For the past three seasons, DEC has requested hunters submit feathers and blood samples from harvested grouse. Feathers submitted by grouse hunters provided the first data on grouse recruitment (juveniles/adult female) in several decades. Blood samples have provided information on “West Nile Virus seroprevalence” – the percentage of birds that contracted WNV but survived to the hunting season. Seroprevalence has ranged from 13-21 percent in NY and 2-17 percent in the 11 other states in the study.
Further research is planned to better understand what those rates mean and grouse vulnerability to WNV in different parts of NY.