[Skip to Content]

Fabel on the Fly: Bridget’s Big Buck Bounty

By on January 1, 2018
fabel_Q5A5588

Jersey Whitetail Nothing Like Big Country Mule Deer

When I moved west, I knew that hunting in Utah was going to be a totally different ballgame than northern New Jersey. Western deer cover a lot more area than eastern whitetails. In New Jersey, the deer have distinct patterns and well-established trails that deer pass along generation to generation. In Utah, the deer can be in one spot today, and 10 miles away tomorrow.

Determined to step back from fishing a little bit this summer, I took a short break in hopes of finding a dream buck. I saw some good bucks during 2017’s early months, but in July, I hit the jackpot. I found some private land that was filled with half a dozen big bucks, and about a dozen more small ones. Naturally, I hoped to receive permission for hunting the private land. However, upon receiving an emphatic ‘NO!’ from the landowner, I was about to give up. Based on prior experience, I quickly turned my attention to looking at the neighboring public land. On two public parcels about a mile apart from each other, I set up salt and two trail cameras on each.fabelpic3 fabelpic3

Sure enough, I found that the big bucks were living primarily on the public land and only venturing over to the private land before dark for an alfalfa snack. I checked my cameras nearly every day and decided to put up a blind on the most-used deer trail, two weeks before the hunt. That way, the bucks would get used to seeing the blind, which was my way of bringing the cover of east coast tree-stand hunting to the western environment. Based on studying the trail camera images that showed the deer going back and forth through the area all night, I determined I would have to avoid spooking them to ultimately be successful.

Kill Shot

Days one through three were frustrating. Other hunters were sitting on top of my blind, flinging careless arrows at deer and missing. The deer were spooked-off day one and never returned until I had slept five nights in the blind. That’s when I got a 22-yard shot at my dream buck. He came from my right, and that night I checked my wind, which was blowing right. He came in fabelpic4alone, and I could tell he was sniffing and being cautious. As soon as he stopped, giving me a good shot, he was quartering-away hard. I could not get a good, clean shot at his vitals, so I decided to shoot the main artery in his neck and that made him bleed out very, very fast. The blood trail was short and very easy to follow.

Lone Ranger

My goal for this year was to shoot a velvet mule deer with my bow, and I couldn’t believe I did it! Better yet, I did it ENTIRELY by myself. What I shot is a beautifully framed 4×5 mule deer with good eye guards, good mass and good time length. I was able to get some friends in the area to help pack-out and take pictures of this beautiful buck. He scored 176-2/8 inches of pure velvet, and I love everything about him! I’m having him mounted, so I can be reminded of the dedication, hard work, and memories forever.

My story successfully chasing this big buck through the mountains of Utah shows that anything is possible, and you are entirely capable of chasing your dreams, too. If I can do it, so can you.

Although bow hunting is my favorite, hunting with a long-range rifle is also super fun. Being from New Jersey, this year was my first elk hunt, fulfilling a life-long goal. I had a Utah over-the-counter Any Bull Tag that allowed me to chase elk in units of low density, high volumes of hunters and very tough, mountainous terrain. There’s a lot of truth to that. It was five days before I even SAW an elk.

Seven Days

Shooting an elk was entirely chaotic. After seven hard days of hunting, I connected on a beautiful 4-point. It all came together when I had a shot at 340 yards. I knew this was my chance. I aimed right above the shoulder and unleashed three bullets with my rifle. I knew the last shot was a solid hit because I could hear it, but wasn’t sure about the accuracy of the first two. He took off, ran about 30 yards, laid down and perished. Upon walking up to him, I discovered all three shots had found their mark, and he didn’t suffer.

After a long pack-out off the mountain and a trip to the meat locker, I can officially say I shot my first elk! I knew filling this tag was going to be tough, but I’m grateful to have elk in my freezer, along with my buck.

Future goals involve hunting elk with my bow, hunting monster white tail, and maybe caribou. I love hunting public land and scouting all summer to increase the odds of success. Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoyed the recap on these hunts. Watch for future stories about my hunting and fishing adventures in upcoming issues of RoadKing and follow along with me
@bridget_fabel on Instagram. Thanks drivers! fabelpic5

SCOUT, SCOUT, SCOUT

Patience is the key to success with any hunt. Typically, I use trail cameras to obtain as much information as I can before planning my next moves. Scout areas with movement, day and night, and set up your cameras. Review the images often to see what’s happening. Deer notice the slightest changes, so make sure you allow sufficient time for them to readjust to their surroundings after changing something. Take your time and wait for the deer to come to you. Even a novice can land a big buck with some patience and knowhow.

