DNR running West Nile study, need help from grouse hunters, outdoor enthusiasts

Local News

(WFRV) – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is in need of your help! They are asking all ruffed grouse hunters and outdoor enthusiasts to collect samples from harvested, sick or dead grouse for a West Nile Virus Study.

This will be the fourth and final year of the study. People who want to participate can request a kit that they will use to collect samples from the grouse. After they collect the sample and fill out the kit, it can be sent in for processing.

Hunters can reuse their kits from last year or request new ones. Kits will be available starting September, and testing will begin at the end of ruffed grouse hunting season. The test results will be emailed and might take up to several months after testing begins.

According to the DNR, the West Nile disease is spread through mosquitos and has a wide range of effects on birds. The DNR says side effects of the disease in birds are:

  • no clinical disease
  • heart lesions
  • inflammation of the brain’s lining and spinal cord

There is no evidence the disease can be spread by handling dead birds or by the consumption of properly cooked game, said the DNR. Anyone handling birds, dead or alive, should wear gloves.

The DNR says ruffed grouse are native to northern United States and southern Canada, but the samples can come from anywhere in Wisconsin.

The DNR asks if anyone finds a sick or dead bird to report it to the DNR.

Recently the DNR announced they will not issue permits for the fall of 2021 Sharp-tailed Grouse Hunting season due to concerns about the population.

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