Coues Deer and Rattlesnakes

Show Notes

On this episode of The Western Rookie Podcast, Brian talks with guest Steven Lines about hunting big Coues Deer and avoiding rattlesnakes!

Steven is an Arizona resident and avid Coues Deer hunter. Steven has tagged some giant bucks with both a gun and a rifle and spends a majority of his season in the mountains looking for these hard to find deer! Brian and Steven talk tactics, rattlesnakes, and even some elk and sheep hunting along the way! Check out the links below to learn more about Steven and follow his adventures!


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Show Transcript

[00:00:00] You're listening to the Western Rookie, a hunting podcast full of tips, tricks, and strategies from seasoned Western hunters. There are plenty of opportunities out there. We just need to learn how to take on the challenges. Hunting is completely different up there. I've heard of some 26 big game animals.

You can fool their eyes, but you can't fool their nose. The 300 yards back to the road turned into three miles back the other way. It's always cool to see new hunters go and harvest an animal. I don't know what to expect. If there's anybody I want in the woods with me, it'll be you.

Welcome back to another Western Rookie Podcast episode. I'm your host, Brian Krebs. And today I have Steven Lines on the call from Master the Hunt. And so Steven, I was looking for podcast guests and your last two Instagram posts did it for me. You apparently are a co Is that COOs Deer that you're [00:01:00] hunting?

Yep. Or cow, deer? I don't, yeah, depending on who you are. . Depending on who you're, which one do you say? We'll do it the right way. If you're down in Arizona, the locals will say co deer. If, I feel like if you're anywhere else, the per correct. Is cows, deer. But the locals will say cos deer. Yeah. I've always heard cos deer, which I think is the like.

Common name, but people try to claim like the person that first saw and named the deer was something cows was his last name. And so we're like technically it should be cows then, cause that's his name. And everyone's yeah, I don't know. Coos deer sounds better. Yeah, no, I think it does.

But what I do know about Coos deer is that the ones that you have on your story are monsters. They're. Very large bucks. They're, it's a smaller deer, smaller antlers, but you got two dandy bucks here on your story. And it looks like you're pretty successful. Do you do that? Is this like an annual part of your fall or what do you do in there?

I [00:02:00] try to make it an annual thing. So I live down in Southern Arizona and we have probably more Coos deer than anything else. And usually every year I'm pretty good about getting a tag. And I say that as this year, I don't have a rifle tag, so I'll be just archery on him, but, yeah, I try to make it a every year kind of thing, but we'll see how it goes this year.

And so far it's been a little slow. Yeah. That's a, it's a, the, it's a bummer not having the rifle, but it, the Coos deer is over the counter with an archery, right? Permit. And so I've heard a lot of, I think they've got some good marketing managers in the last five, 10 years, the Coos deer, because there's a lot of people that are like.

Guys, did you know, you can just come to Southern Arizona in January and wear t shirts and hunt deer and, no one, nothing else is going on. It's over the counter, great weather, great times, watch out for rattlesnakes. But other than that, it's a great hunt. And everyone's Oh, I didn't even know.

And now it's like the [00:03:00] coolest thing to go coos deer hunting. Yeah, I feel like it was pretty unknown for a long time. And then, like you said, the last five, seven years, it's just absolutely blown up so much so that they. They changed the format a little bit. We have like quotas now, it's still over the counter, but each unit has like a quota.

And if so many bucks get killed, they'll shut the unit down. But still it's a good opportunity. And there's not a whole lot else to do in December, January. And the nice thing is when you do shoot one, it's considerably easier to pack out than say a Arizona bowl. It is so much easier. In fact, I've killed bucks before.

Where we just gutted them and you throw them over your shoulder and carry them back to the truck and that's probably my favorite part about these coos deer is yeah, you don't get a lot of meat in the freezer, and they do taste delicious, but you don't kill yourself getting them out either. So do you do antelope hunting?

A little bit here in [00:04:00] Arizona, the antelope tags are super hard to get. In fact, I've never even drawn one. I killed a about an 80 inch buck with my bow in New Mexico a few years back, and then I've done Wyoming as well, but not a huge antelope hunter just because. Tags are hard to get around here, but yeah, that's fair.

I was just wondering what your thoughts are on the size of a Coos deer buck versus an antelope buck. Cause a lot of people are very familiar with antelope. So if you can, are they like the same size as the antelope even bigger? I'd say a big mature Coos bucks, probably about the size of a, an antelope.

But again, I've killed Coos deer before that. Body size. They're maybe closer to the size of a large German shepherd or something. Like they can be very tiny, but if you get a big body, big mature buck, I'd say it's about the size of, an antelope. That's pretty close. So they're the largest of them can almost so typically it may be like, maybe more like an antelope [00:05:00] doe is the average size.

That's probably closer just to give people a reference of it looks exactly like a whitetail. And they, and whitetails have different looks everywhere you go. I'm from Minnesota, so you get, a different look in Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Canada. You get real big bodied deer.

Especially the farther north you go, the bigger the deer body gets. I would say, to me, coos deer have always looked like a Texas whitetail. They have shorter for they're a little bit skinnier, but then they're just, even that they're one step smaller but they, it's almost like they have, it just looks like a Southern whitetail and it's hard to tell.

Cause you never see two of them. So it's hard to see, like, when you just see a picture of a Coos deer on the hoof, all of the proportions match. And so it looks like it's just an average eight point whitetail until you get up close to them. And then when you, or like your pictures where you're sitting there behind the deer, then you can start to see.

Oh, this is something different. This is a different, [00:06:00] this is a different animal. Yeah. And those pictures, I'm probably long arming them too. You really, it's like when you kill an elk, you walk up to it and it's man, these things are a lot bigger than you think. Kuzir is the opposite. You walk up and it's man, this is so much smaller than what it even looks like, through my binoculars or whatever.

