That was hilarious!
Bill in MI
Deer and especially old bucks will hardly ever do anything by the text book.
Everyone have a great Thanksgiving!
One thing I have discovered is that food source have more to do with finding deer than any one thing. During rut find the food source of the does and you will find the does and the bucks as well. In hard wood country if acorns is the game then the period of the acorns is where to go. If a corn field has just been combined the deer will be there. If a milo or bean field has just been cut you will find the deer there.
Hunting pressure has a lot to do with it as well. I use to go to IA.. I would set up my stand on Friday shoot my buck on Sat. and go home on Sunday. This year I was warned by the land owner, things had changed. Boy was he right. Had been waiting two years to get my tag and in that time others had been hunting the same area. Deer came out just before dark and were back in the timber before day light. Was no moon.
I have shot deer in Aug. Sept Oct. and Nov. can honestly say that the only time I have never shot one is when I was here on the computer. Want a deer? get out and hunt them and come up with your own theories.
A good fiend of mine spends most of his time hunting down South in LA.. He tells me the rut is in late Dec. in his area while here in Kansas it is around the 8th or 9th of Nov. No one can ever convince me that moon phases have anything to do with it all.
yes, i too hunt when i can, but observe the moon phase and position. they are important variables, just like time of year, time of day, climate, wind, temperature, precipitation, hunter pressure, etc.
personally, i have found the moon phase and position to be very significant to deer movement in general, not just rut issues over many years of observation.
Balderdash...less than 03% impact.
PLEASE, before you draw any conclusions without having any data collected yourself (on paper), start a detailed log the next couple of years and then come up with your own conclusion on these theories. Chad.
"I don't think the moon alters the rut, nor do I think the weather effects it. Both however can and do effect deer movement, ie. times of day they're more apt to be out and about.
It's the shortening photoperiod that causes rut, just like with plants. As nights lengthen in the fall of the year many kinds of plants know winter is coming and produce seed to continue their species while the moon shines on the whole continent with no regard for long nights of winter or short summer time nights. The rut starts in the north and progresses southward. Over the course of a couple months you can find peak rut somewhere between Canada and Mexico no matter what the phase of the moon."
I'll add the following: 1. During cold weather deer have to eat more to keep warm. 2. Low pressure systems moving in makes many animals more active, especially during their breeding season. 3. Deer see much better in dark than we do.
Given a full moon, warm temps with high pressure and no precipitation predicted and you've got a formula for few daytime sightings, even during times of peak chasing behavior.
There's a lot of variables. And even if you sum them up correctly, as stated above, you're still only guessing because deer don't always do what's expected of them, especially mature deer who've seen several hunting seasons come and go.
A variable I forgot to mention, moonrise and moonset times must also be thrown into the mix.
In other words, the generalizations can't span the breeding dates in the different parts of the country to be accurate.
More to the point - rut prognosticators, those of us who predict the rut, put our credibility on the line because once it is in print, you can always be shown if you are right or wrong.
And rut prognosticators are a lot like the football experts on TV that predict the outcomes of games or who is going to be in the Superbowl or the World Series at the beginning of the season.
There is a lot at stake, maybe not a lot of money. But a deer hunt can be some guy's week off once a year. Vacation time. And maybe a paid hunt out of state. So it is important to nail down the right week.
I've archery hunted just about every day of the bow season for the last 36 years, and many days of the gun season too in two states (I live on the border.) And I know two things: 1. I want to spend time in the woods hunting just prior to the actual Rut or breeding time. Deer movement sucks after the rut and the deer are in their resting, non-movement phase.
2. Spending time in the woods is not always a positive thing, a net gain as far as deer hunting goes, unless you have a bunch of different hunting areas. When we hunt we stink up our stands and alert the deer in that area.
I love the topic. But when we think about it, it's all about sunlight. The dialectic between "photoperiodism and Moon Phase" is a non-issue. All natural light is still sunlight, either reflected or direct, right? The moon doesn't have it's "own light," man. It doesn't really glow, man. It isn't mysterious and spooky and made of green cheese.
Moonlight, sunlight bounced off the backboard of a rock called the moon, tunes the timing of the whitetail rut like it tunes the grunions' dance in the sand in the ocean and the smallmouth bass spawn cycle in May on the rock shoals here in the Finger Lakes.
