The best time to be in the woods is whenever you can get out there.
QUESTION: As a Life Member of Buckmasters, I constantly read articles about lunar effect on deer movement and behavior. I have seen articles that emphasize the Lunar Wheel to hit the nail on the head in predicting the best times, the worst times, and the don’t-get-out-of-bed times. Does the moon have a definite influence on deer behavior, movement, sexual attraction and feeding patterns? My reason for asking is based upon not really understanding how to use moon charts, wheels or phone apps to be more effective in the woods. Are these devices effective, real or a pig in a poke?
ANSWER: Like the Russian mystic, Rasputin, moon theories just won’t die, mostly because some folks are trying to sell stuff: moon wheels, charts and (ahem) magazines, and other folks are looking for shortcuts.
I typically attend the Southeast Deer Study Group meetings every year with other deer biologists, and there has been considerable research done on what does and does not influence deer movement and behavior. To date, there is no scientific evidence that moon position influences deer movement.
Several years ago, I contacted biologists from every state and asked them for their thoughts. To a man, and a woman, they said moon phase has no influence on rut timing. It occurs at the same time every year.
Having said that, there’s also no scientific evidence showing a correlation between movement and moon phase. However, over 40 years of personal observation have proven to me that daytime deer movement is suppressed during a full moon. I don’t care what the science says.
Forget the wheels, charts and apps. The best time to be in the woods is when the season is open.
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