And it happens every time I kill one and they always, almost shrink as you get closer to them. Yeah. I suppose like here in the Midwest, like we own a farm, we just bought a farm. And actually my wife just shot a little update for all the listeners. My wife just shot the first deer off of our new farm.

So we bought a 40 acre farm this year. We've been in three and a half months, and we've done some food plotting, we've got some stands, I'm building a stand later tonight, cause we do stand hunting here. And, my wife just shot our very first deer off the farm this past Saturday with the early antler this season, so that's a pretty nice milestone.

Her second deer ever, so that's another big milestone, and then obviously first deer on the farm, fun things are [00:07:00] happening here, but where I was going with that is, it's Willow swamp. There's like Alder and, Willow at 10 feet tall. And so I'm always worried about blood trails and finding them because it's a jungle, but I suppose with the Coos deer, it's the same thing, but it's not because it's a jungle.

They're just small animals. Like it dies behind a rock and you're never going to see it unless you walk around that side of the rock. I thought it was right here. Where'd it go? Yeah, I've shot bucks before. In fact, I think it was one of the ones in those pictures you were mentioning. I shot him with a rifle.

I think it was like 450, 500 yards. And I was by myself, solo hunt, backpacked in, and I went up to go get him. And I very vividly remember the rock he died right next to. And I still almost stepped on him before I found him. They just blend in so good, and they're so small. They can hide behind, a bush, and you'll never see them, ever.

And that's one of the things that people say about Coos deer, even when they are [00:08:00] alive and they're standing is you still hardly can't find them. If you, I've heard a lot of people say once you find a buck, do not take your eyes off of it. Make sure you get them bedded.

Otherwise you're never going to see them again. Yeah. They can definitely disappear quick. I've had instances where I've been watching the deer and it could be the wide open country. And they will just disappear in five seconds and I'll sit there the rest of the morning watching like I know he's in here and sure enough, hours later, pop up out of nowhere.

And it's man, he was probably behind a cactus or a bush this entire time. I just couldn't see him. Yeah. And so it's not like an elk where, I feel like you can see them from miles away. Oh, these things are hard to see. Yeah. And so that like with a rifle, obviously. You find your, if you see the deer, you find it, you get within rifle distance.

And if you can still see it, through the scope, great. You're in the money, take your shot, do all the things. But when [00:09:00] you're archery hunting, walk us through what your average archery hunt looks like. Cause I feel like it's impossible to find a deer with your binos or with your spotter, say.

500 yards away. And now we got to walk 450 yards. We're definitely going to lose sight. Obviously we have to lose sight or we're never going to sneak up on them. So we have to get behind something. And then how do you refine the deer? Most of the time you don't. Archery is really tough with these things.

I grew up hunting these things, archery. What we would do is we'd hunt on like Eastern Whitetail. We'd go sit tree stands and in the higher elevations. When I turned like 16 and could drive myself and go hunt by myself. I transitioned into spot and stock going down into the lower country with my binos and that's a lot more challenging in my opinion.

But you just gotta do your best to remember your landmarks. And it's a lot easier during December, January, [00:10:00] when the bucks will start pairing up with the does. That way you have three or four animals to keep track of. They're easier to refine, I guess you could say. And it gives you a little more eyes and ears.

You gotta, get around, but at the same time they don't disappear as quickly, but during August, the August archery hunt, they can be really tough because they'll lay down and just a little patch of shade. And you may never see them again the rest of the day. So it can be tough spot in stock for sure.

Do they generally bed down long enough for you to get a stock in? Cause I've also heard that they just, they move a lot, especially. Yeah. December, January there. They're always on the move and that's what makes it tough as well. Your best bet's almost to just go where you think they're going to go and just let them come to you.

In August they'll bed down most of the day with how hot it is, it's almost a little easier spot in stock if you go archery in August than [00:11:00] December, January. But in August, you're dealing with the heat, you're dealing with rattlesnakes, you're dealing with... Deer that are only active, maybe the first 10 minutes of the morning, and then they're laying down the rest of the day.

So I prefer December, January, but it can be, it has its own challenges with it. Out of all of those reasons, I will pick January for just one. And that's the rattlesnakes. Yep. I do not like snakes. Since buying this farm, I've found two new species of snakes. So Minnesota typically just have garter snakes.

Black and yellow lined ones. We found an Eastern Hognose snake, which looks a lot like a rattlesnake. And one of their defense mechanisms is actually to flatten their head and make it look like a V to make them look like a Viper or a rattlesnake. That's their defense mechanism. I'm like it backfired on you.

Cause I thought you were a rattlesnake and I killed you. And then we found a red belly snake. And so I'm like, Jesus, where are all these snakes? I've never seen this many snakes in Minnesota. But [00:12:00] we're in a lower, wetter ground, probably where the snakes like to be, and but the rat fortunately, we don't have any rattlesnakes near me.

And the places I've hunted, there could be one. But they're not very popular, nothing like, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, like the Nebraska, the true rattlesnake states. So I'm curious, as you're running around in Southern Arizona, how many rattlesnakes do you, do you encounter in an average fall?

You, I personally, I've lived here my whole life. I've never ran across one in December or January. Okay. That's why those are my two favorite months to hunt. That's positive. In addition to the rut and the weather and everything else, December, January, you're good. I have ran into plenty in October, even November.

I don't know. I'm probably running into two or three every season. So they're not super common. But they're common enough to where when you almost step on one, it like ruins the rest of your day ruined. You're, your eyes are glued to the ground and you're not really [00:13:00] looking at anything else after that.

Especially so now I'm getting so spot and stock archery in August. So there's snakes around and you're gonna run into, like you said, like one or two a season, two or three seasons, enough that like you can't just be crawling around trying to sneak up on a bed of deer. Like how do you still crawl around?

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If it's not too hot, I'll wear snake Gators. Not that, I [00:15:00] don't know. I, they should work. I haven't been bit yet. I haven't, with them on, but I'm not going to test it either, but they work really good for the brush and catcalls as well. So I do wearing them when I can, when it makes sense.