How else would they get it right for their neck of the woods? They can't read our calendars because here in the northeast, they isn't much margin for error. Too early in April and there is nothing to eat and maybe too cold. Too late in the summer, and the fawn is too small to make it through a tough, long winter. How do they time it? Photoperiodism. They catch the sunlight in the back of their eyes; taking a 93-million mile bounce-pass off the moon to fine-tune the timing of the arrival of the next generation, their biological imperative, and our pursuit.
I have always found the second week in november to be one of the hottest weeks for daytime activity, but this year I have seen much more activity during the third and even more during Thanksgiving week. Now here in the PA and MD we had some really unseasonable warm weather the second week of Nov. So was it the weather that surpressed daytime activity in early Nov. or was it the moon phase??? Who knows.
BUT, I believe weather and moon phase have a huge influence on ACTIVITY. Hunting pressure will also have an effect. Even if in the truest biological terms "the rut is on", it's the timing and combinations of rut, weather, moon, etc. will usually determine how the hunting is for any given time.
you’ll never know unless you’re in the woods!
Having only hunted my own property the last 4 years it has taught me one thing. Bottm line:
Want to know the rut? "Know your Doe"
If you review the above posts, most are saying that the rut occurs within a one to two week period annually.
I do know there were a lot of nice bucks seen and taken on October 27th this year and I personally saw bucks glued to does, so I know they were really close to coming into estrous. Last year was good on the last weekend of October as well and the new moon was a week later.
Over the years the last weekend of October has always been good for me and the week before and the week after are pretty good too, so I can agree with the October 27th date for the peak estrous cycle date, rather than November 10th for my region.
Deer begin to breed in New Brunswick around October 21st each year. By November 10, things really start to "take off" as far as breeding goes, and by November 14 - 14% of our females have been bred. There is a distinct "Peak Rut" over the last 10 years that occurs between November 15 and December 4th. Our peak rut in NB is the last 2 weeks of November and just into the first week of December -data from over 1300 bred females bear this out as a full 62% of the does bred are bred between November 15 and Dec 4th. There is a "trickling" of breeding that continues on through December, made up primarily of fawns that reach 52 pounds and are capable of breeding. They tend to come into estrus later (usually December) and will be bred then, along with a few older females that might have either "missed" being bred, or came into estrus behind the others. These does account for the remaining 23% of females bred. Peak breeding dates since 1997 are November 19th and 26th - days where 4.3% and 4,4% of all females are bred. Actually, from November 14 onward, over 3% of females are bred EACH DAY until December 4th when the peak starts to subside.
What do you mean? Do you mean "same time" on our calendars, the Gregorian Calendar? or do you mean "same time according to moon phases?"
Now I have to admit, that you have been deer hunting longer than I. I'm just a "whippersnapper" at 37 years of bowhunting. But anywho you figure it, that's a lot of moons :-).
Before the invention of our calendar, the Julian Calendar was used. It is kind of interesting that the Islamic calendar is not the one we use. That's why their holidays and religious ceremonies fall on different days each year, but our holidays are the same, (like Christmas on Dec. 25, etc.)
And anyone has to ask themselves, why is a woman's cycle and a whitetail deer's about the same time - 28 days, a moon?
And check out last year's "rut activity" posts on this site from last year, around the first week of November for the Northeast (and that latitude and strain of deer.) Most everyone said it was "dead," and nothing happening.
I bet this year will be dramatically different! Starting around Nov. 5 on... things should really rock, just the opposite of last year.
Best of Luck!
Moon phase I don't deposit much into that account, but, moon position regardless of the phase, I pay very close attention to and hunt specific stand sites according to the position.
Gestation period for whitetails is 200 days, give or take a couple days, not 160. And we do count back as a confirmation of the main rut timing.
Not that this is scientific, but very few spring gobbler hunters in my neck of the woods reported see fawns in May, except for the last day or so and into June - this year. And that is because last years rut was in the third week of November.
But the year before, in May of '06, turkey hunters and others in the outdoors noted fawns being born in the middle of May. And that was because the rut in '05 was at the tail end of October, almost three weeks earlier than last year.
Now that is just
In a given area- in fact fairly consistent across many places throughout the midwest- the peak of November rut occurs the same time EVERY YEAR.
Why do we go through this year after year. The moon affects hunting and activity but has little measurable affect on when does come into estrous. Be it 90 degrees or freezing- KS whitetails will be peaking around Nov 13-15 give or take 5 days.
