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Wildlife Commission Requests Grouse Hunter Assistance

RALEIGH, N.C. — The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is seeking assistance from grouse hunters this hunting season with West Nile Virus Disease sampling and Avid Hunter Surveys.

New this season, grouse hunters are asked to submit samples (blood and feathers) from their harvested birds to test for West Nile Virus. Recent research suggests that ruffed grouse are routinely exposed to West Nile Virus, and it appears this exposure could cause declines in ruffed grouse populations.

This project is part of a much larger surveillance effort that is being conducted by other state wildlife agencies throughout the range of ruffed grouse. Hunters who would like sampling packets mailed to them should contact Merril Cook at (919) 707-0075 or merril.cook@ncwildlife.org.

Small game hunters (grouse, rabbits, and/or quail) are also encouraged to participate in the NCWRC’s ongoing Avid Hunter Survey. Participants will receive a survey postcard to record the details of their hunting activity. These volunteer surveys help monitor long-term trends in small game populations and hunting activity.

Information is used by agency staff to form management and regulatory recommendations. Hunters who would like to participate in the Avid Hunter Surveys, can enroll on the Avid Hunter webpage or the Commission’s grouse webpage.