Yeah, but they are a lot, they are really hot. So I don't wear them that often. In fact, I didn't even wear them this August. But I am a little more careful on like the places I am hunting. If I, it looks really rocky and thick, I'm definitely a lot more careful on where I'm stepping and my path I'm choosing to go when it gets to, I need to go over to this Ridge to get on this deer.

I'm going to go this way instead of that way, if that makes sense. Yeah. And it may be, maybe I shouldn't think that way, but I've almost stepped on enough throughout the years that. I hate snakes too. They're by far my least favorite thing in the world. And I will, if it takes me an extra five minutes, to go around, go through a wash where I can, have flat level [00:16:00] ground to walk on versus cutting across a real thick grassy patch of whatever I'll go the opposite direction.

Yikes. So like in new. North Dakota, I almost said New Mexico, and I don't know why, but North Dakota, you can get all over the counter archery mule deer tags as a resident, and so you just apply, buy your tag. And, but a lot of times you're probably gonna have to crawl at some point hands and knees crawl, because it's pretty open, it's not woods, sometimes there's not brush to hide behind.

So there's a good chance you might have to crawl on your hands and knees to get within that 40 yard shot window. And even in North Dakota, there's rattlesnakes in North Dakota, so I'm a little bit concerned. But I've done it. Never saw a snake. But in a place like Southern Arizona, are you ever actually like crawling on your hands and knees to sneak up on something?

If you had to, are you like not worth it with the amount of snakes? If I get busted. I've never actually really had to crawl with deer. Okay. I think there's [00:17:00] enough brush and enough elevation changes. You can usually put, a tree or something, a Rocky buff in between you.

And. Usually I'm pretty good at getting within range of something without having to get on my hands and knees. I have done it in the past, but it's not something I'm ever having to regularly do. So yeah, not that I'd want to either. No, that would be my fears. You're crawling in, you're looking, all of a sudden you look down and you're like face to face with a rattlesnake in striking distance.

And it's whack. In the face. That would be awful. Yeah. So do you what's the rules on rattlesnakes in the Southwest? Are they protected? Are they? I think there might be some species that are, but most of the ones you'll see, you can kill. Yeah, you say that like you're experienced.

I try not to let too many go. One less rattlesnake to worry about, but Yeah, a lot of people they enjoy killing them, and they'll eat them, and [00:18:00] keep the skins, and everything else. They'll eat them. Yeah, I know people I know like you could eat a snake like If you had to, you would survive, but I don't know people like actively go out and, hunt snakes for food.

Yeah. A lot of people will kill them too, when they're out like quail hunting. So it's quail season right now. So you're out walking around looking for quail and a lot get killed this time of year and a lot of people will bring them back and. Skin them out and fry them up. So I don't do that. I'm not a huge fan.

I've done it in the past, but I'm not a huge fan of it. So I would love a rattle skin or a rattlesnake skin hat band for one of my cowboy hats. I don't want any part of doing it myself though. I would want to kill the snake. I would use two long sticks to put it in a bucket and I would bring it to someone and be like, here.

Turn this into a hat band for me. I don't even if it's dead, I don't even want to touch it. I I do not enjoy the snakes, but I'm now I'm curious because there's been a lot of controversy, people are thinking that [00:19:00] because the rattlesnakes that rattle typically get killed, that they're worried rattlesnakes are going to quit rattling and then all of a sudden we've, we've caused evolutionary change that rattlesnakes no longer rattle.

Cause they don't want to die. And now you're running around, you'll never know where they are again. And then you just start getting bit. What's your thoughts on that? Cause you're a local, you have insight that we don't have. I think there might be some truth to that. It seems like the last four or five I've ran into haven't made a sound, and even threatened.

In fact, I killed one a few weeks ago. Now I have a little bike that I'll take around at night and, just go for a little ride to try to get a little exercise in. And I actually accidentally ran it over on my bike, so I stopped and went, Oh yeah, that was a rattle snake. It was a real, it was a small one, but it didn't rattle at all.

It coiled up, but didn't rattle at all. And it was definitely feeling threatened, but didn't rattle. So I wonder [00:20:00] if that was because of how fast you came in, like on a bike. That might've had something to do with it. Yeah. Or at night. I don't know. Maybe there. Colder. They don't want to move. I don't know, but yeah, that's terrifying.

Yeah. I don't like them. And I think there is truth to that. I don't think, I don't think they rattle as often as people think they, they do. That's the one I've encountered. That's terrifying. And so to think about it, like I would say, it seems 90 percent of the poisonous snakes in America are rattlesnakes.

And then you get into some water moccasins. In the east, and I'm sure there's a couple of others. For the most part, all of our poisonous snakes let you know that they're poisonous. Or they're supposed to. They're supposed to rattle, and then we have this mutual understanding. Either you stay there, I'll stay here, or I'm gonna kill you.

One or the other. I don't care which one. But either way, I'm not gonna get bit. Except for the water moccasins, and that's Florida's problem. They got to figure that out on their own. But imagine living in a place like Africa [00:21:00] or Australia where there's way more poisonous snakes and none of them rattle.

You're not going to get this little handy dandy, notification that you're about to get bit by a poisonous snake. Imagine life living with that kind of pressure of trying to be out and hunting and there's just any, at any moment, a snake could bite you. Yeah, I don't want to live in a world like that.

We, we don't encounter them enough to where I feel like they're a huge problem, but again, they, the last couple ones I ran into don't rattle. So I try to avoid them at all costs. And that's the worst, that's the, to me, that's the worst danger. Of they're there, but we don't really encounter them that often, but we still encounter them every year.

So for example, if you hunt elk outside of Yellowstone, in like Northwest Idaho, or sorry, Northwest Montana, You, nobody hunts elk there without spray or a pistol or both. Most of the time it's both.[00:22:00] Because of the grizzly bears. It's unheard of to elk hunt out there like alone, or maybe some people do it alone, but without bear protection.