As far as hunting- I do not like hunting the peak- early in Nov and late are far better for big bucks.
my 2c Dan
So, regardless of my gauge of using 160 days, the main rut that most of the whitetail hunters choose to hunt is approximately 14-21 days. Not to mention the does that come into heat before the main rut and those does which weren't bred will cycle at least once again, or until bred. Jackie can almost count on the majority of his does to come into heat right around November 10. That date has held true for past 30 years he's been raising whitetail deer.
So if ya' like 200, use it, use 300 if you want.
I'll stick to 160 and be closer than the most...
You are jiving me, right? Willard Neslon wrote Phases and Phrases, Circles and Cycles but that was about smoking pot, loose women and Harley Davidsons. Now you are trying to say the moon changes things?
I'm going to start golfing. Hunting is just getting too complicated for me. What happened to just go kill something?
Well, that's the idea.
I want to shoot a big old whitetail buck and am trying to figure the best time to do it. And here in Upstate NY, the peak of the rut changes by as much as three weeks.
IF you pick one week, its dead out there, the bucks are in their resting phase or phrase or whatever you want to call it. Some call it "The Lull." Do you want to take a week off of work to hunt deer in the lull?
I am not a trained biologist, but I have read about photoperiodism. That's science. I think we all agree on that, even old curmudgeons :-)
Okay, there is a "lag time" when we see fawns (because we don't see them pop out,) but we do see the little rascals curled up, about the size of a loaf of bread. Figure that, subtracting from 200, by the size of the fawn. And that is a good point.
But what I can't get over - or get past - or through my thick head is the changing of the calendar. We talk of "the time of the rut happening the same time every year.... or words to that effect."
But how is that possible because deer don't read our calendars? And our "dates" occur (like Christmas,) on astronomically different positions of the moon.
Our calendar, "the Gregorian" is an artifical mechanism and doesn't match up too well with the timing of the seasons. We may say, "We have an early winter, but in fact, - it is in part because our calendar is "off" sometimes by as much as three weeks.
Why is it so hard to believe that the moon is the timing mechanism for nature? Seems to work pretty well. We are all here - every last one of us, absolute livin', breathin' proof that the 28-day cycle worked. And now we are trying to figure out the 28-day deer cycle. And that is the same time as the moon cycle. 28 days.
If we had a different calendar, the rut would occur at the same time every year.
Golf. Golf! "Take up golf." Might as well just get in a hot tub filled with Roundup. Ever talk to a greenskeeper about the herbicides they use to keep the wild out and them greens so flat and pretty?
Our calendar doesn't change but by a small fraction of a year (think leap year, leap seconds, etc)
That is why June 21 and Dec 21 are always extremely close to being the longest and shortest days of the year.
The facts are stated above: bell curve, multiple breeding peaks through the fall with the top of the curve being during the 2nd week of November. It's always this way. Read about fetus measurements and such.
Factors such as sex ratio and latitude elongate the curve. The farther south you travel the weaker the bell curve; the farther north you go, it’s much more compact.
Weather and visible lunar light greatly effect daytime movement during this same period. And I believe this is where the misconception of the "rut was late/early" type arguments and resultant theoretical systems come from.
It’s no big deal to me, but science contradicts the wild swings (as laid out on our solar calendar) that moon based, rut calendars predict. It’s a gimmick.
Bill in MI
Has anyone, EVER, correlated conception dates that back up the variances associated with a moon based rut?
If there were, moon calendar and similar companies would be screaming about the data. Instead they only can go on conjecture.
If they had independent biological data to support their products they sure would tell us, but they don't.
The absence of that information in their advertising should tell you something.
It is a lot easer to market and sell your product when what you claim cannot be substantiated or truly disproved.
Lastly, it’s interesting to read how one moon calendar disagrees what another moon based system predicts where as biologists across the county agree with photoperiodism being the driving force behind breeding dates.
Bill in MI
ALL- check out the Texas study of fetus development. Also note my post- of course there is some variation in a few days one way or the other.
