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We are planning a trip for next year. The thread on the BigHorns got me thinking. Having hunted elk one other time 2007. How big of a factor will the full moon play in the 2021 season. It is set to happen on the 20th. Go before after or during. I will have about ten days to hunt. The three of us want to notify the rancher of our intentions as soon as possible. I am sitting on 12 points so pulling a tag is very high.
Well, we had basically no moon for a good portion of our hunt this Season, yet elk were still basically nocturnal (I'm guessing this possibly due to excessive hunting pressure).
I've seen the opposite outcome many times over the years (nearly full moon...animals still moving early PM, and later in the AM). I would put moon phase very low on my list, when it comes to planning a hunt...elk just don't seem to always conform to the behavior that is expected of them, when it comes to the moon. Just my opinion.
Based on my extensive ONE year of elk hunting the bighorns, I'd say plan your hunt for before whatever freak snowstorm comes next year :-)
Scouting summer, through August we had good sign, consistent elk sightings and excellent traffic on cameras in a pinch point creek bottom. With at least daily pictures. we pulled cameras and hung a treestand there just before labor day weekend. Wanted to stay out of the area for the Sept -1-14 archery only type 9 season (we have type 4 so can't hunt til 9/15).
Labor day weekend went from 90+ on Saturday to cold and snow on Monday. 12+ inches of snow at elevation. Was gone in a week. But damage done. Since 9/15 we've seen 2 elk, heard 1 bugle and shot nothing. Other hunters in our drainage and across the areas all say the same thing. Seems the elk have gone low already and didn't come back.
Talked to a cowboy rounding up cattle last night where we hunt. He's been doing the cow thing all week hasn't seen/heard an elk which is weird, and saw 1 bull down by town (4000 feet lower than hunting) So, yeah, come before the snow :-)
Echo the experience of Bob H. I arrived on 9/14 and my first hike I didn't see any elk but saw ton's of sign that appeared to only be a day or two old. Hunted hard for 8 days. Covered lots of ground and saw one calf, one cow and heard maybe 5 real bugles. They just flat left the mountain. The moon is the least of your worries. Go early and they may be silent. Go late and they may be gone. This year was definitely a 2020 year even in the elk woods of Wyoming.
I would pay absolutely no attention to the moon what-so-ever. The elk will go where they want, when they want and how they want, regardless of the lighting conditions!