Coues …..Elfin Deer of the Desert Southwest

March 17, 2023

Even though we didn’t see any mammals while visiting the Tucson region last December, we knew they must’ve seen us! But little (pun intended) did we know, a diminutive elfin deer, the Coues Whitetail, was probably among the mix of critters observing us as we explored the area.

This tiny deer, with its oversized ears and flashing tail, is a native species found in the mountainous desert regions of the extreme Southwest and south into Mexico. 

A good friend, Jim Silva, who has hunted this species in southwest New Mexico, shared one of his skull mounts with me. Since sketching the skull and an antler, I’ve learned a bit about the Coues deer, including the highlights included on my journal pages.

“Coues” is most properly pronounced “cows” (but more commonly pronounced “cooz”), is also known as the Arizona Whitetail or Fantail.  Having lived in eastern North Carolina for a number of years, we are well familiar with the Eastern Whitetail, a small enough deer when compared to our local Mule Deer.  But it’s hard to imagine a deer smaller than the Eastern Whitetail.  Now we’re ready to return to the mountains of the Southwest and search for the Coues deer! Maybe late spring when there’s a chance of seeing a few fawns too!

What’s on your nature agenda for this spring? Ours is filling up fast!

Until next time! 




2 Comments

  1. Wow, they really are a small deer! The skull and antler drawings are excellent, really showing the depth in the skull and the rough surface of the antler. It would be so interesting to know which wildlife has been watching us without our knowledge — far more than we ever see, I suspect! Kind of eery to think about! Our spring is slow starting this year, but we saw our first butterfly of the season yesterday — a Mourning Cloak!!!

    Like

    1. Actual butterflies! No way! (We’ve had tiger moth cats crawling along the trails ….. nothing but flys with wings tho)! I always imagine some critter out there watching my every move, with only the occasional cameo appearance. It is eerie! Thanks for the comments, Karen!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s