The "three weeks" that is being referred to is probably Oct. estrous followed by the 28 days as posted. This is how it works: These does come into estrous every 28 days starting as early as september. If they are not bred they cycle again. I think what some are referring to (and I hear the confusion every year) is the Oct. estrous which is a fast a furious flurry that really gets things going for November. (Hunters typically get real excited when they see some activity of this late Oct. estrous and start yelling "The rut has started.") After that few days in late October things seem to die off rather quickly (the "lull"). If it is really warm- the lull seems like a hopeless time to hunt-don't worry. When you see/hear of all things breaking loose in October- relax, relax. Ask some questions, look for car/deer accidents, talk to farmers, and figure out where you think the 'peak' of that Oct. estrous was (probably somewhere around the 18-25th)- plot out 28 days on your calender- and you got the peak of Nov. estrous. I determine this every year via observation and spotlighting at night. I can guarantee you it is the same (give or take a few days) every year. Now how to hunt it is another thing- as stated- the peak is not the key time to hunt for me.
Also, the reason the moon thing is suspect is this entire 28 day cycle process starts in September- so the moon in November has NOTHING to do with the 28 day cycle. On the other hand- does the moon (or weather conditions) affect deer activity? I have no doubt- but I don't plan on it- When it is time to hunt, and if you can- stay in the woods all day!
Good luck Dan
My personal experience (one perspecive mind you and for about the same amount of time as Buckstopshere)backs up what wildlife bioligists say.
Good hunting and I think we can all agree its pretty good hunting around Novemeber ;^)
Bill in MI
Oh, if you mean fetal studies, which one do you mean? I am only familiar with a few: Hamilton, Tobin and Moore in S.C.; Cheatum and Morton, here in New York and Armstrong's studies here in New York; There is one in Michigan too, a Short. But I am not familiar with any Texas studies published in the JWM, though I am sure there have been if you say so (Journal of Wildlife Management.) I've been reading about whitetails and other critters in the JWM since 1977.
What is the name of the Texas study, so I can read it?
But I am not a scientist though I try to use the scientific method, and try to discern the difference between Correlation and Cause-and-Effect. And just because someone is a wildlife biologist, I don't believe everything they say. I listen as best I can. But they disagree amongst themselves. So who am I or you for that matter to believe?
Now fetal studies: There has to be a base to measure. That involves taking fetuses out of live does that were conceived at a known date and measured. Course that gets sticky because there are 15 strains of whitetails and they are different sizes, like between the big northern strain and the little-bodied Texas whitetail.
But the main problem is that the sample size in these fetus studies is tiny because it is expensive and difficult to get a base to become statistically significant. (These studies are based on only 20 to 60 fetuses, each!.)
And - even among humans, there is a big difference between the size so a fetus. Sometimes, twice as much, even though conceived on the same date. A 12-pound baby and a six-pound baby are not uncommon. With whitetails, the twin fawns are conceived at the same time, but often vary considerably in size.
Fetuses develop differently, depending upong the spring and winter and food source. So a late winter will retard the growth of the fetus while an "early spring" will accelerate the size - so comparisons of size (rump to crown) are skewed from year to year - sometimes.
Fetus studies seem to work pretty well within a strain of deer, but not so well when we try to interpolate and jump to another region - so a Texas study is not going to tell me when the rut is here in New York and the other way around, no matter how interesting it may be.
The three New York studies, referenced above all disagree, when compared to each other, by almost two weeks. I need a better, more scientific tool to pinpoint the rut. Again, which biologist am I to believe?
I like the rut (those few days when the deer go crazy.) It's a fun (and frustrating!) time to be in the woods with my bow. I've killed a lot more bucks just before the rut, than during those few days. But figuring the timing of the rut fascinates me.
Did you know that there are six principal calendars in current use around the world today?
Not only the one we use, the Gregorian; but the Hebrew, Islamic, Indian, Chinese, and Julian Calendars. They are different and all work. Each calendar's based on a different astronomical cycle.
The main astronomical cycles are the day (based on the rotation of the Earth), the year (based on the revolution of the Earth around the Sun), and the month (based on the Moon going around the Earth).
The good old Gregorian calendar in use around the world is a solar calendar. A lunar calendar bases each month on a full cycle of the Moon's phases (called a lunation - synodic month).
Lunar calendars usually start each month with a New Moon.
The solar year does not contain a whole number of days or a whole number of lunar months.
To compensate for this effect, some calendars (called lunisolar calendars) have to fine tune for years and months. Without such an adjustment the seasons will drift through the months. Man has continually tried to build a more reliable lunisolar calendar, with the least amount of manual adjustment - like Leap Year, etc.
If we used a lunar calendar, maybe the rut would be at the same time every year because it isn't the same time every year on our good old Gregorian calendar. That's my point.
The timing of the two solstices and the two equinoxes shift each year as much as a day (i.e. Dec. 21 and Dec. 22.)
