Back 40

We bought a farm. 64 acres of possibility in the heart of Michigan. A small property with a big vision.

16 videos
S2-E01: Steven Rinella and Mark Kenyon Discuss the Transformation of the Property
S2-E01: Steven Rinella and Mark Kenyon Discuss the Transformation of the Property

Last year, we bought a 64-acre farm in Michigan. The goal was to transform this small chunk of land into a hunting and wildlife paradise. Mark Kenyon’s first season as deer hunter turned land manager was full of half-done projects and failed additions. Other than arrowing a mature buck he called “The Wide Eight,” last season was about getting to know the farm. This year will be all about change. It’s August and Mark is back to check on the progress of some crucial projects. He battled a bunch of pissed off bees, COVID lockdowns, and failed food plots all Spring. Will any of these so-called improvements turn the Back 40 around? Tune in to find out. Presented by onX Hunt. Use code Back40 for 20% off new Hunt App memberships at https://onxmaps.com/meateater

S2-E02: Mark Kenyon and Doug Duren Get to Work on the Farm
S2-E02: Mark Kenyon and Doug Duren Get to Work on the Farm

In this episode, Mark Kenyon is joined by everyone’s favorite guitar-picking Wisconsinite Doug Duren to revisit the plan he proposed during his 2019 visit to the farm. Doug and Mark have a goal to get 55 trees in the ground and double the acreage of food plots on the property. Along the way they’ll show new hunter Dan Jajo the ropes and hope that he can earn a chance to come back and hunt later in the year. With just a few days to get all of the work done, things really need to go according to plan. Of course, they don’t. Will the guys be able to finish off these projects despite broken equipment and oppressive August heat? Presented by onX Hunt. Use code Back40 for 20% off new Hunt App memberships at https://onxmaps.com/meateater

S2-E03: Mark Kenyon and Tony Petersen Get a Look at this Year’s Target Bucks
S2-E03: Mark Kenyon and Tony Petersen Get a Look at this Year’s Target Bucks

Mark has already put in four months of blood, sweat, and tears to get this place ready for another season. August is coming to a close and he’d like to get the hell off the property to let it rest before hunting kicks off in October. Before he can do that he needs to set up tree stands and tower blinds in some crucial spots on the farm. Mark is joined by good buddy and fellow whitetail nut Tony Petersen to do some sawing, assembling, hanging, strapping, and tipping in the name of dialing this place in for the months to come. After all the work is done, the real moment of truth will be when the guys check trail cameras for the first time. Will there be any deer around to hunt out of these carefully crafted new set-ups? Presented by onX Hunt. Use code Back40 for 20% off new Hunt App memberships at https://onxmaps.com/meateater

S2-E4: Mark Kenyon’s Dad Kills His First Archery Buck
S2-E4: Mark Kenyon’s Dad Kills His First Archery Buck

Of all of the failures Mark has experienced on the Back 40, he just can’t get over last year’s hunt with his Dad. He wanted nothing more than to pay his old man back for introducing him to whitetail hunting, but they didn’t even get eyes on a decent buck. This season it’s all about redemption, and Mark is looking to prove that all the hard work on the land has produced a farm with more deer…and more big bucks. From food plots to tower blinds to the new cover in the Honey Hole, it’s time to open a brand-new season and see if all the changes to the Back 40 will help the Kenyon boys finally find success. Music for the final scene: “Stand by Me” by Taylor McCall.

S2-E05: Mark Kenyon Kills the Drop Tine Buck
S2-E05: Mark Kenyon Kills the Drop Tine Buck

After an off-season full of hard work and a memorable October guiding his father to his first archery kill, it's finally time for Mark Kenyon to hunt the Back 40 himself. November is here and MeatEater contributor Tony Peterson is back in Michigan to join Mark for what should be an exciting rut hunt. So far the off-season improvements seem to be making a positive difference, but seven days during the rut will be the true test. Will the property still be holding increased numbers of deer? Will all those big bucks that were hanging around in October be rutting on the Back 40 in November? Will the prescribed burns, food plots, planted trees, and spritzed trailcams do the trick for Kenyon? Presented by onX Hunt. Use code Back40 for 20% off new Hunt App memberships at https://onxmaps.com/meateater

S2-E06: New Hunter Gets a Crack at His First Buck
S2-E06: New Hunter Gets a Crack at His First Buck

Michigan’s gun season is here and so is what might be Mark's last hunt ever on the Back 40. The goal is to get Dan Jajo his first deer and Idaho native Dane Acevedo, the prize we all hoped for when he won the Back 40 hunt giveaway. Here's to hoping that the Back 40 provides one last time...

S2-E07: Handing The Back 40 Property Over to the NDA
S2-E07: Handing The Back 40 Property Over to the NDA

Mark meets up with Nick Pinizzotto and Hank Forester from the National Deer Association to hand over the Back 40 Property, which will become an important part of their hunter recruitment program, <a href="https://www.deerassociation.com/recruit/field-to-fork/" target="_blank">Field to Fork</a>. Brought to you by <a href="https://can-am.brp.com/off-road/us/en/" target="_blank">Can Am</a>

MeatEater's Back 40: Season 2 Trailer
MeatEater's Back 40: Season 2 Trailer

Last season we bought a 64-acre farm in Michigan. The goal was to turn this small, unremarkable piece of ground into a hunting and wildlife paradise. To even get close to making that happen, Mark Kenyon, Steven Rinella, and the MeatEater Crew have to get back to work. Last year’s half-done projects and failed additions aren’t going to cut it this time around. Season 2-Episode 1 of MeatEater's Back 40 airs this Sunday, November 8th at 11am MST right here on themeateater.com. Don’t miss it. Presented by onX Hunt. Use code Back40 for 20% off new Hunt App memberships at https://onxmaps.com/meateater