And it's because that's such a big deal that you, it's just you have to do it. You go to the bathroom at night, you have to bring your bear spray. You have to put your food away from your tent. You just, all these things you have to do. Because if you mess them up, the bear's gonna that's not good.

It's gonna kill you. It's I don't know. We should wear snake boots, but we don't see that many of them. And then all of a sudden whack, because you weren't wearing your boots. You get hit. And I'm just like, that's the worst kind of predator. One that makes you like slack off. Cause it's not that big of an issue, but it could still mess up your life if you got bit by one.

Yeah, that's probably a good way to put it. Like I said, I didn't wear my snake Gators this year. I was like, ah, they're too hot. I'm not really hunting any areas that are real thick and nasty. So I'll be good without them. And I didn't encounter any, but. Watch I'm gonna go out next weekend scouting and sure enough.

I'll run into one or almost step on one I sure hope [00:23:00] you don't and I just Yeah, maybe some type of like lightweight but breathable snake gator. I don't know maybe An anti venom lined pant, so as soon as you get bit, like it also administers the anti venom, like just crazy, I know the act of actually getting bit is a lot more fear, like it's not, it's gonna feel like someone hit you with a hammer, which I've hit myself with a hammer before, and I'm here to tell the tale, so it's not like that's the end of the world, but.

Also the fear, but, and then every just logistically, like antivenom costs a shit ton getting to a hospital if you have to get flighted out cause you're deep in and it starts to swell up, I mean there's just endless things that could go wrong and it's just I have a medical bills for years, if you get bit by a snake and it's just all of these things that I'm just none of it's good, like none of it's positive, at least when you're hunting grizzly bear country, they got big elk.

Yeah, I've thought about that for years. It's there's got to be some way to create like a [00:24:00] real breathable and lightweight gator. That's also, needle proof essentially, cause that's what their fangs are super small and thin, but I haven't thought of it yet, but when I do, that's maybe my next million dollar idea, but.

You're right. That it's the, it's not going to kill you, but it's the aftermath of potentially getting bit by one that, man, just don't even want to think about. No. And I've heard that dogs for the most part, just shake it off after a few days, like it'll mess them up for a bit, but you don't really have to do much.

They'll just find it off. But people like. If you don't get the antivenom, there's a good chance it can kill you. Yeah, or at the very least, you might get, something amputated. But I've had plenty of dogs growing up get bit, and they'll swell up for a few days, but for the most part, they've just shrug it off and keep going.

They learn their lesson, they don't mess with snakes after that, but it doesn't, doesn't kill them or anything, which is weird, because they're a lot smaller than us, too. [00:25:00] Yeah, that is weird. We're just weak. We as humans have just, yeah, gotten very weak as the generations have gone by.

Yeah, no, we are. And I just, I don't know, snakes is just one of those things like... I'm almost less of I know a bear encounter would be way worse than a snake encounter, but I'm almost less afraid of the bear encounter because there's a good chance I'm gonna see it coming. I'm like, oh shit, there's a bear, this probably isn't gonna go well.

Versus a snake, it's one of those things where like, when you don't know it's there and it just sneaks up on you it just, the thought of it makes it worse. And I feel like, I've never hunted in grizzly country for the record, but I feel like a lot of the times you could... See an encounter coming and do something to avoid it.

Hey, there's a bear or this is bear country. Let's make noise while we're hiking or whatever. You have your protection, whatever. But like you said. Yeah, you don't see the snake until it's too late. You're stepping on it. Usually. Yeah. Yeah, usually I think a lot of times there's some people get surprised by bears too.

I mean it happens, [00:26:00] but very few Hunters get killed by bears. I mean I think on, I think we just had one a couple of years ago or the last year, an outfitter got killed by a bear, which is really sad, but overall, statistically, like out of all bear encounters, very few hunters actually get killed because of what you're talking about.

They see it coming. There's preventative measures. There's protective actions. There's a lot of things you can do to help your chances. A lot of times just a bear mauling isn't lethal. They won't try to kill you, they're just trying to defend their cubs, or... There's a lot of things at play.

With the snake thing, it's there's not really much to do other than wear snake boots or snake gaiters, and hope you don't get hit. Yeah, and it's not too common around here either. In fact, the few snake bites that you hear about every year is usually like young kids that are out playing, so as hunters, you don't really hear about it.

And I think that's because we are watching where we're going, make too much noise, or you're looking for sheds on the ground or whatever. So you're keeping an eye on where you're walking. [00:27:00] But it's something that's always in the back of my mind, except December, January, again, I know people that have found them in December, January, but I've never ran across one either those months.

So I'm in the back of my mind, I'm like carefree when I'm out hunting. If you're looking forward to another fall of hunting big bucks, but you're tired of freezing your tail off or getting busted by does, head over to maverickhunting. com and check out their Maverick and Booner blinds. Both series are incredibly easy to set up and get out in the woods.

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Go to maverickhunting. com and use the code westernrookie. That's one word to save 10%. That's right, 10 percent on your maverick hunting blinds. We were just in New Mexico in April shed hunting and the guy's Oh, there's snakes here, but we don't really see them. And I was like, all right, whatever, running around all day long.

But yeah, there's some stiff, steep stuff, some rocks. Looking back, I'd never thought of snakes and we're climbing up rock cliffs and. Doing all kinds of stuff. And I'm like, Oh, I was surprised we didn't see a snake then. Cause you'd think by April they'd be coming out. Yeah. And I think your elevation has a lot to play, a lot to do with it as well.