Successful bowhunting and stand site selectionn involves a matter of timing to me. I hunt all season, but it is a matter of HOW to hunt, focusing on different patterns.
And too many years I've said to myself, after reading deer sign, "Darn! I missed it. If I only had known! This is where I should have put my stand!"
Reading whitetail sign usually tells us what has passed, if we are lucky, what is going on.
We need a better tool to predict where and how to set up, ahead of the game.
"It’s no big deal to me, but science contradicts the wild swings (as laid out on our solar calendar) that moon based, rut calendars predict."
I hear what you've said and you make a good point. Your familiarity with what I just touched on is impressive.
Yet...I have never seen biological data that supports the significant year to year variations in the proposed peak breeding times as promoted by moon based breeding calendars. That is the crux of my argument.
Does that data exit? If so please enlighten me. I am not above being wrong, actually I'm quite used to it, just ask my wife ;^)
Bill in MI
I still can't see how a 28 day cycle can be changed by a November moon. Further, I am very skeptical when I hear field observations of hunters who say the "rut" (whatever they mean by that) changes from one year to the next by as much as three weeks.
There is no doubt- with the 28 day cycles- that some does are bred in Oct. while the bulk are bred in Nov. Further, with various does coming into estrous at various times in a given week period, and gestation periods varying by a vew days one way or the other- I find it incredibly difficult to suggest that we can take hunter "field" observations of fawns in the spring and determine when things occurred.
Appreciate the discussion- Dan
But this predatory brain that I have (and you guys too) is always trying to "figure things out." I believe that confidence is all important in making the shot. And intuition or 'the hunting instinct" or whatever you want to call it may put us in the right place at the right time, even better than all the science and "figuring."
Thanks guys for the good discussion on this - heck it's July! Still a few months away!
One of the problems that I find is that there are "dueling" Moon breeding charts. For one thing, there are (what I call) the "position guys" and the "phase guys."
"Position guys" think that the moon has some mysterious pull or gravitation and effects the movement on deer like the tides. I don't know about that because I do not know or have not been shown any mechanism, either biochemical or hormonal that the moon and its effects can "get a hold of." Where are the receptors? How does it work? That is a mystery to me, but the Solar-Lunar calendars are very popular and run in all kinds of magazines and a lot of guys swear by them. But those moon predictions are opaque to me.
"Phase guys" basically put their faith in photoperiodism and the lessening light and its effect on animals like sheep and deer - short-day-breeders. As I understand it, the lessening light is recorded through the eye and effects a gland in the deer's brain. The gland secretes a number of hormones including melatonin. Melatonin represses the sex hormones in Short-day breeders. Fascinating studies have been done on blind deer and sheep in artifical days.
Such as, an English study was done on sheep. What if sheep could have two lambs a year, instead of just one! Keep them in an artifical light and give them only 12 hour days (six hours of daylight and six hours of dark.) This will cause the ewes to cycle twice. And it worked. Only problem was that it burnt the ewes up, trying to make two lambs in one year without the recovery time.
There are a lot conflicting moon charts out there, guys just trying to come up with a "better mouse trap."
The hype, as listed in the front of the yearly calendar, sighted multiple hundreds of hours of data that validated his findings and subsequent prognostications.
After 4 or 5 years he made a retraction and claimed to have found too many holes in this theory. After this he pulled his name from the calendar and would not contribute any longer to that particular cause.
I really subscribed to his theories and when he pulled out it shook my belief in related moon based systems.
There could have been other reasons to his separation from that business, but it was interesting to me that he thought enough about his reputation to pull out and lose any further royalties.
Since then, I've thrown out the baby in the bathwater as it were. Again it's an interesting discussion! Thx for the info.
Bill in MI
Bill in MI's Link
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Bill in MI
Winard, in his article seems to merge "position" and "phase" and that is precisely the line of demarcation between one school of "moon watchers" and the other. I like to think of it as somehow, "gravity or pull guys" vs. the other school "light guys."
The fascinating subject of photoperiodism and circadian cycles leads me to the inevitable contemplation of time. And science has taught us that certain species have receptors "hard-wired" into their brains that act as a timing switch. The key is that since they are of the same species, they have the same code numbers on their "switches," in their genes and cells. That way, they can synchronize.
Like walking through the front doors at the local grocery store. They "automatically" open.
