Editor’s Note: Dan Moultrie of Birmingham, Alabama, has built one of the most respected outdoors companies in the industry – Moultrie Game Feeders and Trail Cameras - from its beginnings in the outdoor industry in 1979.
I was trying to hire the late Bob Dixon who became one of the key early employees of Mossy Oak. Bob was leaving his position at a sporting-goods store in Birmingham, when I called to hire him to work for Moultrie Products. He told me, “Dan, I'm going to Mississippi to meet this fellow who’s created a new camouflage called Mossy Oak Bottomland. He wants me to come over and help him get his company going. I've already committed to doing that. If I hadn’t told him I’d help him, I’d love to come to work with you.” I told Bob, “Keep me updated with what you're doing, and I’ll try to help any way I can.” So, Bob Dixon was my first contact with this new company called Mossy Oak.
Moultrie Products had been in business for a few years before Toxey Haas started Mossy Oak. I think I met Toxey at the first SHOT Show he ever attended. Moultrie already had been down the road with starting a new outdoors business and already was working with some of the major distributors and chain stores. Toxey came to the Moultrie booth and introduced himself to me. Toxey and I sat down at a table away from the booth and came up with ways we could help each other, get to know each other and work together. Moultrie attached itself to Mossy Oak, and Mossy Oak attached its company to Moultrie Feeders. And that’s how a 30-year relationship between Mossy Oak and Moultrie began - two guys who had two young companies trying to help one another.
At that time, we had our game feeders in companies like Sam’s Club, Walmart and Academy. Before the meeting ended, Toxey said, “I sure would like to have my Mossy Oak pattern on your feeders.” I said, “Toxey, I’d like to have Mossy Oak Bottomland on my feeder cans, and I’d like to work closely with you and your company.” At one time, we even talked about a partnering relationship, but it just never seemed to work out because both companies were at different stages of development. However, we had and still have a great working relationship. Whatever I can provide to help Mossy Oak I do, and whatever Mossy Oak can provide to help Moultrie, the company does.
Toxey and I soon became more like brothers than businesses working together. When I met Ronnie “Cuz” Strickland, Bill Sugg, Bob Dixon and Carsie Young, we became family. I feel like a part of the Mossy Oak family, and Mossy Oak has felt like part of the Moultrie family, and that relationship has lasted as long as both companies have been in business. Toxey and I have hunted in Alaska and shot doves in Mississippi together, and our families have vacationed together. If you’ve been around Mossy Oak’s people very much, you'll often hear the words, “the Mossy Oak Family.” Mossy Oak doesn’t use that term lightly. It’s the way the company treats people.
In those early days, I saw that Toxey and his employees were as passionate about the outdoors as we were at Moultrie, so we talked about our passion for the outdoors. Toxey even started using the word “passion” to help brand his company. In the early days, I also noticed that Toxey attracted quality people to work at Mossy Oak, and these people were the same kind of people and had the same qualities as I knew my friend Bob Dixon had. There never was a doubt in my mind that Mossy Oak would grow and become a highly successful business.
I've often been asked, “Why have you been a Mossy Oak Pro and worked so closely with Mossy Oak?” The answer is really simple. Early on, I learned that when Toxey Haas said he would do something, he was true to his word. Toxey was raised pretty much like I was with old values like, “A man’s word is his bond.” Toxey and I both believed in those old values that our parents taught us, and we tried to reflect that value system in Moultrie Game Feeders and Trail Cameras and Mossy Oak. I'm still actively involved with the folks at Mossy Oak. I've done TV shows with “GameKeepers” and with “Hunting the Country.” Toxey has helped us get the word out about our newest cameras, Moultrie Mobile, that comes in Mossy Oak’s Bottomland pattern. We've continued to support and produce products with Mossy Oak camo on the products we produce, and I’ll help them in any way I can.
When I'm asked about the future of my company and Mossy Oak, I explain that there have been many changes in the outdoors industry. More small companies are being gobbled up by large corporations who want to take these companies, build them up and then sell them. However, the outdoors industry was started by family-owned businesses. Here’s what happens. A man has an idea about a product that can help outdoors people, and he’ll build that product, sell it and treat his customers like he wants to be treated. Today, there are fewer family-owned businesses like Mossy Oak in our industry. But Moultrie and Mossy Oak always have been family-owned businesses. One of the reasons that I'm proud of Moultrie being a part of PRADCO now is Pradco started as a family-owned business and is today a family-owned business.
My children are now working at Moultrie, and Toxey’s children have been brought into Mossy Oak. Both of us believe that this next generation will continue to carry on the core values and the family-type businesses that Toxey and I began so many years ago. I think that’s a really neat idea. Not only is my daughter working with Moultrie, and Toxey’s sons are working for Mossy Oak, but our children are good friends. So, we expect the same type of relationship that Toxey and I formed so many years ago to continue in the Mossy Oak and the Moultrie families.