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  • Moon Phases and Deer Movement

    Here is a great artical taken from Here is the link to the article or you can read below:
    If you have ever questioned 'Lunar Phase' read this report for clarity.
    Moon Phases and Deer
    Many people hold the belief that moon phases are responsible for many important things talk to police officers or delivery room nurses. They will tell you people commit more crimes and high numbers of babies are born when the moon is full. Ask many hunters and they will tell you the same thing, but relate the moon phases to hunting deer. Deers' activities are tied in with lunar cycles, and as a hunter, this knowledge will come in handy. Deer will feed at certain times, move around at other times, use specific trails at distinct times. If the phase of the moon is noted, the next time that phase occurs, you will be sure to see the deer in the same place or doing the same thing. Knowing that deer will do activities because the moon is in a certain configuration, helps you tailor your movements or hunting schedules around that. For some people, getting used to the idea may be hard, because some people regard things like these as myths. But if you really stop and think about it, it does ring true. Most deer sightings occur during certain phases of the moon. Mark down the phase whenever you see deer, and you will convert your thinking into what every successful hunter already knows.

    Activity Cycles

    The real secret to understanding the Moon's effect on Earth's inhabitants is the fact that all living organisms great and small exhibit alternating cycles of rest and activity. These, in turn, are directly related to the Sun or Moon, or both.

    For example, humans have a circadian rhythm - we wake shortly after the sun rises, and we fall asleep after sundown. Nobody has to teach us this. Our bodies respond to changing light levels by producing the hormone melatonin that causes us to become drowsy and fall asleep. On the other hand, bats, owls and some species of snakes are nocturnal - they're on an after-dark activity schedule.

    And what about deer? The unique makeup of their light-gathering eyes and their weird four-part stomachs suggest they're neither circadian nor nocturnal. Some biologists classify whitetail deer as 'crepuscular,' or low-light creatures, but this is only partially true. Some nights herds of deer can be seen frolicking in fields, some nights they're nowhere to be found. Likewise sometimes deer are active during the day, and sometimes they're not. What gives? If you know where to look, you will notice a subtle rhythm to whitetail patterns involving the Moon. And this is what makes deer fairly predictable.

    Deer And The Moon

    It's important to note what happens when an organism gets out of its God-ordained rhythm: In a word, trouble. For instance, research from Harvard University involving 122,000 registered nurses dating back to 1976 revealed the perils of 'shift work.' Women who worked rotating shifts for six years or more experienced a 50 percent higher risk of heart disease.

    Deer are no different. With its four-chambered stomach, a deer is designed to feed quickly to minimize exposure to predation, then retreat for security cover to 'chew its cud.' Deer must feed rhythmically or the microorganisms living in the first chamber of their stomach, the rumen, will die. Without these microbes deer won't last long, because they won't be able to digest woody fibers and food matter high in cellulose. So deer, like other species on the planet, feed on a regular schedule. Again, this schedule literally rotates around the Moon.

    Each day, the Moon rises and travels across the sky above the horizon just like the sun, peaking at its midpoint before beginning to set. But unlike the sun the Moon rises a little later each day - about 51 minutes, on average. This makes tracking the Moon's comings and goings difficult and is largely responsible for keeping hunters in the dark over the years.

    But that's been changing. Hunting-only lunar charts conveniently convert the Moon's overhead and underfoot positions into times of day. This is helpful information because the Moon's 'overhead' position (and 12 1/2 hours later its 'underfoot' position) coincide with predictable feeding times each day. Anglers have long used this lunar lore successfully, and now hunters are finding similar correlations.

    How do we know this is fact and not folklore? Texas Tech University biologist Steve Demarais and whitetail management consultant Bob Zaiglin radio-collared 25 trophy bucks and monitored them from 1985 through 1987 in South Texas. The pair's extensive background enabled them to interpret and express their data in hunter-friendly terms, first published in the September 1991 issue of Buckmasters. Many insights were gleaned but one particularly stands out: Deer movements were most pronounced during the traditional hunting hours of dawn and dusk 'when there was a 1/4 to 3/4 Moon.' Further, the Moonless and Full Moon phases seemed to 'break this pattern down.'

