Moon Phase Does Not Impact Movement

Andy R. from Delaware writes to ask about bucks breeding and the phase of the moon. “I’ve read various theories on whether buck movement, especially during the rut, is tied to the hunters moon. Some say “yes,” some say “no.” What does the data show?”

Great question and one that hunters will kick around forever. However, most recent research, and there are several papers on this, show that there is no relationship between deer movement and phase of the moon.

Dr. Dave Samuel

A recent study in Oklahoma showed weak correlations between deer movement and temperature, wind speed, barometric pressure and relative humidity — and no relationship to moon phase!

Note though that as you get farther North, there almost certainly is a relationship of deer movement and these weather conditions. Another Texas study showed the impacts of warm temperatures on movement. Texas deer were twice as active at 77 degrees than at 86 degrees.

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Dr. Dave writes a weekly column for If you have a question for Dr. Dave, e-mail your question to Dr. Dave in care of Tom Kacheroski, senior editor of‘s content at Dr. Dave studied deer for 30 years as a wildlife management professor at West Virginia University. In addition he has been a bowhunter for over 40 years, with deer being his main prey. He’s also an outdoor writer and has been with “Bowhunter” magazine for 31 years.

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