Hunters in the United States have invested millions of dollars bringing back the big game lost to over-hunting, disease and development.
That effort has been a tremendous success. But like the rest of the natural world, big game inevitably is being challenged by climate change.
The National Wildlife Federation on Thursday released its analysis of the likely effects of climate change on big game species such as elk, moose, deer and pronghorn antelope.
Some highlights from the report:
Deer: As seen during the drought of 2012, hot, dry conditions contribute to the spread of hemorrhagic disease in white tailed deer.
Nebraska and Iowa were among the states hard-hit by an outbreak of the disease that year. Hemorrhagic disease is transmitted by insects. Hot weather may facilitate the spread of disease by bringing numerous deer together at watering holes, where infected insects can move freely among deer.
Moose: These majestic animals can't handle extreme summer heat. As heat waves have intensified, the traditional range of moose has diminished. Mild winters are allowing more ticks to survive, worsening infestations among moose.
According to the report, some Minnesota moose have been found with 50,000 to 70,000 winter ticks. These infestations weaken moose and cause them to scratch away their insulating layers of fur.
Elk: These popular beasts might benefit from milder winters and improved forage from greater rainfall.
Pronghorn antelope: The sagebrush and grassland habitat favored by pronghorn antelope could become fragmented as aggressive and non-native plant species take over.
Bighorn sheep: It's not clear what the effects could be. Wildfires are clearing out forests and opening up habitat for more bighorn sheep. Reproductive cycles may not advance in tandem with the earlier onset of spring, which would mean that young lambs wouldn't have as plentiful access to nutritious spring growth.
For more information, see: NWF.org/Sportsmen