A call to a local Department of Natural Resources field biologist or DNR office, regardless of where ruffed grouse are hunted in Wisconsin beginning Sept. 15, will help bring a ruffed grouse West Nile Virus test kit in the mail.
These kits are to be used by hunters who kill a bird during the season, preferably in northern Wisconsin.
The kit has everything needed to collect a blood sample about 30 minutes of taking the bird into possession. This is not a blood draw but a wicking of blood on a strip of absorbent material, drying it, and returning it along with another sample from this bird.
In addition to the blood, the bird’s tiny heart is to be collected and placed in a plastic jar, provided.
Written data regarding the hunt should be recorded on a data sheet.
A complete instruction sheet is included, as well as a UPS return envelope, which is prepaid, pre-labeled, and for a drop off at a UPS office. UPS pickup can be requested, too. All free.
While the instructions are somewhat lengthy, they are straight-forward and easy to follow. Anyone who has hunted and field dressed a bird will have no problem following them and neither
will a novice.
Preparation for sampling requires having the kit or kits in possession; reading the instructions and taking them and the tiny freezer packs on the hunt.
The minimal effort required by the hunter ahead of the actual hunt is well worth the small inconvenience. Learning how important and exacting science must be to gain valuable knowledge in managing wildlife is priceless.
The bird, except for the heart, may be kept and consumed by the hunter.
Hunters should anxiously cooperate and look forward to this experience and requested participation. The effort will be part of the