null Skip to Main Content
2023 Southwest Deer Season Forecast

Brow Tines and Backstrap

2023 Southwest Deer Season Forecast

Posted 2023-09-07  by  Josh Honeycutt

See how each state in the Southwestern region is shaping up for deer season

The 2023 deer season is here, and with it comes our annual Southwest deer season forecast. Most of the Southwestern states remain unchanged year to year, but there are some notable things to discuss. For the most part, the 2023 deer season looks bright in the Southwest.

Image: ImageBy_John_Hafner_SW

Deer season looks promising in the Southwest. Image by John Hafner


Arizona is arguably the best destination for Coues deer. Coues are commonly hunted at 3,500 to 7,500 feet. Some of the best (and most successful) units for these cagey deer include 22, 24A, 29, 31, 33, 34B, 35A and 35B. Rough terrain is more attractive to these reclusive animals than spots that are easier to navigate.

Best, a high percentage of the state’s Coues deer are on public land. Therefore, it’s a DIY deer hunter’s dream. With some effort and maybe a wink from the Big Guy upstairs, you can come here and pull a 110-inch buck from the scrubby landscape.

Full Report


Colorado isn’t home to many whitetails (only about 25,000). That said, historically, it’s been good where they existed. Things changed this past winter, though.

Unfortunately, the winter of 2022-23 was the worst Colorado experienced in the past 70 years. To find food, thousands of animals migrated farther west, which caused them to burn more fat, which is critical for wildlife to survive the winter. For many, it led to starvation.

Full Report

New Mexico

The second-best state for Coues deer, New Mexico has a good bit to offer. However, it’s known more for mule deer. That said, Coues deer roam the southwestern corner. It’s also the only state that offers Coues whitetails and the Texanus subspecies.

Unfortunately for DIY trippers, this is a draw state, and the odds of getting a tag aren’t great. Those who hope to draw must deal with about 85% of licenses going to residents, 10% to residents or nonresidents contracted with an outfitter, and 6% to nonresidents who have not contracted with an outfitter. Yeah, New Mexico wasn’t made for the DIY guy.

Full Report


Oklahoma is the best whitetail state in the region. Yes, it’s even better than Texas. It has big deer, old bucks, high densities, and about 1.7 million acres of public ground. It’s an over-the-counter state, too.

Further, according to Dallas Barber, a big-game biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, the state’s deer population is on an upward trend, the hunting is improving statewide, and all corners of the state have trophy potential. “These are the good old days,” Barber said. “Deer numbers are good, quality of bucks is on the rise, and doe harvest is within our management goals.”

Full Report


Finally, Texas wraps up our look at the Southwest region. Of course, it’s still Texas, and the deer hunting is still grand. Those who hunt here should expect a positive outcome for the 2023 deer season.

That said, for those who don’t already have a place to go, don’t expect much public land availability. The Lone Star state is 95% private land. If you choose the public route, check out some of the state’s WMAs, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers land, U.S. Forest Service ground, and more.

Full Report

Watch all the latest video episodes

Latest Products
Exit off-canvas