Deer Hunting by the Moon!



The American Indians gave us the phrases “hunter’s moon,” and “harvest moon” and “rutting moon.”  Since their very survival was dependent

Moon Phases and Deer Hunting! *

upon their hunting skills and knowledge, they learned what things could affect their hunting — weather, terrain and moon phases.

The Harvest Moon

This is a very specific period of time, the first full moon closest to the autumnal equinox (in 2010, the fall equinox will be September 22).

The Indians called it this because the moon was bright enough to allow them to finish their harvesting work. For deer hunting, the harvest moon is a ‘Pre-Rut Moon’ (see Charles Alsheimer’s book, Hunting Whitetail by the Moon).

Mr. Alsheimer stated that all mature does came into a brief 24 to 48 hour estrus cycle during this time.  Thus, it can be an incredibly productive time to hunt deer.

The Rutting Moon

This phrase refers to the 2 or 3 days before a full moon and the 2 or 3 days after the full moon phase ends.  Bucks are looking for romance in the fall, roughly between October and January.

Thus, bucks are most active during the full moon periods during these months.  They are constantly seeking and following does; looking for any doe that is or will soon come into estrus.

Thus, hunters may capitalize on these behaviors by hunting and using deer calls during these periods.  (I’m going to come back to deer calling in future postings, in a series on ‘deer vocalizations.’)

A Full Moon During the Rut

Peter Fiduccia, in 101 Deer Hunting Tips, states, ” More fully mature whitetails are taken under a rutting full moon than at any other time — including during the midday hours.” (p. 74)

This master hunter states clearly that during the full moon, bucks will be active day and night.   “They can’t waste valuable breeding opportunities with does just because it’s midday!” (p. 74)


Future Postings

Before talking about the 12 distinct calls/sounds/vocalizations of whitetail deer, I will spend a bit of time on the hierarchy of deer (who is the top deer, and why).

The goal of learning the 12 calls, is for the hunter to learn to imitate those calls for greater success in the field!

Until Next Time!


‘Howling at the Moon’ used by permission of Vantage Point Graphics!


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Published in: on January 26, 2010 at 10:09 am  Comments Off on Deer Hunting by the Moon!