Deer movement & Moon phase myth ?

Discussion in 'Varminter & Hunting Forum' started by theallcineyes, May 22, 2019.

  1. theallcineyes

    theallcineyes

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    Would like to get some input on "The full moon" and how it affects desert mule deer. I heard that when there's a full moon the deer activity during the day is far less than when there's no moon. What are your experiences?
    Thanks!
     
  2. ryewhiskeybent

    ryewhiskeybent Silver $$ Contributor

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    Listening in....
     
  3. Ledd Slinger

    Ledd Slinger Gold $$ Contributor

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    Absolutely true. A full moon has a very significant effect on all big game animals. In some areas, I wont even hunt deer or elk on days where the moon is in it's full phase at night.

    They become more nocturnal during a full moon and do all their feeding and running around at night. You can sometimes still get lucky and catch them bedding at the crack of dawn or getting up to move just before dark. However, what most people often forget is that Mule deer always get up for their "lunch break" around 10-11am to feed a bit and stretch their legs. It's only for a short period and if bedded in timber they may not leave the cover, but do not discount hunting in the middle of the day and dig deep into the covered areas with your glass. If you know they're in the area, you may catch some of them up and moving for lunch ;)

    The mule deer buck in my avatar photo, 201-2/8" B&C, was shot in the middle of the day because one of his does gave away their position by getting up to feed. Glassing around where she was at I located the bedded Monarch and made the stock to take him down.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
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  4. STOMP442

    STOMP442 Gold $$ Contributor

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    I used to have a Casio watch called the hunting timer that kept track of the moon phases and prime times for each day. I am a firm believer in moon phases and prime times. I killed my biggest Coues deer using that watch as a guide for my stalk. We first glassed him up at over 1000 yards away across a deep canyon just as the sun was coming up. Watched him mill around for about 30 min while we talked about the best way to get over to him. He bedded up in some tall grass in the shade of a Juniper tree. Looked at my watch and it said they should have a minor phase starting at 10am and lasting for the hour. Figured he would get up to stretch and pee around then so we made our move. We crossed the canyon and got set up on him at 563 yards at about 9:30am. At 10:06 he stood up to stretch and I let him have it. The moon phases also plays a huge part in the Coyote activity as well. Seems like I always do much better on the prime days of the month.
     
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  5. Ledd Slinger

    Ledd Slinger Gold $$ Contributor

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    Inversely, the best days to hunt are when there is very little or no moon at night. Much more activity during daylight hours, especially if it's cold out.
     
  6. Ccrider

    Ccrider Gold $$ Contributor

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    I think there is a big difference if animals are being pressured.
     
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  7. Ledd Slinger

    Ledd Slinger Gold $$ Contributor

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    Also very true. Some of the wiser big bulls and bucks will never leave cover until well past shooting light hours if the area has too much hunting pressure. Fortunately I get an entire month off at a time for work. When off for hunting season, I wont even hunt on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. I will go out to glass and scout on those days, but not much footwork in the mountains. I'll wait until Monday or Tuesday when most of he people are back at work to start my hunting for the week.
     
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  8. Larryh128

    Larryh128

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    I have no clue on mule deer but on whitetails, the very best time to hunt a full moon is between 11am and 1pm. Normally there is heavy movement in that time period during a full moon and very little early and late. Most hunters are out of the woods before 11 am when they aren't seeing anything. I make it an all day sit.
     
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  9. Ccrider

    Ccrider Gold $$ Contributor

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    Gospel.
     
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  10. CaptainMal

    CaptainMal Silver $$ Contributor

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    I think the best time to hunt is when you can. Same can be said for fishing. Deer, mule or whitetails, are night feeders. Their eyes work well at night. When hunters see them most is before dark and after dawn when they move to their daily hiding spots. Nuts to the moon phase.

    Often check those peak solar times for both hunting and fishing. Sure there are peak times when it is at peak and successful. For deer every peak time during the rut is peak. I say overall it's a bunch of malarkey. Hunt and fish when you can. The moon is for werewolves.
     
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  11. Steve morgan

    Steve morgan

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    No myth, all to true
     
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  12. AckleymanII

    AckleymanII Silver $$ Contributor

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    No Myth!

    We hunted Coyotes using several indicators in Mexico. Solar tables in Field and Stream magazine. There are Major and Minor feeding periods, these should be taken to heart....Gospel!

    Second, barometric pressure. High barometric pressure, animals lie down, low and falling pressure, animals are on the move. We hunted coyotes in with a barometer in the truck. If the pressure was high or climbing, we scouted, fished, hunted quail. If the pressure was falling(we were on the leading edge of a low pressure front), then we hunted non stop. During a low pressure front can be fabulous hunting.

    Immediately after a big storm, animals will move, but not for long if the pressure is rising fast and the moon is not right.

