Ask The Biologist

Seeing Red?

Seeing Red?

By Bob Humphrey

Why a blood moon, or any type of moon, probably doesn’t make a big difference.

QUESTION: When the bow deer season opens in North Carolina, is a Blood Moon good for hunters?

ANSWER: Given that it’s now November we’re a little late in answering this one, but it doesn’t really matter. Blood moon is another name for a total lunar eclipse, which occurs when alignment of the sun, earth and moon results in the moon being completely shaded from the sun’s rays by earth. The earth scatters blue light so only red light reaches the moon, resulting in the term.

While there’s been lots of discussion and plenty of theories, research has demonstrated over and over again that the moon phase, position or even eclipse has no discernible effect on deer movement or behavior.

Deer are most active at dawn and dusk, when there’s less visible light, and the same thing occurs during an eclipse. However, their patterns are tuned by circadian rhythms – patterns that follow a 24-hour cycle – and minor, temporary alterations in light would likely have little, if any, effect.

Having said that, I wouldn’t rule it out altogether.

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