Many people in the wildlife industry recognize me from my time with the Hunting Shows – Priefert’s Backwoods Bloodline and The Priefert’s. Interestingly enough, I had only ever shot one deer prior to filming those shows. I had grown up hunting ducks, hogs, etc, but not deer, mainly because our land just wasn’t managed for deer. Filming the show presented me the opportunity to visit a variety of ranches, similar to ours, but that included a land management plan for wildlife. I remember filming a show with Clay Forst, owner of the Stuart Ranch in Oklahoma. He and I talked at length about all the things he had done on his ranch to manage the ground not just for his ranch stock, but also for the whitetail population. That really made an impression on me.
Around that same time, I developed a friendship with Mike Ford. Mike owns Rio Rojo Rancho, a high fence deer ranch in northeast Texas. He introduced me to the concept of how deer are handled and worked. Starting with his deer chute design, I used my background with manufacturing to streamline the production process, and Priefert Mfg. became the OEM manufacturer for Mike’s deer handling equipment.
Fast forward to a year later, and Mike was constantly complaining about his deer feeders. The idea is to get deer as much nutrition as possible without wasting any of the expensive feed. I asked Mike what he needed to solve his problem. He told me he wanted a trough-style feeder that incorporated a way to keep the feed dry, and that the feeder needed to be mobile. From that conversation, I started working on prototypes with my team. One of the early ones had a roof, but deer wouldn’t go under it to stick their head in the feeder. We went through several prototypes before we finally landed on the ADF prototype in 2013. I gave Mike a few to test with his deer and I put some out on the ranch to see how wild deer would react. I was feeding a mix of corn and protein feed and I was seeing a lot of deer come to the feeders, as was Mike. By 2015, testing was complete and the final design was ready to be launched.
Today, we have around 700 acres of our ranch dedicated to wildlife. I have 4 boys that all love to hunt. With all the work that I’m doing to constantly learn more about wildlife management and to improve our wildlife equipment, I’m building a future for my boys to enjoy. The best part is, that I’ll get to enjoy that with them.