Monday, November 17, 2008

Hunting By The Moon Chart

© Othmar Vohringer

How many of you check the moon chart before a hunt? If my estimation is right based on what hunters tell me I assume that quite a few use a moon guide to determine the best hunting times.

At times I have been known to check the moon guide too. Although to be honest I never took it very seriously. The way I see it, every day a hunter heads out is a good day to hunt. More importantly, most of us have to go hunting when they have time and that might not be when the moon chart predicts good hunting.

Yesterday was no exception to this fact. Just out of curiosity I checked the hunting and fishing guide on my GPS. The results came up as “poor hunting day”. The information the GPS gathered is passed solely on the constellation of the moon. Yesterday the moon was a waning gibbous 73% full. As any old hunter will tell you this in not considered a hunting moon.

I went out despite of what the moon chart said, I always do, and as it turned out the deer sightings belied the chart said. In a one morning of spot and stalk hunting I have seen four does and two bucks. Unfortunately, we cannot shoot does here and the bucks have to have a minimum of four times not including the brow time and the two bucks I saw all did not fulfill the legal requirements. So no shots were fired.

I have been very encouraged by the deer sightings because it was a new location that I have never seen before and purely went by the knowledge of how deer use terrain and structure to navigate an area. I also discovered three locations (see aerial map image) that would make terrific bowhunting sites. Since our bow season is closed for this year I marked the spots in my GPS with a note attached “scout in June next year”. The activity of the deer, all of them were feeding in the late morning, has confirmed ones more my opinion that there is much more to deer activity that just the moon.

In fact I believe, based on years of experience, that the moon has very little influence on deer movement and activity. Deer activity is regulated mainly by weather, availability of food, the rut and hunting pressure. Which concludes me to advice that any day a hunter has time to go out is a good hunting day.

(This is a prairie like landscape with wide-open country and rolling hills. The deer use the narrow wooded coulees and ravines to travel from the bottomland alfalfa fields to the forests in higher elevation. On many places the wooded strips are not wider than 20 to 30 yards. This makes them perfect ambush sites for bowhunters.)

I would like to hear opinions and experiences from other hunters on this topic.

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bushman said...

I find animals move earlier in the evening on dark moons...

SimplyOutdoors said...

I think the moon does have some effect, but I don't base all of hunting on it-that is for sure.

I think it is something to take into consideration though.

Othmar Vohringer said...

It looks like we’re on the same level here in the understanding that the moon does have an influence on deer movement but that there are other influences that are just as important if not more so than the moon.

Adam said...

I think the moon is just another piece of a big puzzle when it comes to hunting. I just haven't been able to figure it out. I just go hunting when I have the chance and hope for the best.

deerslayer said...

Othmar; I'VE FOUND THAT THE DEER HERE IN Tennessee move later with a moon shining bright than with no moon.Early morning hunting for no moon and late morning to mid-day if the moon is out is how I try to hunt. The moon affects the deer movement but they still have to feed and they can see better by the light of the moon. The rise and fall of barametric pressure also predicts deer movement.

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