If I had to name just one thing that has increased my success on seeing monster bucks during the daylight hours, whether it’s in season or during summer scouting, it would have to be paying attention to the MOON! I know there are many different opinions about the moon and what impact it has on whitetail deer, and some of you may or may not believe in it depending on your own experiences, but I’m here to tell you it is vitally important to my success! What I’m going to share with you comes from my own personal experiences after following this tactic for the past 16 years, and from 30 years of trial and error and in the field experience from my good friend and the late Jeff Murray.
Before he passed away, I spent many hours talking to Jeff about his moon theories and why the moon has such a strong influence on all animals. His ideas were unique, and after applying them to my hunting strategies, I have enjoyed success beyond belief, harvesting all of my biggest bucks on Jeff’s “ Red Moon Days”! In fact, the technique works so well that I began incorporating it into my summer scouting and using it to plan most of my out of state hunts. Below is the short version, you owe it to yourself to read his book “Moonbeams” and to pick up a “Moon Guide” for this season, both are available at www.moonguide.com.
Basically, Jeff explained it to me like this: Everyday, twice a day, the moon is directly overhead or directly underfoot, (straight up or straight down). These “moon times” are roughly 12 hours apart and occur just short of an hour later each day. When the moon is in this position is when it has it’s greatest gravitational pull, triggering the tides and naturally influencing animals to get up and feed. Have you ever been driving down the road midday and see deer out everywhere feeding and wonder whats going on? It was most likely a midday moon time. Remember, these times change daily, occurring later everyday. What we are looking for are the special “Red Days”, the days the moon peaks overhead or underfoot at prime time during the first or last hour of light in the morning and evenings. Under normal circumstances, these are naturally the best times of the day for deer movement. Deer are creatures of the “grey period”, preferring to move just after sunset and just prior to sunrise, it’s natural for them. When you add a corresponding moon time that occurs during these prime time periods of movement, you have just doubled the chance of those animals getting up moving during daylight. By nature, they already have the urge to get up and move during these lowlight conditions, now they have the moon pulling them to do it as well. There are only a handful of days every month that these “moon times” will happen during primetime in the morning or evening and these are the “Red Days”, by far the best days to catch a big buck on his feet during daylight!
I have witnessed it firsthand, and it doesn’t matter if its October or July, big bucks are most likely to move and be visible on these “Red Days”. Back in 2003, I was after a giant buck I had nicknamed Cody’s buck because my chocolate lab (named Cody) had found a monster shed off the animal scoring 83”. The first season I only saw the buck twice, once during early season and then again in January. The following year I never laid eyes on the bruiser and figured some lucky hunter had strapped a tag to him. On a summer scouting trip the 3rd season, I happened to be driving past that farm and there he was, standing in the beans, bigger than ever! I immediately set an observation stand and began my summer vigil, determined to figure this buck out and put my tag on his 200”+ rack! After a few evenings it was apparent that he wasn’t hitting the field like clockwork and I was going to have to spend some long, hot, sweaty hours battling mosquitos to get a look at the giant and hopefully catch him on video. I did manage to see him a few times in the shadows, entering the field at the very last minute with no available camera light. Up to this point, I hadn’t paid much attention to my moon guide until season started but I figured why not, if it works during season it should work in the summer too. Well it did, and after spending 51 nights in stand that summer, the ONLY days that buck showed himself before dark were the “Red Days”!!! Needless to say, I don’t wait for season to get here before I start marking my calendar for the moon and make sure that I’m concentrating my summer scouting on the best days possible.
It never ceases to amaze me that even when you know a big buck is in the area, how hard it can be to get an eyeball on him, they just aren’t out there everyday like most of the herd, they just don’t not like to be seen. They stay hidden or they die! Apply this moon strategy to your summer scouting and your hunting and see what happens, I have for 16 years now and I’ve got a wall of giants taken on the “Red Days” to prove it works!