Grouse hunters can volunteer to help collect samples for West Nile virus study

Ruffed grouse hunters in northern Minnesota are reminded they can voluntarily submit samples for a West Nile virus research project being conducted by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. 

Minnesota is collaborating on this project with researchers in Wisconsin and Michigan, and will be sharing protocols and results. The research seeks to examine exposure and active infections in ruffed grouse.

Hunters who would like to assist with the project should be willing to collect blood samples and hearts from birds within 30 minutes of harvest. Collection kits are available for pickup at the DNR regional headquarter buildings in Bemidji and Grand Rapids. Return postage and complete instructions are included in the kits. Samples also can be dropped off at Pineridge Grouse Camp near Remer.

Researchers will be working with hunters to collect samples at the Ruffed Grouse Society National Hunt in October, Pineridge Grouse Camp, Bowen Lodge, Hoot-N-Holler, from private hunting guides, and by working with wildlife students at Bemidji State University and Itasca Community College to reach a sample size of 400 birds.

More information about ruffed grouse management can be found on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/hunting/grouse. Questions about the West Nile virus study can be directed to Charlotte Roy at 218-328-8876 or charlotte.roy@state.mn.us.