The D-N-R is asking grouse hunters around Bemidji and Grand Rapids to submit samples from harvested birds for a West Nile research project being done in collaboration with Wisconsin and Michigan. The D-N-R’s Charlotte Roy says, “We actually expect the birds are exposed, because West Nile virus has been in Minnesota for a long time, but what we don’t know is whether the birds become sick after they’re exposed.” Roy says ruffed grouse are the most popular small game bird in Minnesota and they want to make sure populations are doing well.
Hunters who are willing to assist with the research project will need to collect blood samples and hearts from birds within 30 minutes of harvest. Sampling kits are available at the D-N-R’s regional headquarters in Bemidji and Grand Rapids. Roy says this is “a smaller pilot study to try to determine whether we need to invest energy into a larger study, so our sampling focus is pretty much a 60-mile radius around the Bemidji and Grand Rapids area.”
Return postage and complete instructions are included in the kits. Samples also can be dropped off at Pineridge Grouse Camp near Remer.
For more info, visit the D-N-R’s website (mndnr.gov/hunting/grouse).
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