provided by John E. Phillips
Scott Sharp of Lebanon, Tennessee, a Mossy Oak Pro Staff member since 2013, hunts whitetails with a bow, a rifle and a muzzleloader, and during turkey season, he hunts with a shotgun. He and his brother D.W. have discovered a way to have their outdoor cake and eat it too. Scott explains, “We buy small properties, improve them for hunting, hunt them for 1-2 years and then sell them for a profit.”
How much time is required after you buy a property, put in the green fields, groom the land and put out trail cameras to sell that land?
Sharp: Most of the land we buy sells within two years or less.
How many bucks and turkeys do you have on those lands you’ve purchased?
Sharp: The 40 acres had seven bucks on it last year. The 15-acre plot of my father-in-law’s has four shooter bucks on it right now. Last year I saw seven bucks on the back side of that 15 acres. On the 56-acre plot, we have four to five bucks there, and two to three of those should be shooter bucks this year (2020). One of the advantages we have by owning the lands that we hunt until we sell them is we can set up a management program to know which bucks we’ll try to harvest off each property every year and which bucks we’ll pass up. Then if we need to, we can give them at least one more year to produce bigger body weights and larger antlers.
For the past five years, I’ve been able to take my limit of two shooter bucks for the year off these three properties. All total, we probably have six good shooter bucks between the three properties right now at the beginning of the 2020 deer season. So, that’s two for me and two for my brother D.W. Unfortunately our dad passed away in 2013. So, his two shooter bucks will remain on these properties for another year.
As I mentioned earlier, we keep trail cameras out all year. We have two cameras on the 15 acres, three on the 40 acres and two on the 56 acres. I first met my 9-pointer when I got trail-camera pictures of him near a stand we’d put up on a high ridge. The first time I hunted him was on a Sunday afternoon before Thanksgiving. He got by me. I had so many deer around my stand that I knew if I attempted to take a shot that one of those deer would spot me, and all the deer would spook. All I could see of the 9-pointer that came past my stand on the right was that big 9-point rack as it went over the ridge and out of sight. That gave me that old sickening feeling you get when a buck you really wanted to take gets past you without being to take a shot or fling an arrow at him. This 9-pointer’s rack probably would score 135-136 inches. My brother already had filled his two buck tags, so he was hunting in the bottom to try to take some does that we planned to give to some people who wanted some deer meat. Once the 9-pointer came out in the field below him, he texted me up on the ridge. I texted D.W. back, “Yeah, that big 9-pointer got past me before I could get off a shot.”
The following Tuesday, I climbed in my stand 45 minutes before daylight and didn’t come out of my stand until 30 minutes after dark. I rattled several times during the day and had a huge 6-pointer and a few smaller bucks come to the horns. But the 9-pointer didn’t show up. On Thanksgiving morning, I returned to that same stand before daylight, and at 7:30 a.m., the big 9 came through the fence from the adjacent land. I took him at about 20 yards with a Browning Hell’s Canyon X Bolt 7mm mag with a Leupold scope, and he went down in the same tracks where he’d been standing.