What Effect Does the Moon Have on Whitetails?

Scott Bestul |


*The moon has zero influence.  Biologists are usually the ones spouting this one, and I don’t buy it, mainly because no one (to my knowledge) has designed and run a study made specifically to examine the topic. Most biologists are not as interested in deer behavior as they are biology/management, so I doubt this topic will be studied any time soon.

*The moon can affect the timing of the rut. Because the moon’s cycle varies from year to year, some have postulated that it can affect when peak breeding occurs, with some years featuring a peak rut that can vary by as much as three weeks. I’m not ready to dismiss this theory, but the thing that throws me is that fawn-aging studies prove that peak breeding dates (especially in northern states, where the timing of the fawn “drop” is pretty critical) don’t vary by more than a few days in a given year. So while I don’t disbelieve the theory, I’m skeptical.

19355*The moon can influence when deer move during the day. This, to me, seems the most plausible. I’ve noticed a correlation between good deer movement and days when the moon is visible in the day time sky. Adam Hays, owner of The Deer Hunter’s Moon Guide says I’ve only got it half-right. “When the moon is directly overhead, or underfoot, during daylight hours, deer move better,” he says.

Since Adam has killed a whole lot more big deer than I have (he just tagged his 4th 200”-or better whitetail this year), I decided to buy one of his moon guides this year. I’m not prepared to say I’m a total believer, but I have noticed an eerie number of daylight pics of big deer on the days (and at the times) the chart predicts will be best. I’ve included a few photos of mature bucks that moved on predicted dates/times and I have to say this system has my attention.

How about you? What are your thoughts on lunar phases/positions and their affect on how deer move?

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