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Moon Cycles and Deer

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I used the search feature when I started wondering about this topic but didn't find anything very conclusive so I thought I'd pose the question to the forums and see what you all have to offer. 

The question centers around the moon cycles and deer movement. Before I did any research myself I was working under the common belief that full and nearly full moons slow down deer activity because they are so much more active at night and therefore less during daylight. I read a few interesting articles about studies by universities studying exactly this subject and one of the more interesting results indicated that a full moon will slow deer feeding at first and last light but tends to increase it late morning because they grazed more later in the night and got hungry again late morning. I began to wonder how that would affect Coues deer since they're known to get up and graze/stretch/find new shade at midday anyway.

The other thing that was interesting as it pertains to this time of year was that studies show the moon cycle has no impact on rutting activity, which surprised me. One study showed that over the course of 15 years (if I remember correctly) the moon changed nothing in regards to what day of the month fawns were conceived.

So with all that being said, do you all have any personal observations in this area and have something to offer about changing or adjusting tactics during full or nearly full moons? I find it especially important because this weekend is a full moon and we're expecting to see the rut start up here any time. Thanks in advance!

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I commend you on your research. Wisconsin did a inconclusive study decades ago which probably found it's way into the articles your read. Deer will do, well what deer will do and their habits are predictably unpredictable as a genus and their geographic location.

Specific individuals have been patterned and just when the hunter has them figured out they just disappear. Coues are just one of of 20+ subspecies of whitetail from Canada to South America so I would concentrate on them in an area you want to hunt and go from there. Target specific deer and not the deer in general.

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I forget trying to figure out moon cycles. I hunt whenever I can. I have noticed over the years that when sitting water full moon days were much less productive than dark days. And I have been told by biologist that day length influences rut activity more than any one factor.

Just hunt

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If I was able to hunt whenever I wanted to early in the season I might pay attention to the moon phases.  I have hunted down in Mexico 3 times in the past and tried to hunt the moon phase 2 of the 3 times.  Both of those times we saw way fewer bucks than when we hunted the rut and didn't pay any attention to the moon.  Needless to say I am going down this year and could care less about the moon.  We are going the 3rd week of January hoping to catch the rut.

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1 hour ago, creed said:

I forget trying to figure out moon cycles. I hunt whenever I can. I have noticed over the years that when sitting water full moon days were much less productive than dark days. And I have been told by biologist that day length influences rut activity more than any one factor.

Just hunt

For sure.

Don't get me wrong, I'm going to hunt regardless of how big the moon is. Just curious what differences anyone has noticed.

The part you mentioned about the length of days and the rut seems to be about the only reliable pattern with deer movement. The rest of the time they are where they are, when they are.

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Anytime I try to pattern deer activity with moon activity, bad weather comes along and changes everything.  barometric pressure is probably more reliable in guessing what they are doing during the course of a day.  That's just my experience, but I am no expert.

I also think it's true that whitetail have changing behavior and habits by local and subspecies.  I now know 3 types of whitetail well enough to know that they are quite different in deed.  Most of Montana has the midwest subspecies or whatever it's called.   They hang in the river bottoms for the most part.  Easy to hunt, but harder to find on public land because river valleys are usually private property.   In the far west part of Montana, they have another kind of whitetail that hangs in the hills in the timber.  They are easy to hunt and easier to find on public land cause they can be found in the hills,  Then there are these Coues here in AZ that are way different than the other two.  In fact, if I were advising a hunter from Montana who was hunting Coues for the first time, I'd tell them to hunt them more like Montana Muleys.

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MT_Sourdough

That's a really good point. I grew up hunting Wisconsin hardwood and farmland deer and since moving out here got into Coues. They're worlds apart. But deer are deer which means they'll pretty much do whatever they want when they want. 

I'm jealous you get to hunt up in Montana, I'd love to get up there regularly.

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On 12/19/2018 at 5:59 PM, AZbowhntr said:

If I was able to hunt whenever I wanted to early in the season I might pay attention to the moon phases.  I have hunted down in Mexico 3 times in the past and tried to hunt the moon phase 2 of the 3 times.  Both of those times we saw way fewer bucks than when we hunted the rut and didn't pay any attention to the moon.  Needless to say I am going down this year and could care less about the moon.  We are going the 3rd week of January hoping to catch the rut.

We are headed down on the 19th. It will be full the whole time we are there. I wanted to go later but family stuff got in the way.

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From what I have experienced full moons greatly impacted hunting and impact Coues hunting more than other species.  I think a few other things come into play, temps, and hunting pressure.  I have had 2 coues hunts in full moons.  On one we were seeing bucks everyday then the moon went full and we didn’t see another buck the last 4 days of the hunt.  This was also public land regular hunt so the hunting pressure played a role.  The pressure with moon made for tuff hunting.  I always plan my hunts around the moon cycles.  It’s not the only factor but for Coues hunting I think it’s worth paying attention to.

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On 12/22/2018 at 7:44 PM, KoosCrazy said:

From what I have experienced full moons greatly impacted hunting and impact Coues hunting more than other species.  I think a few other things come into play, temps, and hunting pressure.  I have had 2 coues hunts in full moons.  On one we were seeing bucks everyday then the moon went full and we didn’t see another buck 
the last 4 days of the hunt.  This was also public land regular hunt ac market so the hunting pressure played a role.  The pressure with moon made for tuff hunting.  I always plan my hunts around the moon cycles.  It’s not the only factor but for Coues hunting I think it’s worth paying attention to.

Nice . I have same experience.

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