Category Archives: Uncategorized

Food Plots by Jeff Sturgis of Whitetails Habitat Solutions

As the summer months approach, Family Wild is neck-deep in renovating our new/old Back Acres hunting property.  With 68 acres of hardwoods, cedar, highlands, swamp Red Osier Dogwood as well as 9 buildings filled with waist-high trash and treasures (mostly trash) from the former owner, we have our work cut out for us.

First on the agenda is the repair and replacement of the plumbing.  As the former owner has been deceased for 4 years and the pump and plumbing longer than that, we (Kim and Courtney) determined that a working toilet comes before hinge-cutting and food plots.

However, I’m not sure anyone other than the members of the new hunting camp have much interest in the plumbing project.   Although let me digress and say I hope the inventor of Pex resides on a tropical island with all the amenities they desire.  I’m currently studying the food plot recommendations of Jeff Sturgis of Whitetails by Design.

A former resident of both peninsula’s of Michigan, Jeff’s casual writing and YouTube presentation style make him easy to read, watch, listen to and most important understand.  Even better, he works with hundreds of clients to help them create productive whitetail herds and properties.

A QDMA award-winning deer manager, Jeff has multiple books available including the one I’m reading “Food Plot Success by Design.”  In addition, he offers over 200 short videos on YouTube under his White Habitat Solutions.

What I enjoy most about Mr. Sturgis is many of his recommendations are financially friendly albeit requiring sweat equity.  Further, he’s not a proponent of the latest “pretty graphics magic beans in a bag” solution for your property.  He explains that many of his properties are actually less than 40-60 acres in size.

I highly recommend you check out his YouTube series and if you like his philosophy then invest in his books.  I believe you’ll enjoy the fruits of his recommendations while bring your relatives together to get Family Wild!

Check out Jeff’s website at:

Camp Back Acres Clean-Up

The fire cut a twelve foot hole in the 27 inches of snow,
15 sled loads,
a lifetime of rugs,
of clothes,
of broken picture frames.
Each item sends up sparks of prayer,
carrying an “I’m sorry”
into the embrace of bare maple branches.
I can only promise to honor the lives
who created the buildings on our new land,
to walk the trails they cut
in reverence,
and with a promise to care-take well.

Nature Arts: Reconnecting with the Forest

One way to reconnect with nature? Take your cell phone camera for a walk in the woods! I try to stop periodically and “listen” for where my attention wants to go–this rock, that mossy stump. I move around it, then, almost like asking permission, then snap the shot. When I first come into the forest, I’m aware everything is a blur, running together. But as I settle and start to observe, a million individual parts of the wood begin to capture my imagination, and the world comes back to life in all its individual colors and textures.

18120571_10208914628604894_1940050200_o 18155505_10208914606764348_1036934656_n 18120578_10208914599964178_23186773_o

Instagram Goes Wild

You can keep up with our Wild life on Instagram:  Family_wild

Watch for our new books about marketing for bait shops, hunting store and nature arts venues, coming in April, 2019.

Monster Pike on Houghton Lake

It’s a lovely time of year for ice fishing!  Here is a recent catch on Houghton Lake that our neighbor landed through a 10 inch hole, as well as a lovely perch and crappie.  Check out You Tube for how to create five fish steaks from Northern Pike that are de-boned and ready to prepare with a great batter or garlic and butter sauce!




Our newest bird siting! A Bald Eagle!

As the wind drove the snow past our dining room window, I happened to look outside over the back field.  We tend to put “leftovers” from cleaning animals out back on a rock shelf and allow the birds like turkey vultures and crows to perform a sky burial–they eat the bits left over.

Today, hounded by two crows, a Bald Eagle made an appearance!  As I write, he’s still perched in a tree at the edge of the wood.  He’s stayed there long enough that the crows have given up and gone to get out of the weather deeper in the forest. It’s a rare sight, and a welcome one!

Family Wild Radio – November 24, 2017 – Interview with Outdoorsman Brian Beyer

Enjoy my interview with long-time outdoorsman Brian Beyer on Artists first radio.  We discuss a variety of hunting and fishing topics as the State of Michigan is in the midst of a sacred holiday season – White Tail Deer Firearm Season!  Beyer gives his thoughts on the state of hunting and fishing, how to get started hunting and fishing, and goes down memory lane with how he started hunting and fishing.  Click on the link below to enjoy Family Wild Radio!

Mike has a new audio book out!

10 Financial Tips for You and Your Family – Unless You Hate Your Family reviews those basic, everyday banking and financial situations people face.  Learn what you can do in just minutes to save yourself and/or your family months and thousands of dollars if not completed properly.  We know this isn’t about hunting or fishing – but we hope you enjoy it.

First Doe of 2017!!!

Kim and I harvested the first deer on the Family Wild acreage last night.  After watching a ruffled grouse and rabbit, as well as multiple cranky blue jays, a mature doe came out to our micro-plot.  After a couple moments, she turned broadside and offered a lung shot.  Kim had never witnessed a deer in a blind, much less watched one harvested.

I got the opportunity to pass on my Uncle Gary’s toilet paper trick of tracking as we followed the blood trail in the autumn leaves.  We found her and she got up and moved so we let her lay for a couple hours, had dinner, then went back out to recover the mature lady.

Kim also got her first experience of field dressing and performed assistant surgeon duties admirably.  We then set up our new pulley system in the garage and, after rinsing out our quarry, hung the deer overnight.  As a result, we have new nicknames, Brains and Brawn.  Kim’s the Brains (of course!) as she figured out the pulley system and I’m the Brawn, because God knows I’m not the brains.

This afternoon we took her to our favorite Alpena deer processor – Kipfmiller’s – and we should have fresh venison in about 10 days.  Suffice to say, we created another Family Wild memory!