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Minnesota grouse hunters asked to collect samples for West Nile virus study

ST. PAUL, MN — Hunters who harvest grouse in northern Minnesota are being asked by the DNR to submit birds on a volunteer basis in order for researchers to test for West Nile virus.

DNR leaders say they want to learn more about West Nile virus in ruffed grouse because there are concerns it might effect the production of young birds, which is what hunters largely see in the fall.

According to the DNR, the adult grouse population has been averaging about 10 years.

The project, which is in its second year, is a collaboration of researchers in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

Results from the first year are expected to come in sometime this fall.

Anyone who would like to participate in the project will need to collect blood on filter paper strips within 30 minutes of the harvest, and will also need to provide the birds’ hearts and a few feathers in order for researchers to identify the gender and age.

The DNR will be providing collection kits at area wildlife offices within ruffed grouse range after Labor Day on a first-come first-serve basis, and will also be available at the regional DNR headquarters in Bemidji and Grand Rapids.

Additional information regarding grouse management can be found here.

Click here to submit any questions regarding the West Nile virus study.

Krystal Frasier

Social Media and Digital Content Manager

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