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.”
Land You Can Deer and Turkey Hunt On and Later Sell Mixes Business with Hunting
Today, Tennessee is producing some of the biggest white-tailed bucks in the nation. Why?
Scott Sharp: Our Tennessee Department of Fish and Wildlife has started drastically limiting our buck harvest. We can only take two bucks per season per hunter. Now, we also have one of the most liberal doe limits in the nation with a hunter having the ability to take three does per day from the beginning of bow season, generally around September 26, to about January 11. So, if you enjoy hunting deer and like to eat venison, you can fill up several freezers with meat for you, other family members, your neighbors and needy people in your community.
Why do you buy small, raw-land properties, develop them for hunting, hunt that land for a year or two and then sell them?
Sharp: Where we live in Lebanon, we’re only 30 minutes from Nashville. Because Nashville is the center of country music, many people in the music business have moved to Nashville and the surrounding small communities looking for farmettes - places to build their dream homes and have hunting properties. So, D.W. and I buy small parcels of land from 5-60 acres. Then we go in and improve the property by first putting in a road all the way around the land. We use a forest mulching machine to clean up the underbrush and open up the forest floor to sunlight and new growth.
We next put in green fields planted with Mossy Oak’s Biologic Maximum. Around the edges of those green friends, we plant strips of corn to provide food for the deer and give them thick-cover access to the green fields. We also set up stand sites on the properties. We put out trail cameras, too, to know how many bucks and does the land is holding or attracting and the number of gobblers and hens present. More subdivisions are being created around Nashville, and large tracts of land are being divided up into smaller tracts. Most country and western singers and outdoorsmen like to own land where they can hunt and build their dream homes. We’ve learned that we can pinpoint and take more older-age-class bucks on small tracts of land, if we develop and manage them for deer and turkeys.
You also have the opportunity to take a buck in the velvet. When’s that season?
Sharp: The velvet buck season comes in the last weekend in August and is a bowhunter-only season, except in the EHD zones in southwest Tennessee where there are several counties that reported having EHD (Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease) in their herds. In those counties only, you can take a velvet-antlered buck with a bow, a rifle or a blackpowder rifle. This velvet-antlered season was started three years ago to give hunters opportunities to take bucks in the velvet. I found a velvet-antlered buck on one of the properties my brother and I owned.