Remembering Todd Pringnitz

It’s not often that I’m at loss for words (just ask my wife). However, as I sit in the solitude of my office and type this, I can’t seem to find the ones to adequately convey the weight of this day’s loss. As many have undoubtedly already heard, Todd Pringnitz, founder of White Knuckle Productions, Wicked Tree Gear & most recently Tree Thrasher, passed away early this morning due to injuries sustained slightly more than a week ago in an ATV accident. Todd was not only a pioneer in the hunting industry and a business acquaintance but also a long-time friend and hunting brother.

Todd Pringnitz with a big Iowa buck

Todd’s enthusiasm for life, and in particular hunting big Iowa bucks, endeared him to deer hunters across the nation.

I met Todd in early 2005 at my very first ATA trade show. At the time he was a young, enthusiastic kid from Michigan who was absolutely ate up with chasing whitetails. Back in those days, he was chasing bucks on public ground before it was the en vogue thing to do. Being young, single guys with two things on the mind (deer was one of them) we exchanged info and kept in touch that year. In 2006 Todd sold his home in Michigan, packed up his belongings and moved to Iowa with a dream to chase giant bucks. While it seems like this type of behavior is more commonplace in today’s world, back in 2006 I can tell you it was very much unheard of. To be honest, I thought he was crazy.

Around that same time, Todd had a dream to start a different kind of hunting video production. One that focused on the real-world hunter, struggling to make it through the ups and downs of a season and telling their stories from beginning to end. With a little encouragement, Todd P managed to con Todd Graf and me into getting a couple Canon GL2 camcorders and filming our hunts for the very first White Knuckle Productions videos. While we didn’t realize it at the time, Todd’s inspiration (cleverly disguised as demands at times) spurred our interest in filming hunts, which later turned into an obsession, and has led us to where we are today. Sadly, I never got the chance to thank him for that motivation.

Todd Pringnitz & Justin Zarr

Todd and myself, circa 2007, with the very first White Knuckle Productions DVD – Beyond The Kill.

Thru the years, White Knuckle Productions & Bowhunting.com spent a lot of time together, working the trade show circuit. Anyone who has worked through the rounds of various “deer classics” and “buck expos” knows that aside from a hunting camp this is the next best place to meet fellow hunters who are just as crazy as you are. Through those years, and those shows, Todd met and impacted the lives of countless hunters across the country. Whether they were buying WKP DVDs or Wicked Saws, or just shooting the breeze in the booth, Todd’s infectious personality and enthusiastic smile were always on full display. This continued all the way up until his accident, as he had just returned from the Great American Outdoors Show, where he unquestionably made a few new friends and enjoyed a few deer stories along the way.

If you ever had the pleasure of meeting Todd it didn’t take long to figure out that the guy was crazy. Crazy about his love for chasing big bucks, finding shed antlers, making hunting videos, designing and building top-notch hunting products and just generally crazy about life. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet a lot of people through the years, and I can confidently say there’s never been anyone else quite like Todd Pringnitz.

When you look back on moments in your life, it’s easy to pick out the good ones that stand out the most. Although you often don’t recognize them when they’re happening, these are the memories where you can’t help but reflect back and smile. You may even let out an audible chuckle and shake your head. I have more than a couple of those moments in my own life involving Todd, including one of wearing out a jukebox of some no-name bar, somewhere in the middle of nowhere Illinois, by playing Ted Nugent’s “Fred Bear” over and over again. And I would venture to guess that many of you reading this likely have your own as well.

Todd’s passing leaves behind a void that may never be filled. Not for those who considered him a brother, and certainly not for his amazingly strong wife Katie and their young son Baker. My heart breaks for their loss and I only hope that they can find strength in knowing that Todd’s impact will live on through his life’s work and the passion with which he lived. For anyone who would like to make a donation to the Pringnitz family, there is a GoFundMe page which can be found here.  As I write this, the total amount raised is nearing $40,000.  The camaraderie of hunters and of the hunting community never ceases to amaze me.

Life moves fast, and it can be easy to get caught up in the daily grind. It’s sobering times like these that serve as a stark reminder that “things” aren’t what make life worth living. It’s the time we spend with those we love and the stories we leave behind that define our existence. So hold your loved ones close, enjoy every day and never take any of it for granted. And the next time you pick up a big shed or kill a big buck, let out a little “Yeah, buddy!” for Todd.

Todd posing on a log.

There was only one Todd Pringnitz, and he will not soon be forgotten.