    The key variable here is Moon position: Quarter-Moons peak overhead (and underfoot) during low-light periods of sunset and sunrise. Coincidentally, bucks use the reduced light as cover and are more comfortable with their surroundings during early and late 'Moon times' associated with these phases. This observation is substantiated with harvest data: Most deer registered at check stations throughout the nation are harvested during favorable morning and evening 'Moon times.' On the other hand, very few bucks are taken during Full Moons, largely because the Moon is directly underfoot during midday - a time when hunters are progammed into thinking they won't see many deer.

    Putting It All Together

    This may seem complicated but the implications are very simple. Many factors contribute to when and where deer will be active, but none are predictable ... except for the Moon. In other words, you can't count on temperature, wind, precipitation, hunting pressure (or lack of it) on any given day afield, but you can always count on the Moon to beam its coded message at predictable times. So before you head out, first find out when the Moon is overhead and when it's underfoot. Then concentrate your efforts in appropriate places at those special times.

    Briefly, you can intercept a deer in one of three locations: Where it beds, where it feeds, and the in-between zone of travel corridors connecting the two. Once you know when the moon peaks, you can constuct a sound game plan to put you in the right place. After all, being in the wrong place at the right time isn't any better than being in the wrong place at the wrong time! For this reason, be especially sensitive to early morning and late afternoon 'Moon times' that allow you to hunt food sources, since they're a lot easier to identify than bedding areas. Which is the main difficulty of midday 'Moon times': Deer will be bedded down when the Moon's urge to 'get up to feed' hits, and they won't venture far from security cover to feed. Moreover, if you attempt to set up near a field edge for an afternoon hunt, few deer will make before dark during this phase (remember, the next Moon time is at least several hours away).

    The more we learn about the Moon, the more we learn there's so much more to learn. Just recently, for example, we've compiled data that allows us to predict whitetail rutting dates. Naturally, the intervening variable that causes the rut to fall early some years and late others is - you guessed it - the Moon. No wonder the Moon has fired man's imagination over the centuries. Underestimating its profound influence is like looking through the telescope from the wrong end.
    Additional Information
    Hey guys this stuff can for sure be very informative when trying o decide when to hunt primary spots around the moon phases. If you are curious about what the moon phases might have been when you have killed deer in the past but cant remember the date here's a simple way to find that date. First you must have registered the kill with DNR and gotten your number off the phone, online, or at a taxidermy shop, if not this information will not be available. Simply go to nc dnr website which is then go to online services on the top right of the page. The next page you will see print big game certificate from past. Continue there and fill out the information, or click this link to go directly there

    Now you can go to any moon phase website and see what phase you killed your deer in. Here is one I like to use because it has numbers to represent amount of light as well as pictures.

    I went back and checked all my kills that are listed and here are the results:

    Out of 14 kills:
    8 or roughly 60% of kills were within five days either way of a notated New Moon (Between 0-23% light).
    4 or roughly 25% of kills were within five days either way of a noted Full Moon (Between 97-100% light).
    The other 2 or 15% were (1st)on the first quarter, 50% and (2nd) two days before last quarter, 74%.

