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If you’re after the ultimate in whitetail hunting there is no place like Iowa, and no ranch anywhere like Timberghost. If you’re ready to take on challenges the beauty of the land sometimes hides and enjoy the best the midwest has to offer, Timberghost has a package for you, regardless of which side of the fence you find yourself.
Mike has been hunting whitetails since his childhood in Texas, and has guided hundreds of successful clients during the past 29 years of his career—a career that allowed him to combine his love of managing properties and hunting trophy whitetails (yes, he knows how fortunate he is). Mike interned, guided, and ultimately managed an operation in Michigan during the first 10 years of his career and has had the privilege to consult with private landowners to help develop other great hunting properties. In 2000 he was given the opportunity to move to Iowa and build Timberghost from the ground up and has never looked back.
Alongside the owners, Mike put a team and a plan in place to build the ultimate whitetail hunting destination. Over the past 20 years he has had the pleasure of working with his family and closest friends, whose passion and dedication to trophy whitetail hunting rivals his own. Mike’s wife Janice has spent the past 12 years managing the office and ensures every detail is covered so your trip runs smoothly and stays organized. Their two boys have grown up chasing turkeys and whitetails in Iowa since they could walk and are sure to carry the hunting tradition into the next generation.
Mike loves the outdoors and will look for any excuse to get out of the office whether it’s checking cameras, hanging stands, or simply helping with chores around the ranch. From September to January, Mike dedicates every moment of his time to chasing trophy whitetails and loves the challenge of figuring out how to put a mature whitetail in front of his clients. On the occasional off day in season, you will find Mike high in a tree, bow in hand, hoping for the same thrill he gives hunters year after year. According to Janice, his hobby is working, but he does find time in the Spring (between turkey hunts of course) to coach the local boys high school varsity soccer team.
While the offseason requires a lot more office work, Mike has been fortunate enough to hunt in Canada, Africa, and New Zealand and has enjoyed fishing all over the US as well as trips to Canada and Mexico. He likes to spin it as necessary research to find new ways to make Timberghost an even more unforgettable hunting experience, but truthfully, he just enjoys exploring the outdoors and doing what he loves with his friends and family.
Jeff is a native Tennessee boy and like any good native of Tennessee, he started hunting and fishing at an early age. He has hunted from Texas to Canada and has been lucky enough to chase whitetail deer, mule deer, bear, and caribou—but the whitetail deer is by far his favorite, as they have a way of challenging and humbling even the most experienced of hunters. It is a deer’s uncanny ability to make a fool out of hunters and his addiction to giant antlers that drives Jeff to be the best hunter and guide possible. With over 24 years of guiding experience, there are hundreds of hunters who will attest to his ability to put hunters on trophy bucks.
While he enjoys bow hunting, Jeff’s true passion in life is long-range shooting and he has a 5-shot group at a mile that would make most snipers jealous. If you have a question about reloading or ballistics, Jeff is your man.
Jeff has been lucky enough to turn his passion into a career and has been an integral part of making Timberghost what it is since it opened to the public in 2000. His wife, Angie, and two children all enjoy living in Iowa and can often be seen around the ranch in the offseason. Whether it is looking for the sheds of next year’s monsters, planting that perfectly placed food plot, or helping turn another client’s dream into reality, you will find Jeff working to perfect the art of deer hunting.
With almost two decades of hunting experience and time spent guiding silver salmon trips in Alaska, Joe has become an asset to the Timberghost guide staff over the past 7 years. Joe grew up in Michigan hunting deer and turkeys while taking fishing trips to Alaska for salmon and the Great Lakes streams for trout. An avid outdoorsman, he spends any spare time hunting and fishing, and if nothing is in season you can usually find him walking a creek bed looking for arrowheads.
Before his time began at Timberghost, he worked construction and coached high school basketball and still enjoys shooting hoops when he gets the chance. Joe started guiding for Timberghost in 2012 and we loved his dedication and work ethic so much we hired him full time in 2017. He is always smiling and has a great sense of humor that ensures every day in the field with Joe is a great one, but it’s his dedication to whitetail hunting that will make sure the grin on your face at the end of the week is due to a successful hunt.
Mike Willems (AKA MW) has been guiding serious trophy whitetail hunters for the past 25 years and die-hard fishermen for the past 33 years in Canada. He has a biology degree from Virginia Tech and did his master’s work in Aquatic Ecology at Ohio State. For the past 20 years, he has split his year guiding for trophy whitetails at Timberghost in the fall and marketing and operating his own fishing lodge, Silver Water Wheel Lodge, on Lac Seul in Northwest Ontario during the Spring and Summer.
MW’s intense quest for perfection and attention to customer service make him a natural leader as a senior guide for us here at Timberghost. If you talk to any of his past clients, you quickly learn that he always has a plan, a backup plan, and a few ideas if those don’t work out, but by the end of the week he will make sure you have a smile on your face and a hunting experience you won’t forget.