We were low, which I don't think it's good. Oh yeah. Like we'll go shed hunting, in higher elevations in April, May. And I don't think I've ever ran across too many up there. But the second you drop down into those lower elevations, like it's always. Alright, here we go. Got to keep an eye out. We were in like the Mesa country of northern New Mexico.[00:29:00]

I don't know how many snakes are in that area, but it was, nothing was high elevation. You'd go up 300 feet and then down 300 feet. It's just mesas, yeah, that's, I don't know, what's the, I've never seen a live rattlesnake in the wild. I saw a dead one once when we went to the Devil's Tower in Nebraska or whatever, Chimney Rock in Nebraska.

The parking lot for the visitor center has a sign that says beware of rattlesnakes. I'm like, yeah, whatever. They probably just have to put the sign there. And so I'm walking on the sidewalk and I look down and a foot off the sidewalk, there's a rattlesnake. And I'm like, oh shit. And I jump and ran. And then we look back to investigate and it was missing a head.

And someone already killed it, and I'm like, oh my god, that's crazy. And then we walk up and there's, a bloody shovel right next to the door of the visitor center. And so I asked, and they're like, yeah, the lady that went to hang the flag this morning found it. It was right underneath the flagpole.

I'm like, seriously? And she's oh yeah, that's like the eighth one we've killed this year. And it was like June. And I'm like, Oh my gosh, I [00:30:00] would not be able to handle this pressure. Jeez. Yeah. Some years they're bad. Some years they're not this year. I haven't personally ran into a lot, but my dad, where I grew up, my childhood home, he still lives there.

He's killed, I think probably eight or nine this year in his yard. Just use a shovel or what's the best way. Yeah. Shovel. Yeah. That's generally, if you're out hunting and you have a gun on you, you can try to shoot it, but usually a big, solid rock or a shovel is probably your best bet.

Yeah. And all these randos that pick them up. Oh my God. There's, isn't there a lot of people that will go catch snakes, even if they're poisonous. Like Steve Irwin used to do it all the time. I just, I don't understand it. I completely don't understand like the whole risk reward calculation in my mind.

Doesn't even register. What are you going to do with the poisonous snake? Once you do catch it? No, I'm the [00:31:00] same way. I didn't want nothing to do with them. And again that's why I live all year, save up all my vacation time at work for December, January. Those are the two prime months around here.

Okay. So as Coos, would you say Coos deer is your, Like overall main the main thing you hunt or if you had to pick like your Slogan species, like what would it be? Is it the Coos deer hunt in December January? Like you said, there's an elk or No, I'd probably say Coos deer. I love elk hunting as much as anybody but even as a resident here in Arizona, tags are hard to get.

Yeah. I think I've only had in my entire life, two archery elk tags here. And I've had two in New Mexico as a non resident. So I've actually drawn just as many tags as a non resident in New Mexico as my home state. But. I think if I hunted elk a little more, maybe I'd, mean that way, but these coos deer, man, they're addicting and you can hunt [00:32:00] them a lot of different times of the year from, August to January.

Yeah, it does really come down to what are you able to hunt? What's your opportunity? But I did see, your New Mexico bull for sure, obviously, it's pinned on your page, but that is a toad of a bull, and so I was just curious, because you, it seems like you've had success with very mature animals in both species, so I was just curious what your thoughts were on which one's the preference, but you're right, if it's two tags and a light, so far, a tag every decade.

It's hard to say that's what I hunt. And oh, so you only hunt one year every decade. You're like, yeah, pretty much. And with elk, I try to get out every year with friends or family when they have tags or I've been meaning to head up, do Colorado or something, and I'm building points in other States, but.

For my own hunts and tags, it's just take what you can get. But that New Mexico bull so far is my biggest bull to date, [00:33:00] but he. Was not expected. I was going to shoot whatever, cause it was a very mid tier unit that I was hunting. So any branch antler bull was going to be on the hit list on that hunt, but I got lucky.

Yeah. So in New Mexico, for those that don't know, there's no point system, which is really great. I really like it. It's just a straight lottery. Some units are better than others. So they get more apps and maybe have less tags. And I think what the Hila is like. 2, 3 percent chance of drawing that tag versus some of the other places are like 35 percent chance.

And I suppose that's still just archery. If you pick some of these nuanced seasons, maybe like a late rifle or. Maybe you can even get a little bit better chances. But is that how you approach it? You're wearing the go hunt hat. So I, assume you're using the insider and you're like, ah, 20 percent seems like a good level.

What's my best 20 percent unit that I could go to? Or do you have like just specific units you want to hunt because of the landscape? The unit that I killed that bull [00:34:00] in, I've actually hunted for years for deer, just because it's close by where I live, I don't live too far from New Mexico.

And so over the years of hunting deer in New Mexico, I saw the occasional elk. I was like, I want to hunt elk here. And I drew an Archie tag in that unit. This was years ago and had a good hunt. Didn't end up killing anything, but saw some good bulls and was like, all right, I want to hunt this again. And so with New Mexico, you get three options, right?

You got your first choice, second, third. And so what I'll usually do is my first choice on swinging for the fences and putting a hunt that I really want. And then my second and third, I'm applying for really high odds hunts. I just want to tag so I can go hunting. And even though this unit is definitely what I would consider a mid tier unit for elk, I'm still putting it as my first choice just because I know it pretty well.

It's close by so I could scout it. And that's what led to my bull last year [00:35:00] is I drew my first choice, which was. And I had already hunted it before for deer and for elk at that point. So I hit the ground running and it helped out a lot. Oh, I think that's. I think very helpful to have experience in a unit.

I think you can overcome that. If you draw a true glory tag and you do lots of research, like that might make it easier to tag out. But other than like glory tags, just having an experience in the unit, I think is by far the best. Oh, just curious. How often, out of 10 years, how often do you think you could draw that same tag?

In New Mexico. Is it like one out of 10, one, two times in a decade? I think my hope is I'm going to be drawn at every two to three years. So that tracks I've drawn it about every third year I've applied for it. I've had it twice now. So you get full. So yeah, throughout your lifetime, you're going to get plenty of experience in that unit and just better and better every time.

