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Mar 25th, 2012
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Coues Deer vs Hill Country Whitetail #7644956 10/28/19 07:07 PM
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Howdy all,

First time poster here, and have a question in relation to Coues deer.

I was watching the latest season of MeatEater and came to the episode where Rinella & Co. traveled down to the northern Mexican border hunting Coues. One of the recurring statements was how small these deer were compared to the main strain of Whitetail north of the border. Upon seeing these Coues, I couldn't help but think that these deer were the same size as our all ready "dog sized" deer in the hill country. Anyone here ever hunted Coues or seen Coues up close that could shed some light on this for me???

TIA!

Re: Coues Deer vs Hill Country Whitetail [Re: camtheguitarman] #7644963 10/28/19 07:12 PM
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Re: Coues Deer vs Hill Country Whitetail [Re: camtheguitarman] #7644970 10/28/19 07:21 PM
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I don't have any knowledge except the very basic on Coues deer, but I do believe that the often referenced "dog sized" hill country deer are a result of the management or mismanagement and available food. If you get their numbers down get some to maturity and some feed or good native conditions they will put on some size and weight.


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Re: Coues Deer vs Hill Country Whitetail [Re: camtheguitarman] #7644971 10/28/19 07:21 PM
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I’m not an expert, but I think Coues have some other characteristics (like ear size, tail size, etc.) besides body size/weight that give them the separate subspecies designation.

But I hunted the hill country for 30 years and agree that hunting has to be very similar if not almost identical to the Coues deer hunts I’ve watched and read about - right down to the terrain and animal.


Originally Posted By: Russ79
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Re: Coues Deer vs Hill Country Whitetail [Re: camtheguitarman] #7644972 10/28/19 07:21 PM
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I have hunted Coues in Arizona and they are pretty dang small. We have small deer here in areas but mixed in we have some 200# deer and that is not going to happen with a Coues deer regardless of age.


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Re: Coues Deer vs Hill Country Whitetail [Re: RattlesnakeDan] #7644975 10/28/19 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by RattlesnakeDan
I have hunted Coues in Arizona and they are pretty dang small. We have small deer here in areas but mixed in we have some 200# deer and that is not going to happen with a Coues deer regardless of age.


This. A good-sized mature hill country deer will go 100-150 dressed. I think a really large Coues is 75-90.


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Re: Coues Deer vs Hill Country Whitetail [Re: camtheguitarman] #7644985 10/28/19 07:31 PM
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So they really are "dog sized" that's so interesting to me, especially that, compared to other big game hunts, they're sought after the way they are.

Thanks for the quick replies fellers! Knowledge has been gained!

Re: Coues Deer vs Hill Country Whitetail [Re: QuitShootinYoungBucks] #7644998 10/28/19 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by QuitShootinYoungBucks
Originally Posted by RattlesnakeDan
I have hunted Coues in Arizona and they are pretty dang small. We have small deer here in areas but mixed in we have some 200# deer and that is not going to happen with a Coues deer regardless of age.


This. A good-sized mature hill country deer will go 100-150 dressed. I think a really large Coues is 75-90.


My info is dated now because we left Camp Wood in 1990. But in 30 years I never saw a buck killed that would dress above 100 lbs. They must be getting bigger with better management practices.


Originally Posted By: Russ79
I learned long ago you can't reason someone out of something they don't reason themselves into.


Re: Coues Deer vs Hill Country Whitetail [Re: camtheguitarman] #7645007 10/28/19 07:47 PM
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Originally Posted by camtheguitarman
Howdy all,

First time poster here, and have a question in relation to Coues deer.

I was watching the latest season of MeatEater and came to the episode where Rinella & Co. traveled down to the northern Mexican border hunting Coues. One of the recurring statements was how small these deer were compared to the main strain of Whitetail north of the border. Upon seeing these Coues, I couldn't help but think that these deer were the same size as our all ready "dog sized" deer in the hill country. Anyone here ever hunted Coues or seen Coues up close that could shed some light on this for me???

TIA!


I hunt three different hill country ranches. The top end 6.5 +year old bucks range from 140-180lbs. Twice the size of coues deer.