When not guiding, Mike can be found fishing or spending time with his wife Missy and their two children, typically either going to or coming from a soccer game or practice (unless it’s still hunting season, and then he is in the woods hunting with them or possibly even out for himself).
From Delano, Minnesota, Brian spent five years in fisheries before switching to guiding and recently finished his first full season with Timberghost in 2018. He has proven himself, through his attention to detail and a dedicated work ethic, to be another great addition to the Timberghost crew and we are excited to have him back working with us again this coming season. If he is not working during the season, he is scouting, and his customer-oriented guiding style has earned him high reviews from not only his clients, but his peers as well.
Brian loves tinkering with his bow and you can often catch him out shooting on the range when he has time. His track record of hunting reaches many parts of the country: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, the Dakotas, Wyoming, and Canada.
Brian enjoys exploring the outdoors, and spends his free time in the summers fishing, hiking, and camping…he loves to walk the path less traveled and is perfectly at home backpacking in the backcountry of the Rockies in search of the perfect trout stream.
While 2019 will be his sixth season with Timberghost, Brandon has served as a guide across the country for elk, red stag, waterfowl, turkeys, whitetail, and geese. His experience spans two decades and is just one reason we are happy to keep him around during the Iowa whitetail season. He thanks his father for introducing him to hunting at a very young age, allowing him to develop the passion that now keeps him living out of wherever he happens to be guiding for the season.
If you can’t find Brandon in the woods or on the water, there is a good chance he is on his snowmobile somewhere in the backcountry of British Columbia.
Jacob grew up in northern Wisconsin, he spent his childhood hunting whitetails, turkeys, waterfowl, and small game. He also spends a lot of time fishing walleyes, musky, and salmon.
After high school, Jacob went on to graduate from the University of Wisconsin Stout with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental science with a natural resource focus. He double minored in geographical information systems and plant biology. Jacob has researched Whitetail deer behavior, feeding habits, and population in a recreational area in Western Wisconsin. He has also done research on Spectacled Eider ducks in Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska.
Thankful his grandpa introduced him to hunting and fishing at such a young age allowing him to keep chasing his passion for the outdoors. When Jacob is not working you can find him ice fishing walleyes in the winter, scouting and hunting whitetail and waterfowl in the fall, and chasing turkeys in the spring.
Collin is one of our newest guides here at Timberghost. Originally from Western Maryland, he spent two seasons as a Forestry Technician while still in school. He has an Associates Degree in Natural Resources and Wildlife Technology, and a Bachelors Degree in Wildlife and Fisheries from Frostburg State University.
When Collin is not working, you can find him lost in the Appalachian Mountains of Maryland enjoying turkey hunting and trout fishing in the spring, scouting and hunting Whitetail’s in the fall, and ice fishing in the winter.
Growing up in West Michigan, Alec spent the majority of his childhood in the woods and on the water. Although bow hunting Whitetails is his passion, Alec enjoys hunting Bear, Turkey, Waterfowl, and Small Game. When he’s not in the woods you can find him on Lake Michigan or one of it’s many tributaries chasing Steelhead, Salmon, and Trout. Spending time in the outdoors has always been his way of socializing with family and friends.
Russell grew up in northeastern PA where he spent his childhood hunting and fishing with his uncle. Following his passion for the outdoors, he graduated from Paul Smith’s College in upstate NY, where he majored in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences and minored in Botany.
Russell is an experienced hunter in both archery and firearm season. He has experience hunting waterfowl, white-tail deer, turkeys, and bear. Russell has done large game research on moose in Zvenigorod, Russia in a research project through Moscow State University. He has a strong work ethic and always strives to learn more.
Russell is most comfortable in the outdoors, no matter what season. In his free time, you can find him hunting and fishing. He enjoys ice fishing and snowmobiling in the winter. In the summer he can be found fishing, camping, kayaking, or hiking. Russell has yet to come across an outdoor activity that he doesn’t enjoy.
Ben grew up in the piedmont and coastal plains of North Carolina. Hunting and fishing has been a way of life for him since early childhood. His family’s guide service back home gave him an early opportunity to learn how to not only provide clients with the best possible chance at harvesting a trophy deer, bear or turkey, but too also provide a complete experience that caters to the expectations of the client. After graduating from North Carolina State University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology with Minors in History and Forestry, Ben has gone on to work in a variety of wildlife related jobs. These include conducting research on endangered red cockaded woodpeckers and king rails; managing game lands and wildlife management areas for the states of NC and SC; guiding and ranch work in South Texas, and training and competing with elite retrievers in UKC and AKC field trials across the country. Also during this time, Ben has taken every opportunity to guide with his family and experience the outdoors with his friends. Ben is excited to be a part of the team this fall and looks forward to helping guests find their Timberghost.