DREAM PART TWO

LANDING A MOUNTAIN  MONSTER

Determined to step back from fishing a little bit this summer, I took a short break in hopes of finding a dream buck. I saw some good bucks during 2017’s early months, but in July, I hit the jackpot. I found some private land that was filled with half a dozen big bucks, and about a dozen more small ones. Naturally, I hoped to receive permission for hunting the private land. However, upon receiving an emphatic ‘NO!’ from the landowner, I was about to give up. Based on prior experience, I quickly turned my attention to looking at the neighboring public land. On two public parcels about a mile apart from each other, I set up salt and two trail cameras on each.

Sure enough, I found that the big bucks were living primarily on the public land and only venturing over to the private land before dark for an alfalfa snack. I checked my cameras nearly every day and decided to put up a blind on the most-used deer trail, two weeks before the hunt. That way, the bucks would get used to seeing the blind, which was my way of bringing the cover of east coast tree-stand hunting to the western environment. Based on studying the trail camera images that showed the deer going back and forth through the area all night, I determined I would have to avoid spooking them to ultimately be successful.

Kill Shot

Days one through three were frustrating. Other hunters were sitting on top of my blind, flinging careless arrows at deer and missing. The deer were spooked-off day one and never returned until I had slept five nights in the blind. That’s when I got a 22-yard shot at my dream buck. He came from my right, and that night I checked my wind, which was blowing right. He came in alone, and I could tell he was sniffing and being cautious. As soon as he stopped, giving me a good shot, he was quartering-away hard. I could not get a good, clean shot at his vitals, so I decided to shoot the main artery in his neck and that made him bleed out very, very fast. The blood trail was short and very easy to follow.

Lone Ranger

My goal for this year was to shoot a velvet mule deer with my bow, and I couldn’t believe I did it! Better yet, I did it ENTIRELY by myself. What I shot is a beautifully framed 4×5 mule deer with good eye guards, good mass and good time length. I was able to get some friends in the area to help pack-out and take pictures of this beautiful buck. He scored 176-2/8 inches of pure velvet, and I love everything about him! I’m having him mounted, so I can be reminded of the dedication, hard work, and memories forever.

My story successfully chasing this big buck through the mountains of Utah shows that anything is possible, and you are entirely capable of chasing your dreams, too. If I can do it, so can you.

Although bow hunting is my favorite, hunting with a long-range rifle is also super fun. Being from New Jersey, this year was my first elk hunt, fulfilling a life-long goal. I had a Utah over-the-counter Any Bull Tag that allowed me to chase elk in units of low density, high volumes of hunters and very tough, mountainous terrain. There’s a lot of truth to that. It was five days before I even SAW an elk.

Seven Days

Shooting an elk was entirely chaotic. After seven hard days of hunting, I connected on a beautiful 4-point. It all came together when I had a shot at 340 yards. I knew this was my chance. I aimed right above the shoulder and unleashed three bullets with my rifle. I knew the last shot was a solid hit because I could hear it, but wasn’t sure about the accuracy of the first two. He took off, ran about 30 yards, laid down and perished. Upon walking up to him, I discovered all three shots had found their mark, and he didn’t suffer.

It all came together when I had a shot at 340 yards.

After a long pack-out off the mountain and a trip to the meat locker, I can officially say I shot my first elk! I knew filling this tag was going to be tough, but I’m grateful to have elk in my freezer, along with my buck.

Future goals involve hunting elk with my bow, hunting monster white tail, and maybe caribou. I love hunting public land and scouting all summer to increase the odds of success. Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoyed the recap on these hunts. Watch for future stories about my hunting and fishing adventures in upcoming issues of RoadKing and follow along with me
@bridget_fabel on Instagram. Thanks drivers!

 

Find more Fabel!

Readers can visit my website at www.fabellifestyle.com to read my blog, learn more about me and to check out my fly-line bracelets I make personally to help support my passion for the outdoors. There are also links to my social media. I look forward to sharing more stories from the mountains, lakes and rivers of Utah!

About Road King

For the professional Driver

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *