There is no question that whitetails and other deer species are low light animals, moving in and out of cover in the gray light of dawn and dusk.
However, there has been a great deal of debate among hunters on how and how much the moon impacts deer activity, if at all. Some hunters feel a full moon isn’t favorable for hunting because the deer spend the night feeding and rutting. Others argue that the light of the full moon can actually spark activity and get mature bucks moving earlier in the evenings. Many believe moon phase and the rut are linked though the QDMA says it’s not.
This New Study Answers the Question
In a 2016 joint study, deer biologists from Auburn University, Louisiana State University, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, and Norfolk Southern Railway concluded the moon does play a significant role on deer behavior. This long-term study observed the behavior of deer fitted with radio collars against a variety of environmental influences and with the data collected and analyzed, the researchers discovered a correlation of deer movement patterns to the overhead and underfoot positions of the moon.
The Moon’s Position, not its Phase, Makes Deer Move
“Based on our results, on those days furthest from the full or new moon, deer were less likely to be active during moonrise and moon-set periods, and more likely to be active during moon overhead and moon underfoot periods. ”
“our study also documented change in the intensity of activity surrounding moon OVERHEAD and moon UNDER- FOOT periods associated with change in proximity to the new and full moons.”
Do You Want to Learn More about this Deer Study?
Looking for an edge, noted hunter Jeff Murray started tracking moon position and deer behavior. Since publishing the Moon Guide in 1992, hunters have been using the information based on Jeff’s original observations and meticulous field studies. Now, an independent study confirms what decades of Moon Guide hunters have known, there are only a handful of optimal hunting days each season when the moon’s position aligns with those gray light times.
We’re making this important study available to hunters who are looking for an edge or want to find out more. You can download the latest field study on deer movement here.