    Any of this stuff is also affected by weather such as fronts and when the rut is in full swing you might as well throw this out the window and hunt all day! Hopefully this may help someone try to bag that big buck this year. If you do check it out please share your personal stats with us.
    for me, I schedule my vacation for the second week after the second full moon after the autmnal equinox.(usually 1st week in Nov.) other the than that, bahumbug on the scientific data. between the 'data' and the 'gimmicks' for deer hunting a man could go broke trying to make the connection. So, when I go hunting, I am in the woods on point somewhere during the allotted hours. it dont matter on the moon, the scent, how good i smell or don't, how much or what kind of bait i use, if i aint there amongst'em can't get'em. Can't wait to get amongst'em.
    Opening Day
    Just a foot note on the moon phase stuff. Opening day of archery is three days before the full moon so might not be to awful of an opening day?
    Source of moon phase
    This is another thing to consider. The source of the moon phase should come from your geographic area because from the coast to the mountains the times will vary as much as 8 minutes which also appies to legal shoot times. If it's a standardized 'EAST COAST' reference to sunrise sunset it may vary up to an hour!
    New Moon
    I typically don't bother looking on charts or worry about the moon phase either, if I've got the time I'm out there. But this past year I did take notice to something. Normally by mid Nov (post rut) any mature buck I've been hunting becomes nocturnal or even seems to vanish. As normal this happened with three bucks I had regularly been getting pictures of day and night. Then after seeing neither for a month all three showed up morning and evening light, for three days straight, note they are not all at the same location. This happened the week of 12/6 and the calendar had the new moon on 12/5. So this year I can assure you even if things have seemed to slow a bit, I'll be sure to be in the woods the week of that moon.
    New Moon
    As this article was saying about low light conditions the new moon as you stated is the best time of the month (in my opinion)and seems to be yours as well as nchunter8's records show. The reason I feel is the low light. When the new moon occurs there is no moon at night. The theory is that deer are not nocturnal as most people believe. They need some light to see. As Biologist have discovered ....Deer have binocular vision. That's why they pick us off so easy. What you and I see at dust or don't see...deer see likes it's still 2 hours earlier and they see everything.
    Because on the new moon there is no light at night deer will forage close to there bedding area and not venture far. As soon as it gets light , they will go on a heavy feed....unless there is bad weather. If that's the case...they will be out as soon as the weather passes.
    It's my personal belief that the 2 major periods of the month are New Moon and Full moon back by all your fish/hunt charts and scientific data.....but of these...the new moon has the most active movement...and why.....low light. On the full moon they will feed all night and lay close to bedding areas during the midday!
    I document harvest times and dates on my hunters report card and have for several years. Lunar times are not always right but 80% of they time they are. Like the article states and not me....let's get that straight....understanding this data is like looking through a telescope from the wrong end!
    I shot 'SKY' on a minor move time and in the window of that I personally believe....oh yeah!
    You may not see deer during these lunar times but it's not because they are not's because you're in the wrong place! They are moving somewhere!
    Moon Shines
    ENC Bone Collector and 1hunternnc are in the Boat with Myself...I'm out there every available chance I get..I have waited all year LOL. I have never watched the Wind,Moon ETC...I just Hunt and if I don't see anything then that's why it's called Hunting instead of Killing. I used to read into all that stuff they talk about on TV but it's different when your waiting on them at a Corn Pile...There like you and I if they get Hungry they are gonna eat...And ENC BC...I believe what you experienced was the Pre-Rut when Bucks are in 'Lock-Down' mode with the Does and Moving only when they do until she or they are 'READY' and the RUT is in Full Swing...I came close to shooting a Heavy 7 pointer a few years ago with my bow but couldn't get a shot, Well I wrote him off as dead and never seen him again till 6 days before seasons end when I killed him...I couldn't believe it...By the way It's the Mount in my Profile pic at bottom right....I tell myself every year that 'they are here somewhere' They show up every year LOL
    LOL Lunat Times
    LOL Lunar Times....Creek07 was reading this post yesterday. He just texted me at 12:18pm today (Monday)it said:
    'What is the moon time today? Just seen 4 does in a field'. I texted him back that I didn't know but I would check my GPS. LOL the lunar times were 12:17pm to 1:17pm for the midday move based on my location (Sampson County)were he is would vary by 5 to 6 minutes lol! This is a minor move.
    There are 2 minor moves and 2 major moves each day. The major moves can vary 1 hour +/- and the minor times can vary 30 minutes +/-. I surely believe in them and this is just one example.

    If you check your cameras against the lunar times in you area vs the times on your may become a believer. Like I said 80% accurate!