Coues whitetail deer are a small version of the whitetail found in the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. In the US they are hunted in Arizona and New Mexico, with Arizona producing about 80 percent of the top 100 Boone and Crockett heads. Mexico accounts for most of the remainder with only a couple coming from New Mexico. In recent years, the number of record book heads from Mexico has increased but Arizona is still the number one place to go for a quality animal. Coues deer are found in desert mountain ranges above 3,500 feet where the desert meets the oak savanna and pinon/juniper of the higher elevations. Coues look much like any whitetail but are smaller. A good Coues buck stands 34 to 35 inches at the shoulder and tips the scales at 130 to 140 pounds live weight. They tend to have antlers that are very symmetrical and a 16-inch buck with three main points and an eye guard is a good one. The Boone and Crockett minimum score is 110. Coues deer hunting is best described as a challenge because these animals are very elusive. They not only blend in perfectly with their surroundings but they are masters of concealment and escape. The key to success is lots of glassing and knowing the animals' habitat requirements.
In Arizona, most Coues deer are harvested on public lands administered by the US Forest Service. Coues are found in proper habitat throughout the Coronado National Forest and on portions of the Apache/Sitgreaves National Forests. Additionally, there is limited Coues whitetail habitat on lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management through their Safford Field Office and the Tucson Field Office. Virtually all Coues deer units are located in the southeastern portion of the state. Deer tags in Arizona (resident and non-resident alike) are issued via a drawing. The drawing deadline was mid-June and successful applicants will be notified in August. Generally, Coues seasons are spilt into as many as three segments starting in late October and running until late December. Unit quotas are variable and range from 600 to 2,450, with 10........(continued)