whitetails have a more natural run and will leap or trot away from danger.  While, mule deer have a unique gait that is stiff-legged and bounds on all four legs at the same time (stotting).

If you can't see their tails, Coues and Mule deer can look similar.   Coues have the characteristic white "halos" around their eyes and muzzle.  Mule deer will have a lot more white on their faces, not just around the eyes and nose.  Mule deer may also have more black color on their foreheads.

Most whitetails have antlers that have the tines coming directly off the main beam.  Coues deer are no different.  However, a mule deer has branching of the antlers where some tines come off other tines in a regular forked pattern.   A young Coues and mule deer are very hard to tell apart.  They both have just two points (forkhorn) on their antlers.  Keep that in mind when using this feature to identify deer.

Description of Coues Deer

The Coues white-tailed deer is one of the smallest deer in America, much smaller than most of its eastern cousins. Coues deer stand just over 30 inches tall at the shoulder and measure about 56 inches from head to tail.  A large field-dressed buck will rarely exceed 80-90 pounds, although some can exceed 100 pounds.  Does average about 65 lbs. The Coues deer coat color varies from a grayish salt-and-pepper coat in winter to a more reddish-brown color in the summer.  The face is marked with the classic signs seen on other subspecies of whitetail with white circles ("halos") around its eyes and a white band across the muzzle.  The white throat patch tends to not be as pronounced as other whitetails. The most distinguishing characteristic of the whitetail is its long, broad tail. Coues deer tails are generally brown with a border of white on the topside and all white on the underside.  Topside colors can vary from gray to reddish-black depending on the geographical area.  They often carry their tail high as an alarm signal sometimes called "flagging" . The antlers consist of a number of tines coming up from a main beam which curves forward. Mature bucks generally have three to four tines per side.

Fawns are usually born to coincide with the new growth following the summer rains usually early in the new year.  They are born with numerous white spots on their coat which generally disappear after about 2 months.

General Information

Breeding Period: January
Young Appear: August
Average Number of Young: 2
Distribution: 4K-10K ft in central and southeastern Arizona
Habitat: Oak-grasslands, chaparral, and pine forests
Food Preference: Weeds, shrubs, mast, grass, mistletoe, and cacti fruits in season
Range: 4 sq. miles
Live Weight: M-125lbs.; F-80lbs.
Predators: Mountain lion, bobcat, eagle, and coyote

We can video your hunt!  Click Here for more information.

Good Hunting!
Call Brian at 417-876-8982

Some information gathered from and Arizona Fish and Game.