[00:36:00] Yeah. Cause that's the problem as much as I love New Mexico system. For how simple it is and how, some of these states like Colorado is true preference. I'm mathematically out of the running forever drawing a northwestern glory tang into Colorado. Because I'm so far behind on points.

It'll take they're like, oh, it's a 29 point draw. So in 29 years, I'll draw it. It's no, because there might be, if there's, 10, 000 people ahead of me in the point scale that are applying for that unit and they're giving out a hundred tags a year. It's gonna take a thousand years, right?

Is that the math? A hundred years. It's gonna take a hundred years. to cycle through all those people ahead of me, which is point creep. And so I'm going to have to live a hundred years. So by the time I could draw, it's going to be a hundred point unit. And I'm obviously not going to be around a hundred years from now.

So that's the I'm mathematically out of the running. The same thing for a lot of the MSG takes, like the moose, sheep and goat takes and the lower 48, [00:37:00] you're just mathematically out because they give away three tags a year and there's a hundred thousand people that want one. And that, That's really come into play in my strategy for building points and all these other states, I've stopped applying for points for certain species or even certain states based on, point creep.

And just, it feels like I was just throwing away that money every year because mathematically. I'll probably never draw the tag I really want. So it's either cash in when I have, or just, again, with the sheep and moose and stuff like that, I'm almost in my mind, I was like, I'm better off saving that money and application fees and license fees and everything.

Saving that money and just doing like an Alaska moose hunt or something. You know what I mean, or whatever Ontario British Columbia the sheep thing. There is not a good solution for this. There's not Moose hunting there's still some good options there really is. Sheep hunting, if you want to be a sheep hunter, get a good job.

Yeah. And when I say good job, I mean [00:38:00] get a phenomenal job. Go figure out how you can make 250 grand a year. And then you could probably sheep hunt. And then you could sheep hunt a little more than the average person. The average person, so it's like 000, 80, 000 for a sheep hunt these days.

And so it's imagine that, imagine spending 80, 000 on a one week vacation and like the impact that has to your family. Now, if you're a single person making three, four, 500, 000 a year, yeah, you probably do whatever you want, but if you're making that much money and you got a family, like you have a house, you probably have a mortgage, you probably have cars, bills, kids.

Everything just adds. And now you're going to go spend 80, 000 on this hunt. It's just yeah. Sheep are cool, but are they that cool? Is it, that's where I'm at. I would love to do the hunt. And if it was 10, 000, maybe I'd do it one day, but. By the time I it's point creep by the time I saved the money, it's going to be 140, 000 to do a sheep hunt instead of 80, 000.

It's am I going to spend the average house in [00:39:00] America to shoot a sheep? No, I agree. I've been looking at prices for hunts like that just recently. So I'm thinking about selling one of my investment properties next year. And with that money, I'm like, man, I want to go do like a bucket list hunt.

And for the money I could spend on like a sheep hunt. In my mind, I'm like, man, I could go on three or four or five other hunts for the same price, I don't have one species that I'm just like, man, I got to go hunt sheep. I'm more of man, I want to go to Alaska, but I could go do like a caribou hunt or moose hunt or even a mountain go hunt in Alaska for a fraction of the price of a doll sheep hunt.

So that's where I'm at too. I'm just like... I'd love to do it. And the adventure aspect of it seems amazing, but for the price, it's man, I could go on some Epic hunts, a few of them for the same price. Yeah and I, first of all, you brought up a curiosity of mine. Cause I'm very, I have another podcast, a business [00:40:00] entrepreneurship podcast called two bucks.

So the bucks that grow antlers and the bucks that pay for them. But so when you say investment property, I'd almost be like. If it were me, I'd probably scale, sell the investment property, take the equity gains you've had over the years, scale up into a new one, and it's like, how do we get this investment property situation so that it's cash flowing my sheep hunt, because man, like I hear you, you work so hard to build up or like you work so hard to get the savings and it's just Yeah.

Gone. That's where I'd, go back to the same thing, like a hundred and whatever thousand dollars to do a sheep hunt one day versus I could buy a farm for that. Like I could buy a 40 acre whitetail farm somewhere. I could shoot a hundred deer off of it in my lifetime. And it's an investment.

I didn't lose my money because it's still there, so yeah, like you said, there's so many things you can do. And that's one species where I don't have a great option. I use GoHunt. I've got, I think I just looked it up. I've got 89 points across the West. Different states and different species and some states are like, [00:41:00] yeah, I don't know when I'm gonna cash these in Utah I don't have no idea when I'm gonna cash in my Utah points Colorado, I buy it points in Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, Arizona, and I have a pretty good plan Wyoming, Montana are the general units.

So we just cycle back and forth I think Wyoming right now is in between three and a four point draw Montana's 012 kind of, they got a goofy system, but you can typically get it every other year as of right now, which is going to get worse. Colorado, over the counter, we fill in the gaps. And so it'll be like Wyoming, Montana I'll flip it over, Montana, Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, and then Montana, Wyoming, because of the Wyoming one kind of really throws a wrench in it when you can only go once every four years, confident.

And then the points in Colorado, I'm looking for that mid tier, that unit that's gonna set aside, set aside a significant difference between over the counter. So [00:42:00] less pressure, maybe just that one step up in quality by no means a trophy unit. Like I'm not wasting 20 years. I'm, this is, I'm thinking five to 10 and then Arizona part of the strategy I have is really targeting that next level, maybe not quite like a limited, like a once in a lifetime, maybe not quite like a true trophy.

Like I'm probably not looking for what is, what are some of the trophy areas in Arizona? Cause the Gila is a new Mexico, right? Nine and ten. Yeah, one and twenty seven. Yeah. Yeah, maybe one step down for that We're like there's the potential for a solid bowl, 350 370 they're here. You got to work for them though.

Not the unit 10 where it's yeah, you can I'm not looking for 400 potential I'm looking for there could be a 370 but just shooting a 320 a 330 a great ball and so that might be like a 10 year unit with late something like late archery or late rifle, not [00:43:00] obviously like the first season archery, that unit probably goes 15, 20 points.