Sensors beyond ours pick up the change in the light. Same with the pineal gland in the whitetails' brain. But it needs a timing mechanism, and I think it is the moon.
Moon beams fine-tune photoperiodic synchronicity.
Now that I know when it is going to happen in my neck of the woods, I have to get my stands set up - WHERE, it is going to happen.
When "it" happens here in Western New York, it seems that a group of bucks will chase a few does into a group. And there may be one or two big bucks there. And all they do is mill around, with the little guys out on the edges of the group. I've seen a number of time, eight or so bucks in a group, and maybe a half dozen or more does at the peak of the rut. But they are in one group, and they stay together and move together for a short period of time. Bucks come out of the woodwork at these times. Bucks I have never seen and will never see again.
The high point of the rut is either "feast or famine" out there. Either you are in the action, or it is dead. And like I said before, I have killed a lot more bucks just prior to the rut. But I see my best bucks of the year during the rut - maybe because it pulls them out of their nocturnal ways, and out of their hideouts.
I'm pretty confident about "when," but I am not sure about "where." There has to be a pattern to that too.
Where the moon comes into play during the rut and throughout the fall is how much it affects doe feeding activity. If the does are on their feet eating during the rut, bucks will be on their feet as well following the does. Just because people don't see deer out in the open during daylight hours doesn't mean the rut is "slow". Actual peak breeding is a typically slow period because the does will bed up and seak sanctuaries during and after being breed. This is when you can catch a buck looking for another doe late in the morning or early afternoon. It's the pre rut, where there's a lot of yearling and 2 year old bucks chasing does, typically the last week of October and first week of November when guys say, "the rut is on." But this is the beginnig of the chase phase.
I completely agree and don't over hunt stands either. I have some spots I use for early season (food sources and to kill an EAB doe), some that are good for the last week of October and first few days of November (rub lines, and somewhat close to buck bedding areas to catch that pre-rut movement) and others that I use during the crazy time, usually the middle few weeks (Veterans Day to the 20th or so) of November (stands between doe group bedding areas or secluded food sources). I always have more stands than I have time to use them, so overhunting a single spot usually isn't a problem. :~)
I just think it's always a good time to be in the woods, especially so from October 20th to Thanksgiving. Get out there every chance you can then, no matter what the moon chart says. ;)
Light is light, whether it is bounced off the moon or direct, right?
Moonlight is just a bounce-pass of light off the big old rock up there, from the sun. Moonlight is still sunlight and to the fine-tuned photoperiodic sensitivity of a whitetail, the extra light of the full moon charges up Melatonin, and a squirt of those juices repress breeding in Short-day breeders like deer.
Then, as the moon wanes, when the "dark of the moon" comes on and there is less light, there is less melatonin produced by the pineal gland, and the rut juices ramps up the rut to full blast.
This pattern happens about 28 days prior and 28 days after too. The first we call the pre-rut, the latter, the post-rut. And it ain't no coincidence that those 28 day cycles are a perfect parallel with the moon phases.
But as NJ Bowhunter says, no matter where the moon is,( lord willing and the creek don't rise,) I'll be in the woods. ;-)
Bill in MI's Link
An intersing perspective on the moons effect on humans.
Can the data be extrapolated to its effect on deer?
Who knows, but I thought the last statement in the article was very interesting.
What do you think?
Bill in MI
There's also been some recent articles, one last year that says the majority of does comes into their first estrous cycle on October 27th, regardless of when the full moon ocurres. I beleive that one was by James Kroll and was in Outdoor Life or Field and Stream. There was also another article in one of these publications last month, I beleive another Kroll one where they tested movement patterns of mature bucks and couldn't find any moon correlation.
My beleif is that the moon does affect deer movement by the ammount of light it gives off during its cycles, but it's not gravitational. Meaning, it has more effect when there are long periods of clear days and nights and cloud cover, or lack there of, is a key factor. Which is why weather trumps the moon.
I like some of the wording the author of the piece used when describing the "ghost in the machine;" especially: "no link," "unfavorably effect," "influence," - and my favorite "possible interplay." Also, "affects (emphasis on not effects, as above.)
For an article about science, it sure doesn't appear to be too scientific.
To me science is the study and observation and measurement of cause and effect.
Many studies of photoperiodism measure direct cause and effect of light on animal breeding behavior.
Cases of people remembering or not remembering is not science, that the astronomer cited.
