Australian Hunter

Mountain desert Coues whitetail deer

It was January and I was hunting the diminutive Coues deer in the mountain desert of Sonora, Mexico. The Coues deer are about half the size of the northern whitetail, a mature buck weighing around 60kg (132lb). These were the favourite deer of esteemed writer Jack O’Connor, which he hunted in Arizona and Sonora. He wrote that they are cleverer and harder to hunt than their bigger, northern whitetail counterparts.

From 1858 to 1886, the legendary Apache Indian war chief, Geronimo, led his warriors into battle against the Mexican Military in Sonora and Chihuahua, as well as fighting against the US Army in Arizona and New Mexico. In 1865, one of the US Army’s surgeons stationed in Arizona was a famous naturalist named Lieutenant Elliott Coues. Lieutenant Coues was more interested in collecting specimens of birds and other fauna than fighting the Indian Wars. Often, he would go looking for some new specimen and find an Apache Indian hiding in the bushes. However, Coues did not obtain an example of what would later be called Coues deer.

The first recorded case taken by a scientist was shot by Dr CBR Kennerly in 1855. He announced that these small deer were a new species of deer. It was Dr Joseph Rothrock, another Army surgeon, who obtained a specimen in 1874 and stated that these were not a new variety of deer, only

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