Moon Phase Facts and Deer Movement

Posted by

I’ve been around long enough to have heard some real doozies ! I had a guy tell me once that he saw BigFoot in the mountains of Western North Carolina. And while I don’t know a definitive answer to the question of the existence of the mega ape, and I wasn’t there when this guy named Paul said he saw Bigfoot, I can come up with a pretty well-informed answer. That answer is that I think the Bigfoot sighting may have had more to do with a quart of fresh peach moonshine than an 8 foot tall hairy primate. But that’s just me! Disagreements have been surrounded by and friendships ended by far less impossible discussions, especially in the deer woods!

In most hunt camps and deer woods across America there are 3 discussions that are likely to start a world war style argument! Those are trophy hunting, the best caliber deer rifle and whether the moon phase effects deer movement! Let’s discuss moon phase facts, or wives tails fictions.

The can of worms

No, were not heading to the pond to load up on bluegill for an all night catfish trip. The can of worms were gonna open is the good old moon phase discussion! Yep, it never gets old and will likely never go away ! The opinions some folks have are as absolute as the fall leaves hitting the ground while most have no opinion or just don’t really seem to care! Admittedly I have been the later group for most of my life just like other opinions of deer hunting and deer movement. I’ve always held the beleif that the prime reason a deer moves in the non-rut time of the season is based on whether that deer’s belly is growling.

There is such a profound reasoning to deer movement in the rut that I don’t think anyone can argue the point. But when you mix in such discussions as weather and moon phase …… well we’ll just say wars have been started over less !

I’m naturally a cynically incline person when it comes to many things about the modern evolution of deer hunting philosophy. While I believe that there are many truths to the stories in print and on T.V. and video, I also believe that many of these philosophies are fueled by the all mighty dollar. The sponsor for T.V. show X makes the best camo pattern, because that’s what the personality on that hunting show is wearing and thats the commercial you see 50/11 times during that 30 minuet show. And lets not forget that the 3 pound bag of apple flavored attractant that this husband and wife team are promoting works so much better than the apple flavored attractant on the show on the competing channel !

It’s business, right? How else can you explain why the pictures of leaves on this guy’s camo is so much better than the pictures of leaves on the other guy’s camo ? And that’s the same way I have always felt about the moon phase discussion. The ones who push the idea the hardest are the folks who make the little moon phase disk things that tell you what day and time you should hunt, and what day to stay in the bed.

So I did some good old country boy research, and even got scientific with it.

The trail camera evidence

I have several feed stations and mineral sites set up in the woods behind my home that I keep going year round to help in holding deer. I usually keep a couple of (Browning) trail cameras going. (When I remember batteries and cards) I don’t get really serious with the cameras till about a month before the season when I’m trying to pattern bucks. But I keep them out pretty much year round and keep the deer fed.

I also have a couple of feed stations and mineral lick on the hunting lease I share with 3 other guys . But that spot is an hour and a half from home so it doesn’t get as much attention.Over the past several years I have collected a lot of photographed data from both places and the data is a bit interesting,

I started 2 weeks before this post was written and pulled all my photo files and saved them into folders on my PC by month. I wound up with a pretty good sample except during the late spring and early summer when I am not as much worried about the cameras and only concentrate on feeding. But my early fall to late winter archives are pretty impressive.

The difference in early fall and late winter

The moon phase changes a little from time to time but is usually fairly standard as far as waxing Gibbous, Full, Crescent etc goes. Like I said my data wasn’t full enough the rest of the year to draw a conclusion, but my early fall to late winter data was pretty interesting.

I used a couple of online sources to clarify the past couple of year’s moon phases with the photos from my cameras. I keep notebooks on everything from hunting, fishing scouting and any other thing I can find to try to use info to get better. It has given me some absolute findings such as a pumpkin green fines e worm works best on sunny days on my local lake and a motor oil 6 inch zoom with chartreuse tail works best on cloudy days. That’s why I do the notebooks.

The Cool thing I found was that During the 2 days before through 2-4 days after a full moon the deer moved a lot at mid day. In fact, they moved more between feeding and bedding during the day than at night on these days. That part surprised me a bit. I figured they moved at mid day to feed because they were up all night feeding in the brightness of a full moon and were bedded back down during the prime hunting times of 6:00 am and 11:00am. But that wasn’t the case at all. It was true that daytime movement was much more during the 6 days of a full moon, but nighttime activity was unchanged or less!

This was the case with the moon phases between August to later parts of November. In late November the deer movement slowed dramatically in the daytime and was prodominantly night time movement. But this could be partly due to hunting pressure and post rut issues.

The movement 2 weeks before Halloween and 2 weeks after Halloween were all over the place with little evidence to support much of anything. I believe the reason for this is the rut when bucks are moving the most they do all year and the does are being chased, so it’s hard for anyone to get a good day’s sleep.

The late winter photos saw a little more daylight movement but the bulk was still at night, and the moon didn’t seem to change movement that much at all. In fact the months of early fall to late winter saw a massive difference of deer movement except for the weeks during the peak rut. While late winter on has seen far less evidence of the moon effect .

Going forward

Going forward I plan on keeping much more attention towards my cameras year round. The evidence I have gathered for the Month before till the month after hunting season have indicated a big difference in deer movement based on the moon phase! But not at all what I assumed it would be. I figured every deer in the woods would be feeding all night and bed down before daylight or right at daylight only to get up and move again at mid day. What I found was that they move more during mid day than at night. .


My data for the months of March through August is thin and inconclusive. But I will be working harder on it start this year. Going forward I should be able to make some determinations on deer movement year round. But at this time with the solid data I have, it’s obvious that the days the deer exhibit the most daylight activity are during the 6 days of a full moon. About 2-3 before and 2-3 after and it seems to be mainly during the hunting season months, but that is yet to be seen. I try to supply my readers with content that is honest because I want you to know that you’ll always get the truth from me.

When I do a review it will be an honest review, not one based on whether someone sent me a product to test for free or someone is paying me for good reviews. If you send me a product or I buy it, you get the truth. Period! The same is said for content, tests, experiments and such. I want my readers and customers to believe me and trust me, because a bad name is not what I want.

I have decided that I will make this an ongoing series of updates on the moon phase debate. At this point I would have to say that there is definitely something interesting about the moon phase and deer movement! Going forward we will learn more together. Now I guess I better watch out for Bigfoot in my deer woods! It looks like I was wrong on the moon phase debate, maybe I’m wrong on that too! But I highly doubt it! 🙂

If you have any questions or comments I would appreciate it if you would leave them below. The content and scope of gets better with as much reader participation as possible.

Thanks for reading, and “See you in the great outdoors”






Be Sociable, Share!


  1. Hey Mike:

    What a wonderful research project! It’s going to be a help for you, f’r sure!

    I’ve been interested in moon phases and movements and how they affect people. I’m not sure anybody ever did real research on the thing, but the stories do keep piling up about how things get really wild during the full moon times.

    Thanks for the interesting read.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.