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Buck light

Sports Afield, Dec 2001 by Parker, Jameson

Why so many hunters are stalking the diminitive Cones whitetail

THE CODES DEER (it's pronounced "cows," though no one does) is a subspecies of the whitetail, but hunting them bears the same relationship to whitetail hunting that stock car racing does to negotiating your way through the supermarket parking lot on Thanksgiving weekend. Forget sitting in a stand. Think of climbing 1,500 feet of loose, volcanic shale to glass with a 60X spotting scope.

Forget rolling farmland and hardwood forest. Think of using your Leatherman to pull cactus spines out of a sensitive and intimate portion of your anatomy Forget thermal underwear. Think of shaking scorpions out of your boots in the morning.

Brad Ruddell, vice president of Weatherby, called to invite me to hunt with him in the San Antonio Mountains on the western slope of the Sierra Madres in Sonora, Mexico, and I had my passport in hand before I hung up the phone. The Coues is North America's second smallest deer (the smallest is the endangered Florida Keys deer), weighing in between 90 and 110 pounds. The largest Coues-if that's not an oxymoron-are found in Mexico.

These beautiful little deer-they look like a whitetail that's been left on the high-heat, spin-dry cycle too long-- were named, eponymously, by Elliot Coues, an Army lieutenant, amateur biologist, serious ornithologist, and an editor of Lewis and Clark's journals, who was stationed in Arizona in the 1880s. Initially thought to be a separate species, Coues deer are found only in Mexico and along the border in Arizona, New Mexico, and southeastern California.

This is harsh and rugged land and in Mexico, by law, you must hunt with a licensed outfitter We were hunting with Kirk Kelso, owner of Pusch Ridge Outfitters, who has six different ranches, totaling approximately 70,000 acres, under private lease. The ranches are roughly 20 miles from the nearest paved road, and in Mexico, that means really back of beyond.

Here, hunting is done by the glass-and-- stalk method normally associated with mule deer, elk, and even sheep. The distances are so great, and the deer so small, that it takes a while to educate your eye to find them. Firstrate optics are paramount, and the stronger, the better I was hunting with a pair of 10x40s and found them barely adequate. Brad was better equipped with 15X binoculars mounted on a tripod, but even so we were continually taking turns with our guide's 60X spotting scope.

Our guide was Jim Reynolds, a Tucson native who has devoted his hunting life-his wife might just say his entire life-to Coues deer. Only two men have bagged more trophy-book Coues deer than Jim, and his expertise proved invaluable. Not only is it hard to find these animals, but it is extremely difficult to judge their racks. Coues deer are subject to a biological law known as Bergmann's Rule, which states that the farther from the equator members of a given species exist, the greater their body mass will be. They are also subject to a biological law known as Allen's Rule, which states that the extremities of warm-blooded animals will be smaller in the colder (northern) part of their range than in the warmer (southern) part.

What this all means is that, once you have found a Coues buck, you are looking at an animal with a small body and very large ears and tail, so good luck judging the rack. Twice, on the first day, we saw bucks that interested me, but Jim just laughed. And when we finally found a buck that he deemed worthy of stalking, I couldn't see the difference.

In addition to good optics, bring sturdy boots and an accurate, flat-shooting rifle in whatever caliber you feel most comfortable with. Any of the Weatherby magnums, from .257 through .300, would serve you well. I was shooting a .300, Weatherby Magnum built on their Outfitter model and was delighted with it. You may take more than one deer in Mexico, and I was lucky enough to have two tags. My first shot was at 254 yards, close for Coues deer, my second was over 400, a shot I would never have attempted without a magnum cartridge and bipod.

There were six of us in camp and at the end of the week, all six of us had taken deer. While they were all excellent trophies, three of the heads qualified as record-book Coues deer-the biggest of the smallest.

Copyright Sports Afield, Inc. Dec 2001
Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved


Great outdoor inventions: Leatherman

Sports Afield, Dec 2001 by Parker, Jameson

Sometimes invention is born out of frustration as much as necessity. A young engineer named Tim Leatherman was traveling through Europe in 1975 on a low-budget trip. Like all young people on low-budget trips, Leatherman frequently found himself confronted with unreliable cars and equally unreliable hotel plumbing. With only a standard scout's knife at hand, he quickly became aware of all the tools he was missing, especially a set of full-sized pliers.

He made notes of what he really needed, making the first mockup out of cardboard while in Tehran. When he returned home he set to work in his garage to design a combination knife and pocket tool. Eight years later, after experimenting with hundreds of prototypes, he and Steve Berliner founded the Leatherman Tool Group and started production of the PST (Personal Survival Tool), the original Leatherman Tool.

Today, there are 11 different tools available to meet almost any need, and the company is poised to introduce a new, colorful, pocket-sized line called the Juice.

All really useful, well-designed, well-- manufactured tools have a wealth of stories about the various tasks they have performed, but Leatherman tools in particular seem to lend themselves to saving people in a variety of unusual situations. Among other things, they have been used to cut loose a woman trapped under 12 feet of water; remove a fish bone caught in a man's throat; free a 26-foot boat that became entangled with a 40-ton whale; and, by the author, cut a horse free from a field-wire fence. . But perhaps the most bizarreand sporting-story involved a Leatherman that was used to cut loose a 175-pound lawyer caught on a salmon fly. Widely known for their cunning and tenacity, lawyers prove an especially challenging quarry for the fly.

-Jameson Parker

Copyright Sports Afield, Inc. Dec 2001
Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved


Mississppi whitetails

Sports Afield, Jun 2001 by Parker, Jameson


MISSISSIPPI HAS AN ABUNDANT DEER population, long hunting season (November 17 to January 31, if you include the muzzleloading season), and some very big bucks. In the rolling hills about an hour southwest of Jackson, Hickory Hills Hunting Preserve sits on 12,000 acres (2,000 of which are high-fenced).

For the past five years Hickory Hill's Sean and Shannon Adams have been aggressively managing their deer herd for maximum antler size. Combining careful culling with supplemental feed and mineral blocks, they have succeeded in producing some magnificent bucks in the 170 to 190 Boone and Crockett class.

The land is a heavily forested mixture of pine and hardwood, with hunting done over clear-cuts, old pastures, or where controlled bums have thinned out the heavy cover. Stands range from the portable metal variety to permanent, roofed, Texas-style towers that comfortably accommodate both hunter and guide. Shots typically range from about 75 to 150 yards.

In addition to a memorable hunt, visitors to Hickory Hill enjoy first-class accommodations and sumptuous Southern-style meals in a stunning antebellum lodge. For more information, contact Shannon Adams at 601/535-2723.

-Jameson Parker

Copyright Sports Afield, Inc. Jun 2001
Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved


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