Monday, April 26, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Moon Phase Whitetail Hunting

by Naomi K. Shapiro

One of the arguments often heard among deer hunters is whether whitetail hunting based on moon phase projection is helpful. There have been a ton of articles on both sides of the subject. Some articles are very positive -- and some are not; indeed, any number of hunters believe that the importance of moon phase hunting is vastly overrated; some going as far as to say that it's "snake oil." We're going to explore both sides of the issue, being as objective as we can, based on actual experience -- and we'll let you decide.

Some professional guides throw out the idea of total reliance on moon phases because when someone hires a guide he/she must produce every time in the woods -- moon phase or not. Having said that, a good number of guides generally will say they do indeed see increased movement and success because of using moon phase projections. "It's just part of the entire puzzle," says guide Phil Schweik. You can use moon phase tactics in conjunction with many other considerations -- weather (fronts moving in and out), wind, state of the rut, decoys, scent, calling, location, terrain -- every part of the scenario contributes to a successful hunt when used as a totality. Relying on just one item can be iffy."

There are any number of individuals and companies who produce calendars videos, charts and other items that supposedly will school someone in the art of deciphering and using moon phases. Some hunters closely follow the regimen, others decry it.

According to Schweik, three days before a moon phase, and one-to-three days after a moon phase, he has found a definite change in the pattern of animal/wildlife activity --and that surely includes deer. While Schweik doesn't pay rapt attention to moon phases, he does strongly state that when there is a full moon, there is much more midday deer movement and activity. Indeed, when this happens, Schweik changes from the usual "low light" hours hunting to doing more midday -- he says it often works – and at times, doesn't. But that's true of any hunting, he says. One day something works, and the next day it won't. Schweik says he has a number of clients who specifically hire him to hunt during a particular moon phase event. These hunters have been very successful using this method and swear by it.

Obviously, during the rut, the deer are already on the move, but, according to Schweik and other guides, when hunting during the rut, and using other indicators such as a moon phase, the chances of success rise considerably.

On the other side of the coin, not a lot of hunters talk about moon phase utilization. Most hunters plan their hunt around the rut, and if it so happens that there is a moon phase in effect, OK – but not tremendous numbers give credit for a successful hunt to using moon phase opportunities.

Deer hunting season dates are "written in stone." In the gun season (at least in Wisconsin), you've got nine days to hunt—and that's it -- moon phases or not. In researching this article, the writer couldn't really find any definitive information as to whether deer hunting numbers vary greatly if there is a moon phase during the season. Of course when it comes to bow season, which lasts for months, there surely will be a number of moon phase situations during the season. Again, we couldn't find any specific information as to numbers of bow season deer harvested specifically linked to a moon phase.

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Even though Schweik "believes" that deer movement and activity increase during a moon phase, he is not ready to plan a deer hunt using only moon phase information. "I'll use it if the particular situation dictates, but I will only rely on it in conjunction with using all the other variables and techniques involved to maximize my chances of success -- particularly for my clients," Schweik says.

Opinions on the value of moon phase hunting vary greatly -- from the "true believers" to the "true deniers," and the "maybe-ers" in between. Do your own "due diligence," and satisfy yourself as to which position fits your frame of thinking. In the end, there is no "black and white" answer, but certainly there are many shades of "gray." That's what makes hunting interesting!


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