A rigorous measurement of the rutting behavior of shortday breeders like whitetails has nothing to do with "people remembering," this or that or what they saw in the National Inquirer, or what they feel to be true or believe.
They used to think the moon was made out of green cheese and werewolves and vampires and all sorts of stuff. And some people still may. Like they say, "If I hadn't of believed it, I wouldn't have seen it."
Knife2sharp: I don't know about weather categorically trumping the moon. I have seen bucks chase does in 80 F. (here in New York and Pa.) with their tongues hanging out and chests heaving when the moon was right.
And contrary, with a hard freeze and snow in early November, bucks are placidly feeding as if breeding was not even on the agenda.
But generally, 10 days after the second full moon after the Autumn Equinox - and there is a cold snap - that's when I want to be on stand, in my neck of the woods!
I believe the temperature plays a huge role in when the deer move during historical Rut times. Yes I have seen exceptions but overall this has been the case. What would you do if you had on a coat and it was 80F outside?
This has been my observation. Many factors will spoil this observation like buck competition, number of choices of does in heat, etc. You can bet if it is the first doe to come into heat in an area, it can be 100F and bucks will run and fight.
Secondly. I believe dominant and other mature Does come into estrus first. I have watched groups of does around a well used scrape act plum silly, jumping, chasing each other. There is always one of them coming into heat or is there! When you see this get ready for that day and the next few.
With does being very group oriented, I believe when one comes in it very well may emotionally, chemically, and physically promote other does in the group to come into estrust.
Not a scientist but just what I have seen. But you throw in higher than normal temperatures along with wind and the deer will shut down. For the moon, I have had very good success in the rut during full, quarter, no moon, all of them. Just depends.
It would be an interesting study to compile a load of log information from 1000 avid deer hunters for a few years. It has probably been done.
But some lines would become evident, in geographical areas because the different strains of whitetails rut at different times.
For instance, the earliest breeders, I think are the Florida deer - some are in rut right now, in July and August! Down on the Mississippi delta, some breed in September. In East Texas, it appears the rut is generally early November like here in New York state, while others in Texas in the south find the peak of the rut in December. And in Mexico, it's even later - like January! (Must be confusing to hunt the rut in Texas, not understanding the different strains of deer there.)
A good, way to check the timing of the rut is through the rut posts here on the Bowsite. It gives a good running snapshot in real time of what's happening in the different areas of the country.
Like last year, I think a lot of guys realized that the first week of November is not always the peak of the rut in the Northeast and the Midwest because it was dead out there last year, from the Mississippi to the Atlantic.
There was virtually no rut activity reported in that first week. But by mid-November, things were popping!
The moon's effect on photoperiodism and the timing of the breeding of whitetails' still is evident, even though the peak changes by months in different regions of the country.
And that's great because deer hunters can travel to different states and keep hitting the peak of the rut (i.e. if they know when it is.) :-)
Why has NO ONE mentioned the Alshiemer and Laroche study on the rut and moon? There is nothing in these posts that contradict it. Some are spewing intelligence like sweat on an Aug day picking up hay; I have a sneaky feeling that this intelligence was obtained from their studies. They have been studing this SCIENTIFICALLY for what 15 years now?
The main point is this (and I pharaprase from Alshiemer and Laroche to avoid hipocracy); the rut is a marathon not a sprint, deer move less when temps are above average, big bucks move less the more does there are, big bucks move less the more hunting pressure there is, and the moon triggers the estrous cycles of does.
However, if I may take the liberty to say so, the authors would be the first to admit that their books are not the final and last word on rut prognostications.
For instance, in the last few years science has discovered "clock genes." Neither book mentions new breakthroughs in gene research.
And their charts predicting the timing of the rut through the years, do not agree.
What they have done is opened doors for a deeper undestanding for those of us who don't think we know everything about that ubiquitous animal that holds so much fascination and mystery, the whitetail.
It seems where I have been hunting the last two years it is not the "switch" like it has been prior. Seems to be maybe strung out a longer period of time. Maybe that is because of the buck to doe ratio being too out of whack. And it has been hot.
All I claim is what my experience shows and what I have noticed and recorded. My conclcusion personally is, if there is rut activity, no matter what phase the moon may be, I want to be out there early, late, and maybe all day depending on temps.
But this is always a good discussion and a good talk. When we keep it civil, like we are, we may all learn something from one another. (Bowsite is just better than the others for discussions)
Consider keeping your sightings and activity log this season and lets do this thread again after January.