The ruffed grouse is an iconic game bird of Vermont that is widely recognized and enjoyed by both hunters and non-hunters alike. However, biologists are concerned that grouse populations across the Northeast appear to have declined over the past 30 years.
This trend has prompted more ruffed grouse research on any potential causes, including emerging disease threats and habitat loss. Recently, West Nile Virus has been implicated as a significant contributor to population declines in Pennsylvania.
What’s Happening in Vermont?
Vermont is set to participate in a multi-state research project to determine the distribution, prevalence and potential impact of West Nile Virus on ruffed grouse across their range in North America.
How Hunters Can Help
The department needs grouse hunters to collect blood and feather samples from the ruffed grouse they harvest this season in Vermont. A kit with instructions, sampling supplies and necessary mailers will be provided to participating hunters, making the sampling collection quick and simple.
If you are interested in helping with this important conservation effort please contact:
Chris Bernier at (802) 289-0628 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.