CASC Paper on Deer, Moose, and Climate Change in the Midwest Among Top Downloaded Papers in the Journal of Wildlife Management

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A 2019 CASC publication on the effects of climate change on deer and moose in the Midwest is among the top 10% most downloaded papers on the Journal of Wildlife Management’s website.

A paper authored by National CASC Biologist Sarah Weiskopf, Northeast CASC Deputy Director Olivia LeDee, and National CASC Research Ecologist Laura Thompson was among the top 10% most downloaded Journal of Wildlife Management papers between January 2018 and December 2019. The paper was published in March 2019.

The paper examines the past and future effects of climate change on white-tailed deer and moose in 13 U.S. states and three Canadian provinces. Climate change projections in the Midwest predict warming temperatures, an increase in the freeze‐free season, and more frequent and intense precipitation, with increased precipitation in spring and winter and decreased precipitation in summer. These changes have the potential to alter populations and harvest dynamics of key species in this region, and midwestern states have identified the effects of climate change on ungulates as a priority research area.

To address this need, researchers synthesized the state-of-the-science on the potential effects of climate change on white‐tailed deer and moose in the region. Researchers found that trends towards warmer, shorter winters with less snow may increase the range and population size of white‐tailed deer, while moose populations could decline as they experience heat stress and an increase in disease and winter tick infestation. This information can be used by wildlife managers in the region to create management plans that take these projected changes in deer and moose populations into account, for example by altering harvest regulations or habitat management strategies.

For a copy of this article, email Sarah Weiskopf at sweiskopf@usgs.gov

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A close up of a moose on the Selawik River, Alaska

(Credit: Chris Zimmerman, USGS. Public domain.)