The Minnesota DNR says while West Nile virus has been present in samples of ruffed grouse tested, the exposed can survive.
According to a release, of the 273 samples from grouse harvested by hunters in the state last year, 12 and a half percent had antibodies consistent with West Nile exposure that were confirmed in almost 4 percent of samples and likely in almost 9 percent.
The virus was not present in any ruffed grouse hearts, meaning the birds weren’t sick when harvested.
Grouse project leader Charlotte Roy says the study “doesn’t tell us about birds that may have died from the disease over the summer.”
Sample collection is continuing for the 2019 grouse hunting season, and hunters can voluntarily submit samples of blood and hearts, with collection kits available at DNR area wildlife offices.