And so that's the cycle that I use. Now I have the points in Nevada. I don't know why I have points in Utah. I don't know why. Probably cause I've listened to too many Ryan Carter podcasts talking about giant elk and the Dutton and the plateau. But I'll burn them eventually.

But then you have the wildcards like New Mexico and Idaho. Idaho is an over the counter option again, just like Colorado. And then New Mexico, that's, that can be your wildcard state. I could apply for the Gila every year in New Mexico and I might get it once, maybe twice in my lifetime. And so that's my elk strategy.

And since I got out of high school or college, I've done one a year. And then one year I got two. I did draw, I drew out once in a lifetime in North Dakota, but that strategy has served us good. We obviously don't tag out. We've never tagged out in our group, but we've generally. I think our average is at least one bull a year.[00:44:00]

So not bad. As long as you're hunting every year, I think a lot of guys, at least here where even as a resident, you could go 10, 15 years without, an elk tag, a lot of guys just aren't hunting elk, and they're losing that experience. So you got to find something. It's funny, the difference.

People in Arizona go, yeah, I hunt elk once every 10 years. Cause it's so hard to draw in my state. The difference is it is so hard to draw in Minnesota. There is six tags a year and there's a hundred thousand people that apply for them. And so it's if I don't leave my state, I'm never going to hunt elk.

And so it, because we're so much harder to draw. Virtually zero, like you have to leave. And then once you're in that mindset of traveling, then it's easy to like we do it every year. We just go to Wyoming this year or Colorado. It doesn't matter. We go every year versus someone like Eric, like you said, in Arizona, we're like I just go every 10 years.

Cause that's how long it takes to draw a state. But since it's like in that middle zone where it's possible. It's almost like they never think I could just go to [00:45:00] another state. I could go to Colorado and a lot of people do, but some people are probably trapped in that mindset. And I think that's it because yeah, on average, you can guess when you're going to draw a tag, but there's always that chance you could draw any given year, my dad, he drew three Arizona archery elk tags in a great unit three years in a row.

Oh my gosh. That's just unheard of, but it can happen. I'm not that lucky. I've never done anything like that I think people hold on to that hope and then when it doesn't happen They're like maybe next year and don't aren't willing to go anywhere else that does It does complicate things.

So two things there, like New Mexico, it's great that their system is set up the way it is. I really do like it. Cause the whole point group thing, I just, ah, man, I don't like it. It doesn't make me feel good knowing there's certain units I'll never be able to hunt, like mathematically, never zero unless giant change happens in legislation, tag allocation, [00:46:00] herd, popular, tons of things would have to change for me to ever hunt the Northwest corner of Colorado. So I like that. What I don't like about it is you can also never plan on it. And then you have we have eight guys in our archery group. First of all, not a lot of units in New Mexico have eight non resident tanks.

So right off the bat, we can't apply for any of those places. And the chances of all of us getting drawn are virtually zero. Cause we basically have to get drawn on the first app, right? Other depends on how every state does their non resident apps, right? So some states will look at it. And they'll say we have 8 non resident tags.

If this group of party of 8 draws on the first one, great, they get the 8 tags. If they draw on the second one, there's not 8 tags left, so they get kicked out. Other states will say they drew, so we'll just increase it to 15 this year. You know what I mean? It can get goofy. Some states do it both ways, and you got to keep that in mind. The other thing is you got to front the money in New Mexico. So you got 1, 200 sitting out there and then you have other jobs. And it's what happens if I drew New Mexico, but I also drew Wyoming and maybe [00:47:00] Wyoming, you have to look up what their return policies are.

Obviously you're not returning the New Mexico tag because that's the good one. And, it's not like you get your point, so it's, it gets messy to try to apply to these places that you can't bank on odds, too. So it's not like it's there's no silver bullet, really. You just got to.

Roll the dice and blow with the wind. Yeah. Try to make the most of it when it does happen. I, the first year I applied for New Mexico, it wasn't the first year. I've been hunting deer there for years, but started making a little more money at my day job. So I'm like, I'm going to apply for elk and antelope and, some of these other species.

And that first year I applied for elk, antelope. Deer and Barbary sheep, and I do all four of them. I was out all that money, and then I had to, ration out my vacation time at work. And then I had Arizona hunts as well. So it ended up being a great year. That's the year I killed that great buck, antelope buck in New [00:48:00] Mexico.

And I hunted that elk unit. I didn't kill elk, but I got familiar with it as far as elk goes. I killed a Barbary sheep and everything else and had a great time, but you can't bank on things. You just when they come and you got to make the most of it. Yeah. Is the Barbary sheep what I'm looking at?

Or is this an, did you shoot an Ibex as well? If I've only killed the Barbary sheep, I haven't drawn an Ibex. Yeah. I'm not familiar with some of these exotics, but yeah, a few of them. Yeah. Isn't that crazy? Like some, like in Texas is like. All of the, like every animal on planet earth, you can find one in Texas.

Yep. Yeah. If there's ever something you want to kill, I'm pretty sure Texas has it. And it's probably no season. So you can just go do it. Yeah, I think so. I've never hunted Texas, so I'm not positive, but New Mexico's got a couple of exotics that I've only drawn the Barbary and they're a lot of fun.

They remind me of Coos deer, honestly. They live in the same [00:49:00] kind of habitat. Really? And they, the way you hunt them is just super similar. They've been a lot of fun. We try to, usually somebody in our group draws a tag every year. So they're a lot of fun to hunt, but I'm holding out for either an Oryx or an Ibex tag.

That's what I want to do next, but. Those are a lot harder to draw. So yeah, they are for sure. My next, obviously I would love to shoot a big bull elk with my bow. Who wouldn't, but aside from that, I really want a mule deer tag in a unit that's good enough to pass on bucks. I've never, I've always had general units and it's always been like really tough drought years.