Justin Zarr
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Justin Zarr

General Manager at Bowhunting.com
Justin has been bowhunting for more than 25 years, harvesting a number of P&Y whitetails in his home state of Illinois during that time.  He co-hosts the popular bowhunting show 'Bowhunt or Die' and is a frequent guest on numerous hunting podcast.  Justin lives in the NW suburbs of Chicago with his wife and 3 children.
Justin Zarr
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Comments

  1. Craig Neace says:

    Justin, I’ve been tore up ever since reading Katie’s FB post a week ago, all the way to the news I read early Monday morning, and even to this day. My sadness is more than I can express in words, my heart breaks and I have such difficulty writing this & even reading these posts. There are so many great things I can say about Todd (your article was beautiful) and at the same time I pray for Todd’s family….I can only think God had other plans for my friend. I get through my day feeling blessed to have known him, his friends, working with him and I cherish the great times we had together. I wish you, your family and friends the best always….your old friend Craig

    Reply
  2. Thanks for this article. I never met Todd but he’s one I always wished I could’ve met.

    Reply
  3. Wayne Cole (A Canadian) says:

    I never met the man, but I can surely see by his grin, he was someone I’d have loved to have met and hung out with for a few hours/days.
    My sincere condolences to his family.

    Reply
  4. Morgan See says:

    Great write up… what an outstanding man. Everyone hurts with this loss. Everyone related to him because he was one of us and the nicest people to meet. Made me feel like his best friend the first time ever talking with him and Katie… remarkable people. Prayers to Katie and Baker and the entire community.

    Reply
  5. Jesse Hurley says:

    Justin, you did a great job describing who Todd Pringnitz was. Looking back now I see, Todd was the common denominator that brought us all together. Hang in there buddy.

    Reply
  6. Dennis williams says:

    What a beautiful article you wrote on Todd and his family!! Everything is spot on. He was one in a hundred million and his memory will never be forgotten. I was blessed and very fortunate to call him a great friend. RIP Todd!

    Reply
  7. Trevor Olson says:

    Justin, I didn’t know Todd and yourself back when this all began, but I understand perfectly the spark he had given all of us. Jesse Hurley said it best, he brought a lot of people together. Great writeup Zarr. Keeping Pringnitz’s family as well as the bowhunting community in my thoughts. We lost a pioneer, a legend, a husband, and father.

    Reply
  8. Dan Moore says:

    Thanks for the great tribute to a very big personality that Todd always had. He will be missed!

    Reply
  9. KEVIN L MULDER says:

    WOW! Thank you, Justin, for your kind words on behalf of Todd. I have been following Todd’s hunting webshow for years and always felt inspired by his passion. I was also jealous of his ability to chase after bucks that I can only dream about here in SW Michigan. This is just another reminder of how brief this life is. I am thankful his faith was in Jesus and I pray for his wife and young son who will now grow up without Todd in their lives. My heart is very, very sad.

    Reply
  10. Sheri DeHaan says:

    You couldn’t have described Todd any better. “Crazy” is one way to describe him. Todd’s infectious personality, smile, & passion for life & hunting is something everyone saw in him.
    I only spent time with Todd a few times, but he made me feel as if we knew each other for years. My husband did some filming for WKP and this is how I had the honor of meeting such an amazing guy.
    Todd, you will truly be missed. My prayers will continue for Katie, Baker, and the rest of the family.

    Reply
  11. I met Todd briefly at the Great American Outdoor Show. We discussed the Tree Thrasher and the researxh that lead him to developing the device. Even in those few moments he left a lasting impresssion of someone who was knowedgable, passionate and genuine. My son and I discussed how inpressive he was as we walked awayfrom the booth. It wasn’t until we got home that we watched some of his videos. What an amazing guy. RIP.

    Reply
  12. Miles Dykeman says:

    From meeting him through WKP DVD’s, I know he was an enthusiastic, fun-loving, strong-willed, and driven individual. I loved seeing his love for whitetails come through the lens. I’m sure these same traits were even more evident in his home with his family. My heart goes out to Katie, Baker, and the whole Prignitz family. He will never be forgotten.

    Reply
  13. Cindy Beard says:

    What a wonderful tribute! Wishing Katie and family comfort and peace in the days to come! The love of the outdoors was shared by so many! I truly enjoyed watching for his posts and Katies too.

    Reply
  14. Thank you for such a wonderful article. I have known Todd since the 2nd grade and he deserves every kind word you just wrote. Wishing his family comfort and love.

    Reply
  15. Kevin odell says:

    You nailed Todd to a tee! I also met him back in early 2000 at a show and became friends. I will miss him. In his honor I will be naming all of my bucks this year as Todd P buck! Walter Payton, Eric Dickerson. Rip Todd!

    Reply
  16. STANLEY J DELAND says:

    Justin, thanks for the article! We are going to miss you Todders!

    Reply
  17. Todd was a friend, colleague and leader in the Outdoors industry. His life that many saw through the screen was even more profound behind the scenes through his family and friends. You better believe I will always let out a “Yeah Buddy” in his memory!!! Reading this is exactly what I wanted to type, but couldn’t. Thank’s Justin for being able to put what many of us couldn’t into words.

    Reply
  18. John Torchick says:

    Sad to hear of the loss of a giant in archery and bowhunting.

    Reply

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