Moon Times – Do They Affect Deer Movement?

Moon Guide

Over the past two or three seasons I’ve started paying more and more attention to the moon and how it affects deer movement.  There’s been a lot of research on this over the years and seemingly a lot of theories to go along with it.  One of these theories is that deer movement peaks during specific “moon times” or when the moon itself either peaks overhead (where we can see it) or underfoot (where we can’t).  The Moon Guide, which has been around for some 15 years now, is a handy dial that tells the moon times for each day.

This is my 3rd season using the Moon Guide, and while I certainly don’t hunt exclusively by what it tells me, I can definitely say that there seems to be some merit to these “moon times”.  This has been holding especially true for the 2010 bowhunting season.  I’ve seen more deer, and specifically more bucks, on days when the moon times peak during the morning or evening hunts.

Just this past weekend our moon times were peaking at roughly 1 pm and again during the middle of the night.  These are what some may consider “bad” moon times for hunting.  We all know that deer move during the middle of the day, but by and large the majority of their movement is during the night.  So with the moon peaking at 1 pm I’m sure some deer where on their feet, but by and large the movement should have been mostly at night.

After 6 hunts this weekend I did see some decent deer movement, but it was all does and smaller bucks.  The big boys seemed to be hiding somewhere.  Which for the first week of November, with cold temps, is pretty unusual.  With some exceptions, the majority of bowhunters I talked to this weekend didn’t see much for big buck movement.  Was it because of the moon times?  Possibly, but who really knows for sure?  One thing I do know is that a lot more bucks hit the dirt over Halloween weekend than this past weekend.  With similar weather conditions, colder in many cases actually, what was the big difference?  You’d think with November finally here that more big bucks would be up on their feet, when in fact the majority of people I talked to actually saw less deer.

As for me personally, my vacation time and extended hunting trips have been planned around “good” moon times this year, and so far I’m two for two with a buck and a doe both hitting the ground.  During the weekends with “bad” moon times I’m yet to see a shooter buck on his feet from my stand.  Coincidence?  Maybe.

If you want to keep an eye on the moon times yourself, pick up a Moon Guide from the store.  It just may come in handy when you’re planning your next hunting trip.  Click here to purchase your Mooon Guide today.

Speaking of which, we have good moon times starting this Thursday through Monday and a cold front set to move in as well.  Mark my words, it’s going to be another great weekend just like Halloween!


  1. Josh/OH says:

    JZ, this is a great article! I've never really put much stock into moon theory, but this year has definitely made me reevaluate my stance on the subject. Everything I've read from D&DH/Charles Alzheimer seems to be quite accurate in my little neck of the woods. And it just happens that I have this Thursday-Sunday dedicated to my best property. I hope you're predictions are on the money!

  2. Finally a piece to comment on about the moons effect on whitetails. I personally have books by both Jeff Murray and Charles J. Alsheimer. I have also read all of D&DH predictions by Charles over the years. As a background, Alsheimer bases his rut predictions/theories on the second full moon of the fall equinox and Murray bases his deer movement theories on positioning of the moon and the specific moon phases themselves. I have also read articles by John J. Ozaga debunking these myths. John J. Ozaga, a well established author and wildlife biologist, claims that photoperiodism, the shortening of daylight hours, triggers the whitetail rut. Which in essence triggers mature buck sightings and movement. I had previously based my hunting around Alsheimers predictions through the years around the second full moon with good success. This years predictions have all but proved to me that the moons effects are probably more coincidental than fact. His predictions this year place the moon date around November 21st with peak breeding around that time. I can say that since Halloween, I have seen the same amount of rutting activity i have seen in all of my past 23 years of bowhunting. In most years, the second full moon usually always falls at the end of October or the first week of November, which would make it a viable theory since most predictions give a 7-10 day buffer. Purely coincindental in my mind now. I hunt in Michigan and through my logs over the past 15 years I have averaged arrowing my bucks around the 7th of November. Plus or minus 5 days with the most coming on the 8th. It seems here in Michigan the best window to bowhunt is from October 28th till November 15th, Opening day of rifle season here. It may serve better to predict deer movement based upon changing weather conditions, temperature, and wind direction during that window than moon data. Its well known how accute a deers sense of smell is and during the rut, mature bucks scent check scrapes and doe bedding areas from a distance in security cover with the wind to there advantage. If the wind is wrong for a mature bucks scent check routine he will wait till the cover of darkness. I have seen the most bucks during this time period at all times of the day when the wind is right for scent checking scrape lines. Not where the moon was that day.


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