Many bowhunters blindly believe in moon-phase charts and elaborate theories about how the moon affects animal behavior. But a number of years ago, a well-known writer whose self-proclaimed field of expertise was moon phase effects on animals approached me at a sport show.
“I can’t figure it out,” this fellow admitted. “I hunted elk and deer last year in Montana, and those darn animals did not behave like my moon charts said they would. You live out West, Chuck. Can you explain why my data didn’t work?”
I was polite to the guy, but I was laughing inside. Moon-phase predictions are all the rage these days, but as near as I can tell, much of this stuff is mumbo-jumbo. I guess everyone’s got to believe in something, but please don’t try to foist moon baloney on me.
In my experience with animals all over our continent, there is only one consistent effect the moon has on hunting. When the moon is bright, animals move and feed more at night. They go to bed earlier, because they are stuffed with food at dawn. And since they bed down earlier, they get hungry earlier in the day and appear earlier in the evening.
On dark nights, the opposite tends to be true. Critters feed longer after dawn and stay bedded until later in the evening because they don’t get hungry as early.
So, during a bright moon, hunting is better in the evening, and during a dark moon, hunting is better in the morning. These are the only moon effects I’ve found to be reliable when attempting to predict game activity.