S1-E01: Steven Rinella and Mark Kenyon Check Out MeatEater's New Hunting Property
S1-E01: Steven Rinella and Mark Kenyon Check Out MeatEater's New Hunting Property

We bought a farm. Sixty-four acres of possibilities in the heart of Michigan with the potential to become the perfect wildlife haven and deer hunting spot. In the first episode of the show, Steven Rinella and Mark Kenyon lay out a plan to turn this run-of-the-mill chunk of dirt into prime habitat for everything from whitetails, to squirrels, to pollinators. Along the way they find out exactly what kind of property they now own, and how much work it's going to take to transform it into something more.

S1-E02: Mark Kenyon Battles a Stubborn Mower, Rutted up Trails, and a Group of Angry Bees
S1-E02: Mark Kenyon Battles a Stubborn Mower, Rutted up Trails, and a Group of Angry Bees

In episode two of our new series, Back 40, Mark is making the first habitat improvements on the hunting property. He calls in some help, but gets varying opinions on what to do. He also battles a stubborn mower, rutted up trails, and a group of angry bees.

S1-E03: Steven Rinella & Janis Putelis Join Mark Kenyon to Hunt Squirrels
S1-E03: Steven Rinella & Janis Putelis Join Mark Kenyon to Hunt Squirrels

After spending August working his ass off on the Back 40, Mark Kenyon is ready to get the heck off of the property and let it rest. Michigan is one of the most heavily hunted states in the country for whitetails, which gives our crew the opportunity to be one of the few small properties that doesn’t spook every mature buck into the next county. As it turns out, Steven Rinella and Janis Putelis have a different idea. It's the opening day of squirrel season, and the boys are ready to get after ol' bushy, even if they have to tromp through Mark's sanctuary to do it.

S1-E04: Mark is Joined by UC Berkeley’s Luke Macaulay to Kick Off Michigan’s Deer Season
S1-E04: Mark is Joined by UC Berkeley’s Luke Macaulay to Kick Off Michigan’s Deer Season

With all of the preseason commotion on the property now behind him, Mark Kenyon can finally start deer hunting. After kicking off the season with little action, Mark welcomes his first guest to hunt the farm. Luke Macaulay is a professor and cooperative extension specialist at UC Berkeley, an unlikely spot to find a guy who is thinking about hunting and habitat fragmentation. Macaulay’s recent research has taken steps toward proving what Mark has always believed: This small property and others like it can make a real difference. It seems impossible to boil down all of Macaulay’s work and perspective, so Mark has invited him to the Back 40 to find out just how much of an impact hunting on private lands has on conservation.

S1-E05: Mark Kenyon and Doug Duren Hunt the Late October Pre-Rut
S1-E05: Mark Kenyon and Doug Duren Hunt the Late October Pre-Rut

Fall has settled across the Back 40, and deer season is in full swing. With a few target bucks identified, Mark Kenyon has invited Doug Duren to hunt the late October pre-rut. Both Kenyon and Duren are disciples of conservation writer Aldo Leopold, who famously advocated for Americans to develop a new land ethic. Leopold challenged us to shift our relationship with the land, to act as stewards instead of conquerors. We’d all like to see these guys get a big buck, but deer down or not, they’ll explore how a small property in Michigan can model Leopold’s land ethic for modern America.

S1-E06: Mark Kenyon Kills His First Big Buck on the Property
S1-E06: Mark Kenyon Kills His First Big Buck on the Property

With October in the rear view mirror and two great hunts in the books, Mark Kenyon is ready for the early-November whitetail rut. Mark is rejoined by MeatEater colleague Ben O’Brien for a week of all-day sits in hopes of taking home one of the few mature bucks that have been spotted on the property. It seems like all the sweat and stress of the last five months has led up to these crucial days.

S1-E07: Mark Kenyon Gets His Hands on the Mature Buck He Calls "The Wide Eight"
S1-E07: Mark Kenyon Gets His Hands on the Mature Buck He Calls "The Wide Eight"

After a long season on the property, Mark Kenyon finally gets a payoff when he recovers the mature buck he calls “The Wide Eight.” He also gets to share it all with his father, as the Kenyon men celebrate Mark’s success and head out to the Back 40 in hopes of creating a new hunting story together. After an unsuccessful few days of hunting on the property, Mark and his dad reflect on their family’s love for whitetails and two frantic weeks of the rut in 2019. There will be more twists and turns yet on this property, but killing The Wide Eight will be a high note. The Kenyon family will be looking back on this one for quite a while.

S1-E08: Mark Kenyon and Ryan Callaghan Show a New Hunter the Ropes
S1-E08: Mark Kenyon and Ryan Callaghan Show a New Hunter the Ropes

After five months of dedication to the Back 40 for Mark Kenyon, every corner of the property is connected to a lesson. Luckily, there’s still one more chance to capitalize on everything learned this year. Joining Mark for the final hunt of the season is MeatEater’s conservation director Ryan “Cal” Callaghan, and his good friend Anna Borgman, a first-time hunter who grew up in a small town in Oregon. Anna is a part of a program called the Good Meat Project where she teaches butchering classes and promotes an honest approach to eating farm-raised meat. In the final episode of season one, Cal and Mark show Anna the ropes.