Habitat & Conservation  |  01/28/2021

Busting Blizzards for the Birds


PF's Blizzard Buster seed mix offers both refuge and sustenance for pheasants battling winter. Start planning now for this year's planting season.

By Aaron Kuehl

Winter blizzards bring plummeting temperatures, howling winds and heavy snows, covering the habitat for pheasants and other wildlife and making it disappear under a blanket of chilling, breathtaking white death.
Pheasant enthusiasts driving across the landscape after such a winter event,notice pockets of pheasants scratching for buried grain along roadsides and crop hillsides blown mostly free of snow.

The first thoughts that spring to mind are positive: It's exciting to see our beloved bird. Upon deeper reflection though, experienced conservationists turn their gaze to the surrounding landscape now devoid of available food or the herbaceous habitat needed to provide critical thermal and escape cover. A few more miles down the road and the number of predators perched atop power lines sends shivers down your spine. 
“These birds need food and shelter.”   
Enter the 800-pound gorilla of winter food and cover mixes: Pheasant Forever’s Signature Series Blizzard Buster. Comprised of a proprietary blend of grain and forage sorghums ranging in height from four to eight feet, this provides maximum shelter and food for pheasants in tough winter weather. Where possible plant Blizzard Buster near other secure winter cover, but in large plots, it provides its own quality winter cover for dining ringnecks.
Sorghum-based food plots are preferred by pheasant managers. Unlike corn, they are not susceptible to being picked clean by deer before serving their intended purpose. The variety of heavy grain sorghums in Blizzard Buster provide a high energy food source for pheasants all winter long. Multiple forage sorghums provide the secure, robust habitat essential for concealing birds from predators. And thermal cover shields birds from winter's harsh temperatures and blustery winds.   
Blizzard Buster is Concep-treated, providing an effective method for pre-emergent weed control. Each 25-pound bag covers 4 to 5 acres and can be drilled, planted or broadcast.     
As with all habitat projects, site preparation is key to success and a soil test (and recommended amendments) will ensure that your soil provides the nutrients necessary for success. Soil temperature is critical. Do not plant before soil temperatures are at least 65 degrees (well after corn and soybeans are planted).     
It's time to start planning your food plaots for 2021 and the winter of 2021-2022. Plant Blizzard Buster in the late spring long before old man winter’s next visit. If you want to learn more about Blizzard Buster and other Signature Series Food Plot Mixes and CRP mixes, visit us at PFHabitatStore.com. And always Think Habitat!

Aaron Kuehl is director of seed operations for Pheasants Forever.