How the Phases of the Moon Affect Deer Behavior


 Many hunters and non-hunters are convinced that the moon’s phases has effect on the behavior of the whitetail deer. Some theories indicate that whitetails need light in order for them to feed at night. Also, that the movement of the whitetail deer become enhanced during low lit phases of the moon. Others say that the lunar positioning is responsible for the enhanced movement of the whitetail. Numerous theories are believed and are used to plan their hunts. Though many believe this myth for decades now, minimal, if any, evidence can be found to support these claims. The fact is, it is the environmental and physical conditions that are more significant and are responsible with the whitetail’s movements more than the moon’s position.

There have been some studies that claim to prove the connection between the animal’s 
behavior and the lunar phases.At this point the daylight seems to have more of an effect
 on at least the rut than the phases of the moon. Also the reason deer tend to feed at night 
during the periods of the full moon seems to have more to do with the light 
of the moon than the moon itself. Though these experiments may prove to be 
useful in the future, connection to whitetail movements is remote and inapplicable. 
 A whitetail in the wilds reacts according to their instinct to survive. 
 While the bucks continue to avoid predators,they simultaneously attempt to detect them 
for the reason of survival.  These activities of whitetails are basic fear responses and have
 no connection to the phases of the moon.

Some animal experts and behaviorists believe that although it is possible that the moon phases
 may have a very minor effect on the whitetails.  Instead:
  • It is mainly the environmental factors, such as the direction of the wind, its speed, time,
 thirsts, food, precipitations, pressure in hunting, predators, hours of daylight, etc., that truly 

determine the whitetail’smovement.

 Moon phases are classified under 3 light emittance classes, i.e., low light emittance,
 high light emittance and 50% light emittance.  The first one includes the completely dark
 new moon, the waxing crescent and the waning crescent.  The second one includes the totally
 lit full moon, the waxing gibbous and the waning gibbous. 
 The last class includes the first and last quarter moon. 
It is widely believed that whitetails feed primarily when there is maximum amount of light 
as offered by the moon.It is this  premise that also brought some hunters to also believe
 that the movement of the whitetail is increased during the nights when the moon offer only 
minimum light since they cannot feed much.  And since the new moon 
offers no light at all, it would rank last in connection to the movement of the deer.

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