Keys deer would be a better comparison


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Re: Coues Deer vs Hill Country Whitetail [Re: camtheguitarman] #7645042 10/28/19 08:13 PM
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I shoot ( or my kids do ) shoot the dog sized deer mentioned in the hill country. few weeks ago I arrowed a 3 year old that dressed 83 lbs. Wife and son took a 7 and 6 year old respectively that each dressed 105. They are just small, stunted deer. I've shot deer in kerr county that dressed in the 140's. I think its a localized nutrient problem where i'm at.


That said, Coues deer are really, really tiny. If you see one you will be surprised at how small they are. We got to within about 30 yards of a yearling forkhorn and he was about the size of a female blue heeler. They also look different to me.....their tails are huge and the white part seemed to cover a lot more of their butt than a normal whitetail. Different color than our deer in texas, ears are different, they are undoubtedly a different sub species and deserve to be.


The terrain we were finding them in was on the tops of hill sides and rocky ridges. They overlap in the area we hunted with mule deer and we would see both of them in the same area. The terrain was nothing like the hill country though, it was pinon pine and scrub oak and a lot of loose rock. If you have every been on the Willow City loop, the area on the hills ( not in the bottoms ) was about as close to the terrain as you could compare and that's a bit of a stretch, but similar.

Re: Coues Deer vs Hill Country Whitetail [Re: camtheguitarman] #7645059 10/28/19 08:20 PM
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I have hunted Coues' deer in AZ twice, killed one, and have a tag in NM in a couple weeks.

I grew up hunting around San Angelo and more recently the Trans Pecos region around Iraan. The deer out there were never huge (125lbs dressed out is the biggest buck I have weighed). The 2.5-3.5 year old Coues' I killed in 2017 was maybe the size of a big doe in San Angelo. I didn't weigh him, but I would be surprised to find out he weighed 100lbs on the hoof. It was all of a 15 yard shot, so I drug him back to the truck and lifted him onto my tailgate by his feet. I can probably get some pictures of his skull next to a couple of my other whitetails from San Angelo, Iraan, and South Texas. The skull is much smaller. Coloration is a bit different as well.

If you want to compare them to a deer in Texas, a Carmen Mountain Whitetail is a more accurate comparison.

I would argue that hunting a Coues' Deer in the mountains above 4500' (killed mine at about 6700') is a bit different than hunting the hill country. It's about where you are hunting them as much as than anything.

They are just another opportunity for me during the draws and I get to hunt them in cool new country. I don't necessarily plan on hunting them year in and year out like a lot of guys. Lot's of other places to hunt bigger bodied deer.

Re: Coues Deer vs Hill Country Whitetail [Re: camtheguitarman] #7645198 10/28/19 10:16 PM
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I can’t comment on Coues Deer, but when I first started hunting in the hill country I was really surprised at how small the deer were. They were about half the size of the Louisiana deer I had hunted for years. The first buck I killed in Texas was a beautiful 8 point. As I walked up to him he got smaller. Way smaller. Full body weight was 125 pounds. The bigger shock was when the game warden told me that my buck was the biggest he had seen that season.

That said, my wife and I agree that hill country deer have better venison than the Louisiana deer. I have no idea why that is.


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Re: Coues Deer vs Hill Country Whitetail [Re: 603Country] #7645206 10/28/19 10:21 PM
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Originally Posted by 603Country
That said, my wife and I agree that hill country deer have better venison than the Louisiana deer. I have no idea why that is.


No swamp water in 'em.


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Re: Coues Deer vs Hill Country Whitetail [Re: camtheguitarman] #7645209 10/28/19 10:24 PM
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There are, or were, Coues in the Chinati mountains of Texas. LO that I know that flew them for ranches in the area said that lions wiped them out.


...and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. Gen. 1:28
Re: Coues Deer vs Hill Country Whitetail [Re: Creekrunner] #7645335 10/29/19 12:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Creekrunner
There are, or were, Coues in the Chinati mountains of Texas. LO that I know that flew them for ranches in the area said that lions wiped them out.


The Carmen mountains subspecies is pretty much a coues deer, I don’t know what the exact differences in them are.

They live in the sky islands of west Texas ( like the Chinati mountains ).


