Contributors to this thread:
Has anyone seen any correlation between moon phase and movement of antelope at waterholes? Is one phase any better than another?
Haven't ever thought about it Greg. I usually have a set time period to go, and sit all day until one shows. I guess if I lived where they do, I might have payed more attention to it. Then again, I don't remember like I usta..............
Antelope seem to be on their own schedule. They are as random as anything out there. If you have time to hunt, then go hunt.
That is one of my favorite things about antelope hunting. They pretty much move at all hours of the day, plus the fact they are very visible. Other than the rut, I haven't seen any major factors that effect movement, success, attitude of the animal, etc.
I doubt if the moon phase matters at all. Weather has about 99% to do with it! If you are flexible and can time your hunt around a string of hot, dry weather you obviously will be a lot better off than if it is cool and wet. Antelope often drink out of puddles and any standing water on rocks and in tight draws after rain. If it's 90 degrees they will likely come in more often than if it's 32 degrees out. Also if hunting in Sept when they are chasing does around in the rut they likely will be pretty thirsty on hot, dry days. It starts cooling off in Sept so again the weather can dictate when and how often they water.
I guess I should elaborate. About 99% of antelope water during daylight hours so you really don't need to worry about them watering at night. I found smart ole buck 1 time that I found out watered only at night....but that's out of around 40 years of hunting them!
I'm not well versed in antelope. I kinda thought they laid down for the night and moved most of the day?
Bear Track, I know they will move on a full moon night. I have bedded them down at dark but discovered they were not there in the morning. Also, I have seen them move when one can hardly see at first light.
They do move and water during a full moon and have trail can photos that prove it. You just may have to sit a watering hole all day just to have a chance at one coming in during the late afternoon. The good thing about pronghorn is they're intermittently active throughout the day.
Bou, how does someone so far from pronghorn territory have such a stead-fast answer?
Like Paul, we've had them bedded on a ridge in the heavy grayness of dusk and they aren't there when it's first light enough to see, but I wouldn't let moon phase decide when I would, or would not, go on a hunt.
Interesting topic, though.
I've hunted antelope just about every year for 40+ years and never considered moon phase! However, if I'm going to waterhole hunt there isn't a trip I take where I don't look at rain forecast and if it has rained much prior to my trip. Antelope obviously move around at night. They aren't like bighorn and mtn goats that bed in cliffs that you can put to bed and expect to find them in the same vicinity in the morning.
If you've been around waterholes and antelope much you know how skiddish...especially monster, mature bucks are when they come to water. Not many bucks are willing to water in the dark when they are at a disadvantage using their keen eyesight! I'm not saying that there may be a buck that waters at night but 99% of antelope I've hunted in Wyo water during daylight hours or right at dawn or dusk. Obviously there are exeptions like the buck I mentioned above and the other one or 2 that knife2sharp mentioned. Do yourself a favor and time your trip/s around weather and not moon phase!
Thanks for the interesting and varied comments on the topic. Always welcome more responses.
I've read and been told by biologists that they don't have the same rods and cones in their eyes that elk/deer have so they don't see much better at night than we do. So it would stand to reason that they would move around during a full moon but not so much without it.
I hate to be insistent on what I've seen over the years but it's always possible that antelope in other parts of the country may behave differently than where I hunt in Wyo! I would be curious if others have noticed antelope watering after dark or if there are just a few remote exceptions?
The one buck I witnessed that watered after dark was confined to watering at 1 waterhole where he lived in a small, confined pasture (highway on 2 sides). He was a smart buck and knew our blinds were set up there for a reason. He figured out he could safely water at night!
I always hunt during the dark of the moon. When I do not take the moon in consideration my hunt suffers. This year the moon was full and my Utah Limited Entry Elk hunt and it was extremely poor. I had the chance twice to turn the tag back and keep the points.. Should have followed my own rules.