Editor’s Note: Dan Gritzner of Manchester, Iowa, is a Mossy Oak ProStaff manager for Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
The farm where we hunt was owned by my granddad, and my dad bought into it. When I was a kid, it was a working dairy farm. We had a renter who used it to run his dairy operation. When my granddad passed away in 1997, my grandmother wanted to sell her half of the farm. I didn’t have enough money to buy the other half, and neither did my dad, so dad formed the Bear Creek Hunting Club with eight families who had been hunting there. We formed a cooperation, pooled our money and bought the other half of the farm. Each of the eight members was given shares in the club and the land. We still have the same eight members.
In about 2005, we increased the number of does we were taking off the land and started planting corn and soybeans for the deer. We also planted green fields with Mossy Oak BioLogic. We had some CRP property in the club, so we started taking better care of that. We have 240 acres on the farm and an adjoining 600 acres where we have permission to hunt, but we don’t plant any food plots there.
I was so impressed with the tonnage of deer and turkey food BioLogic produces that I became a dealer for BioLogic and began to sell it out of my custom steel shop. I’m having so much fun selling BioLogic, because I get to meet people who come to my store with different BioLogic products. They know I’m planting BioLogic on my property, and they’re always asking which BioLogic product works best for me. I’ve only been dealing BioLogic for about 3 years, and am still learning how the different plantings relate to our soils and our temperatures. I plant as many different BioLogic plantings on our farm as I can, then evaluate the results so I can tell customers what I’ve learned.
With our soil and climate, Last Bite performs best. This planting is a mixture of brassicas, turnips, winter wheat, rape brassicas, clover and triticale. As I understand it, Mark and Terry Drury helped develop this product on their properties here in Iowa. This is a fall planting that you have to replant every year. I think it works so well in our area, because of the mixture of cold-weather seeds. Mark and Terry’s Drury’s property is in the southern part of Iowa, so we plant Last Bite a little earlier than they do. We never see a lot of rain in August, the recommend planting date, but we get a lot of rain during the last 2 weeks of July. By planting in mid-July, we’ve gotten a lot more tonnage than we’ve gotten by planting in August.
Our bow season opens October 1 and usually goes until the first week in December. It reopens after gun season, which ends the third week of December, and stays open until about January 10. We like BioLogic Last Bite, since deer start eating the brassicas in the mix as soon as we get a hard frost. We see deer on these green fields from the beginning of bow season all the way through the end of our second bow season around January 10. At the end of the season, when we often have snow on the ground, deer will be digging through the snow and eating the turnips.
We start planting in the spring with soybeans, and we have several BioLogic Clover Plus food plots. This is a perennial chicory-and-clover mix. We have Clover Plus plots that have been producing strong stands of clover for 6 years. We mow the clover when it gets too tall in the spring and summer, and we spray weed-killing herbicides when the weeds get too thick in the clover patch. These plots provide food year-round for our deer. We planted BioLogic’s Maximum in the past, but this year we took that field and planted Mossy Oak Deer Radish. When the weather gets colder, we’ll see how the Deer Radish performs for us.