We found some sheds of some big coues deer and saw some giants on the wall in the store, their antler configuration is different than a normal whitetails. Shorter beams and heavier horned , and they all had a lot of trash on the bases and G-2’s

Re: Coues Deer vs Hill Country Whitetail [Re: camtheguitarman] #7645468 10/29/19 02:56 AM
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Our Carmine mountain whitetail are very small. I think even smaller than coues.

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Re: Coues Deer vs Hill Country Whitetail [Re: camtheguitarman] #7645505 10/29/19 04:06 AM
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A lot of hill country deer are not much larger than coues. But from my understanding, hill county deer have the genetic potential to be much larger (rack size and body) given the right circumstances (groceries/minerals/age). Coues can be raised in the same good environment and never break 100in or lbs. My brother has a P&Y coues on his wall and has harvested a number of them in AZ. Will see if he has anything to add.


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Re: Coues Deer vs Hill Country Whitetail [Re: camtheguitarman] #7645524 10/29/19 05:12 AM
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I live in the middle of prime Coues country now. Haven’t seen one on the hoof, yet, but I’ve seen some mounts. They certainly have a different look to them.


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Re: Coues Deer vs Hill Country Whitetail [Re: dkershen] #7648050 10/31/19 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by dkershen
A lot of hill country deer are not much larger than coues. But from my understanding, hill county deer have the genetic potential to be much larger (rack size and body) given the right circumstances (groceries/minerals/age). Coues can be raised in the same good environment and never break 100in or lbs.


This is true!
I've had the privilege of hunting on a military reservation for several years, and at one point during those years the management practices involved feeding of protein, and with some restrictions on only allowing a certain age group deer to be taken.
Since I hunted there before the feeding of protein I had a chance to see the before and after effects.
Before we were taking average hill country deer with a full grown mature buck 80 to 90 # dressed.
After the protein was fed for a few yesrs the antler size as well as the body weight of a mature buck would be anywhere from 130# to some at 150# dressed in a good year.
Once the biologist determined that the property be returned to native free range conditions the body weight once again came back down to what the typical hill country land was capable of producing just as before.
There is nothing wrong with the genetics as the antler growth is still a bit above average, but the potential has always been there.
Do a search on "Bullis Buck" and you'll see what I'm talking about.

Here is a photo of the potential of a hill country deer allowed to age, and given the proper groceries.
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Bullis Buck 2004

Re: Coues Deer vs Hill Country Whitetail [Re: camtheguitarman] #7648755 11/01/19 12:42 AM
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Coues are significantly smaller-- I went on an early rifle hunt in AZ and killed a nice mature 3x3 (with eye guards) as did my hunting partner. I was able to drag them both out, together, by myself (downhill albeit) but a solid 3/4 mile to where we could get a truck in.

When I went to get a shoulder mount from a well known Tucson taxidermist he explained they have to use a form even smaller than a normal whitetail doe form so they can show the 'buck' features but have the proper scale.

Great eating deer and they have AMAZING hide with a salt/pepper color that is worth tanning if you don't do a mount.

Re: Coues Deer vs Hill Country Whitetail [Re: camtheguitarman] #7648792 11/01/19 01:40 AM
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Coues and Carmen Mountain whitetails are similar. Both have small bodies and small racks. An average mature Coues buck weighs around 90 pounds while a huge one will top out around 125 pounds. From a rack comparison perspective, a 110" Coues is the equivalent of a 160" whitetail. I usually get 30-35 pounds of meat off of my bucks.

I do recommend hunting them at least once. There is a lot of public land, hunting crowds mostly disappear on Monday-Thursday, and absolutely gorgeous country.

Re: Coues Deer vs Hill Country Whitetail [Re: camtheguitarman] #7649466 11/01/19 08:43 PM
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AZ have you hunted them in NM yet? I got my first Coues’ in AZ Unit 29 in 2017 after striking out in the Superstitions in 2016. I have a NM Coues’ tag coming up in a couple weeks.

Re: Coues Deer vs Hill Country Whitetail [Re: camtheguitarman] #7657004 11/09/19 08:36 PM
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Coues deer on the left. Some pretty noticeable differences. Deer on the right is a small, but old 6pt from Webb County.

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