Not a lot of deer. It's you better shoot the first like branch antlered buck cause it's going to be the last. And I have, and I've taken out every time, but it's, just it's to me, it's a different hunt when it's shoot the first, like I got to shoot the first one.

Like I have, I would rather be able to look at a deer and appreciate it and really take a deep look at them and be like, is he the one? I don't [00:50:00] know. We'll come back to him later. We'll go find another one. Like how you antelope hunt and there's not a lot of units like that, especially as a non resident where you can't glass and scout and really know these areas.

But that's one thing I'd really love to do. And I don't have like dreams of a 200 or anything. I just want to shoot a nice. Four by four with a good frame, nice forks, I'd be tickled pink with 150, 160 inch mule deer. I just want to look at something. Yeah. Come down to Arizona in January.

That's a fun time to hunt mule deer as well. That's when you get a, really take a look at everything that's really out there because they're hard to find other times of the year, the general rifle hunts and whatnot. But when that rut kicks in December, January, it brings all those big desert mule deer bucks out of the flats where they're hard to find.

And I've gotten on some amazing deer in January of my bow, but I've yet to connect on one of those giants. I, every year [00:51:00] I get distracted by the coos deer, but you look down into the, you look down into the mule deer country, man, there's some good bucks down there. When is when is the, I think shooting them with a bow is more fun, but there's something to be said for the confidence I have behind my 300 wind mag and a 25 power scope with a bipod and I'm like, you're dead.

As soon as I pull this trigger, you're dead. And so when's the rifle season in New Mexico or Arizona? Is it really hard to draw like a rifle mule deer tag in some of those places? A general rifle tag in like October, November, they're actually pretty easy. Yeah. They have a few units where they have a December trophy hunt and those can be pretty hard to get.

But if you want to go, October, November, obviously it's going to be a lot warmer, but those ones aren't too bad to draw. Yeah. And then the archery, like the December, January during the rut is archery only, unless you get one of those trophy tags. Yeah. It wouldn't, I'm not. Listen, [00:52:00] it would be a great skill set to start getting good at of spot stock.

Game, which is not something I do a lot of, cause we tree stand hunt mostly. And then elk hunting isn't really spot and stock. When we do black timber, we're calling, right? And so I don't really do a lot of spot and stock. So it'd be a great skill to start practicing and start getting good at. Cause you got to shoot a lot more game, especially units like that.

If you can spot and stock some mule deer, but yeah, I wouldn't be opposed, man. I definitely wouldn't be opposed. It sounds like a fun time and nothing else is going on. Other than blowing snow up here in Minnesota. Nothing else in January going on. Yeah. It falls in pretty good with, a lot of other States and the way the seasons fall, it gives you something to do and.

Especially January. I don't feel like there's a whole lot of other hunts going on. So no not up here anyway, pretty much everything closes up end of the year. And so you people ice fish, I don't do a lot of ice fishing and I would definitely trade ice fishing for a mule deer hunt, don't get me wrong there, but yeah, and then February I start, usually start up [00:53:00] a little shed hunting and then hit that hard through April, usually by May I'm done unless I'm going out West, yeah. Great time. Great thing to fit it in. Especially we have a week shutdown at my company, the entire, like it's usually about a 12 day shutdown that covers like Christmas to New Year's. So maybe not 12. Yeah. It's usually 12 days. And so obviously I got to do that Christmas thing, but I can still do like a five day vacation.

Yeah. I think I'm going to do that this year. I didn't draw a lot of tags, so I've taken off. Almost the whole month of December. I've saved up all my vacation. My job's not very happy with me, but I'm like, Hey, I got nothing else to do this year. And that's when I'm going to use it. And they're like, all right, we'll see you in January.

Yeah, it works. Or can you bank vacation? No, I got to use it by end of the year. So my, my, my vacation time will reset come January. And I try not to burn too much [00:54:00] of it in January. Every now and then I'll take a couple of days here and there. I'm on a good buck or something, and, the hunting's good, but I have a pretty good work schedule anyway, where I get five days off in a row, I'll work five and then I'm off five.

Oh yeah, that's awesome. I try not to take too much vacation in case I get elk tags or something later in the year. I can take more time off. So yeah, that's phenomenal. So cool. Whenever I draw that Arizona archery mule deer tag, I'll let you know. Then we can tell you, I don't even care if you tell me where the deer are.

Just tell me where the rattlesnakes aren't. And I know it's January, so there's not going to be a lot of them, but I still want to be prepared. Yeah. You'll be set in January. Not a lot of them running around anyway. Good. That's perfect. But man, Steven, it's been a great podcast. Having you on here in a little bit.

I don't think we've ever done a Coos Deer episode. I'd call this a Coos Deer episode. I don't think we've ever done that. Cool option. We didn't even get into some of the other stuff like javelina or shed hunting that you [00:55:00] do. But we'll have to get you back on and talk about javelina cause that's another thing that would be on my list of.

I don't know, not bucket list. I feel like when you say bucket list, it's got to be like an Alaskan Yukon moose and a doll sheep. It's it's on bucket list, but I just want to shoot. I want to shoot a hundred. Yeah. They're a lot of fun with a bow too. And it's in January as well. So you get two birds with one stone, deer and javelina with your bow.

And it's warm so I can convince my wife it's a vacation, not a hunt. There you go. Awesome. Thanks for being here, Steven. Real quick, before we wrap up, give people a chance to follow you, run through where they can connect with you, follow along with all your adventures. Where can they find you at?

You just follow me on Instagram. I do a little bit on Tik TOK as well, but just master the hunt on Instagram, Tik TOK, or my YouTube. So find me there. Perfect. We can put the links in the show notes for anyone that wants to follow along and [00:56:00] learn a little bit more about Coos deer hunting from you.

And we'll go with that. Cool. I appreciate it, man. Awesome. Thank you for being here, Steven. And thank you for listening folks.