From Bottom To Top

In early November, soon after my wife's elk hunt, Rob, Jay, and I went down to southern Arizona for our Coues deer hunt.  While we've all hunted down there before, this was the first time that Rob, Jay, and I had tags for the same unit, at the same time.  With only 4 days to hunt, we weren't going to be very picky and were looking to just have a good time.

We glassed up several herds of deer early in the morning, and one buck that caught our interest proceeded to go up the mountain and bed under a big juniper about as far away from us as he could get.  We worked our way towards him and I ended up shooting him from about 100 yards away from the top of the ridge.
The buck was under the big juniper near the top of the ridge, and I shot him from the top of the ridge.

Photo by Jay Woods
Photo by Jay Woods
 After pictures and breaking him down, it was time to pack him down off the mountain.  We were out of water and the heat of the day had taken its toll on us.  One down and 2 more to go...

The next day Rob and Jay made a stalk on some bucks that ended up spooking, but Rob then saw a buck that he decided to shoot.  He hadn't shot anything with his new rifle yet, and chose this deer to be the first animal his rifle has taken.  He did great by making a 528 yard shot on this buck.

We hunted the next two days, and tried to get a 3x3 we saw several times for Jay, but after 3 days of hazing that 3x3 had probably had enough and didn't show himself again the last morning.  We couldn't talk Jay into shooting a small fork-horn that was bedded about 180 yards below us as we glassed.
There is a small buck bedded just to the right of Rob.

Zoomed in picture showing the buck bedded below us.
It was a short, quick hunt and a lot of fun.  Thanks go out to our friend Joe who came down and gave us a hand glassing for the weekend.

After the coues hunt, I went back to work for two days, and then headed up to northern Arizona to the Strip to help my buddy Curt from work.  Curt had drawn a highly coveted Arizona Strip mule deer tag, and I was excited to tag along to help glass, and also do some scouting for when I draw the tag (hopefully in the next few years).

I had never been up to the Strip, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect.  I was hoping to put my eyes on some big mule deer bucks while up there.  One thing I hadn't expected was the 'competition'.  It seems like everyone has a list of all the popular spots where big bucks have been killed or where the herds of does are located.  Because of this, traffic is pretty heavy at some of the popular spots.  The first morning we left early, and still weren't the first ones to the spot we'd chosen to start the day off.  We counted 8 other vehicles come in to the area we chose for opening morning after we'd gotten there.  The rut was just beginning to start though, so we were optimistic!

Curt and I covered a lot of ground in the five days I was up there.  I got to see a lot of neat country, but still left a lot of country unseen.  We saw deer and bucks almost every day, but just not what Curt was looking for.  Probably the highlight of the trip for me was having a mountain lion jump right in front of the truck as we were driving back to camp one night.  He looked very big 10 feet in front of the truck lit up in the headlights!

The strip contained some awesome country.  I was surprised by the number of trick tanks up there.  There was at least 2 cameras on every tank we visited.  Some of the trees that were rubbed by these bucks reminded me of elk rubs.  It was pretty amazing.

Broken branches from a deer rub looked more like an elk rub.

Curt checking out a good deer rub.

Broken branch from a deer.

Typical Strip Trick Tank. Most cameras we saw was 6 on a tank; fewest was 2.

I had to leave on Tuesday, and Curt still hadn't found the buck he was looking for.  We saw a nice tall, narrow buck the evening before, but Curt was looking for something wider.  Wednesday Curt checked out a new area and found a buck he liked.  Good thing too, because weather moved in and made things pretty soggy the next few days.  Congrats Curt on a great buck!  Thanks for allowing me to tag along.


  1. Looks like an excellent time. That photo with all the cameras in it is ridiculous. Thanks for sharing.



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