Prairieland Outfitters Puts the Client First
By David Hawley
In the popular mafia flick The Godfather, the line of “it’s not personal, it’s strictly business” is frequently used to differentiate between matters of business and friendships. It’s a great concept; certain things are intended to be handled on a personal level, while others are to be taken seriously.
David Westmoreland of Kansas’ Prairieland Outfitters runs his operation as the antithesis of the above notion; he places an emphasis on personal relationships and a client-first mentality. Evidenced by this is the high percentage of repeat clients that take to the field at Prairieland Outfitters each year.
“When I first started Prairieland Outfitters in 1997, we were hunting leased property in Missouri. My initial goal then was to provide quality hunting opportunities to my clients while developing quality property for my family and me to hunt,” explained Westmoreland. “I never want to put a client into a stand that I would not want to hunt as well. I have been fortunate to personally harvest over fifty Pope and Young whitetails, many out of the same stands my clients hunt. They know when they hunt with me they will be put in the prime locations on our properties and will have the opportunity to harvest a tremendous animal.”
Since 1997, Prairieland Outfitters has expanded its radius to include properties in northeast and southeast Kansas, 25,000 acre elk hunting property in New Mexico, and has either acquired or leased several different farms to keep pressure to a minimum. “We try to hunt deer in their normal patterns, which can only occur devoid of pressure,” says Westmoreland. “In most instances we only hold one hunt on each property each season. When the hunters arrive they know they are not hunting stands that have been overhunted.”
Due to the high number of repeat clients Westmoreland has, and those clients understanding the low amount of pressure placed on the properties, many clients pass on bucks that most hunters only dream about. “They realize that if they pass a deer there is a good chance they will have an opportunity to take him next year. My clients almost treat Prairieland Outfitters as their own place in terms of management, which is a by-product of the emphasis on the total hunter experience we strive to create here,” says Westmoreland. “Having limited numbers of hunters in camp allows for that personal attention and the ability to hunt each person in an excellent stand location.”
Westmoreland is not the only one in his household who takes part in creating the atmosphere that makes Prairieland Outfitters a special place. Westmoreland’s wife Cindy and 10 year-old daughter Logan are frequent visitors to the camp and give a family feel to each clients’ hunt. “Logan has been raised in the hunting industry and really enjoys hanging out with the hunters while they are in camp. She enjoys sharing in their success and they enjoy having her around as well,” said Westmoreland. “One of the first questions they ask me when arriving is ‘Where is Logan?’ They are as excited to see her as they are to start their hunt in many cases.
“Being able to share time afield with her in conjunction with running a hunting operation is a blessing. She has formed a bond with the hunters and really enjoys the camaraderie of the sport. She enjoys hunting as well, taking several nice deer and turkey, but the fellowship aspect of the sport is what draws her to the camp, which is great to see.”
In addition to clients, close friends are also an integral part of the “Prairieland Outfitters experience.” Westmoreland gives a tremendous amount of credit to his friends who have helped him build his business to the level it is today. He makes sure to repay the favor by making sure they share in the success of Prairieland Outfitters.
“One of my close friends harvested a buck that grossed in the 180s. The day he harvested this deer we had actually worked all day putting up stands and putting the final touches on the property before the clients arrived. I was planning on him hunting/scouting a new property I had just leased, but after checking the wind decided on another food plot that had not yet been hunted that year. Luckily he experienced the hunt most people only dream of. The timing was right and the food plot filled up with great bucks that evening. That particular food plot had been established for years and it was obvious that the buck had figured it out. We have all worked so hard for that type of deer, and it was exciting to see a dear friend reap the benefits. Four of my friends helped erect a shooting house on my farm and it is my goal for each of us to harvest a deer out that stand. So far we are halfway there,” laughs Westmoreland.
As with any superb hunting destination, wildlife management is a crucial ingredient to the overall success year in and out. Westmoreland is a firm believer in the BioLogic line of products. “We rely heavily on BioLogic products in our management plan. Other products we have tried in the past have simply lacked the quality and effectiveness, BioLogic excels in every aspect. The nutritional benefits from BioLogic are clearly evident in the deer herd; I have seen the improvement in the herd with my own eyes.”
“The different blends also provide me several peaks of palatability for our deer. With the varieties maturing at different rates, the deer will stay on one of my food plots noticeably longer than the average seed blends on the market.”
“We have planted thousands of mast producing trees or shrubs, including those produced by Nativ Nurseries, and plant strips of Whistleback in areas for the turkeys and quail. Since purchasing my own farm, I have not stopped trying everything possible to enhance the wildlife on the property. It has been a lifelong dream of mine, and it is exciting to see it start to come to fruition.”
“There simply is no better feeling in the world than having a piece of your own property to share with family and friends and work to enhance its value to game,” explained Westmoreland. “That’s really what being a Gamekeeper is all about, leaving things better for the future with the resources we have been blessed and entrusted with. Whether I personally harvest anything or not, I know that the farm I own is a better place now than before, and that everyone who spends time on it will have a quality experience.”
For more information on Prairieland Outfitters, visit www.prairielandoutfitters.com or contact David Westmoreland at 573-489-3793.