    ON a bad weekend hunting coyotes in Mexico, we would kill 13 or so. When the moon was right we would kill 30ish, when the moon was right, and the barometric pressure was falling or low, we will kill up to 60 in a weekend.

    Smart hunters will live by Solar tables and watching the Barometer in weather forecasts.

    If you live in an area with a gazillion deer stands, and what seems like an invasion of 4 wheelers at daylight, mainly hunting on deer clubs, deer have adapted in other ways in order to be able to survive. These types of hunting conditions drive deer to become totally nocturnal after the first month of hunting season, with only the Rut getting them to come out during the day.

    I have deer in my yard and pasture every day and night. If I put a pepsi can out there in the pasture, they will walk around it for two weeks. Older does may take a year of watching the younger animals walk around it before they do. So, when you put up new 2x4 stands, you are putting up a deer alert. Best to put them in a large cedar tree if you can, trim as few branches as possible. If you use a ladder stand made of steel, best hide them best you can.

    Watching the Solar tables for many years, on full moons, I would give myself a little time for error on each end of the feeding period, get in the stand around 9:30am at the earliest and sit till 3:30.
     
  13. 284winner

    284winner Gold $$ Contributor

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    Throw it all out during the rut. The only thing I find changes the rut is HOT, HOT weather in the Midwest. Most activity seems to be after dark when temps drop. Moon phase does make a difference otherwise in terms of game movement. Same for fish. Feeding time tables work for game and fish species alike.
     
  14. msinc

    msinc

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    One reason for a lot of "prey" activity on a bright moon {not just full} is that predators are not active. I have fox, coyote and coon hunted more than anything else and I can tell you without any doubt that you are pretty much wasting your time hunting these {at night} on a bright moon. That's not to say they wont come out and you wont kill one, but predators definitely prefer the advantages of hunting on a dark moonless night. Want to listen to your caller squeal all night to no avail, want to get your best dog running deer.....keep trying at night on a full moon. I get it that fox and coon are not predators to deer. But deer have evolved as a prey animal over thousands of years. Mountain lions and bear, bobcats and coyotes are well established in their preys mind. Even man as they will go nocturnal in a minute.
    My father-in-law has zebras {no B. S.}, one of the farm helpers mistakenly threw a bail of straw out in the field and when they saw it they bolted right on through the fence and kept on gettin' it. He called the guy he got them from to see what the best chance of getting them back was. Dude said, "don't show 'em any more straw... the straw is the color of a lion." These zebras have never seen Africa and they sure haven't seen lions crouching in the grass....Predator v. prey, I think it's called "ingrained".
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2019
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  15. Jalen

    Jalen

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    I’ll probably get beat up for saying this, especially after reading through this thread but here goes. I think the moons effect on deer movement is a little (lot)over blown. I listened to a podcast with John Dudley (archery guru) and a deer biologist and the biologist said there isn’t a significant connection with movement and moon phase. The biologist said the connection is lots of hunters base their schedule off the moon and then see or harvest deer and buy into it even more. I just hunt when I can and I’ve had luck regardless of the phase. Here’s a different article you might find interesting it basically makes the same point... https://www.themeateater.com/hunt/whitetail-deer/the-debate-about-lunar-effects-on-whitetails
     
  16. AckleymanII

    AckleymanII Silver $$ Contributor

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    We night hunted in Mexico a lot for predators. We were in areas where there were a tremendous number of coyotes. During the period of a full moon, there would be a period before the moon rose and we would kill a lot of coyotes. As soon as the moon came up, it is like someone had thrown a switch...no more coyotes would come in.

    I would blow a howler, and there would be coyotes howling 360* around us from 100 yds out till as far as you could hear. No takers.
     
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  17. Spike A

    Spike A Silver $$ Contributor

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    I have learned around my neck of the woods the barametric pressure seems to make a bigger difference than moon phase... but put the two together and throw in cloud cover ...wow... don’t get me wrong.. i hunt some family farm land that i have yet to go out and not see deer although might not be shootabale ( distance or size/gender) but I have noticed a higher movement volume.. and or not so cautious acting...
     
  18. daleboy

    daleboy Silver $$ Contributor

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    Some people plant their gardens by the moon,some folks believe in the "The Farmer's Almanac"...I guess it's whatever makes you feel good .

    I don't believe the moon has anything to do with deer ,more likely the weather during those periods . I am surrounded my deer yearly,and they yard up on my land during the winter .I spend a lot of time observing . Just my professional opinion.
     
  19. MrMajestic

    MrMajestic Gold $$ Contributor

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    new moon and civil sunset is all I need...
     
  20. Ledd Slinger

    Ledd Slinger Gold $$ Contributor

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    Observing 'pet' whitetail deer on private land is not the same thing.
     
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