Moon Phase, Moon Position and the Whitetail Rut

Moon Phase, Moon Position and the Whitetail Rut

When it comes to killing big bucks, I'm a firm believer in the moon phase. And while rut hunting is always good, this year the moon phases have aligned to give us even better evening hunting during the pre- and post-rut periods and the best possible morning and midday hunts during the peak of the rut.


Whenever I am in doubt about high-traffic times for animals, I look to the sky and try to find the moon. My experience is that animals move heavily when the moon is first coming up and also during the last hours before it dips below the horizon.


A very good example of this is a few days prior to the full moon. On those days, the moon will be popping above the horizon well before dark, and I can guarantee you deer movement will be heavy on those days. Then, once the moon phase is at full, it starts rising later and later after shooting hours, which is why


evening hunts during a full moon can be frustrating.

This year, there are two full moon phases that will fall within the traditional rutting period — the first occurs on Oct. 27, and the second on Nov. 25. This means that the days leading up to the full moon will be dynamite in both months for evening hunts. The October full moon aligns perfectly with the days when the big bucks typically make their first daylight appearances to check fields for the area's first estrous doe.

Here in the Midwest, I typically start seeing mature bucks the last three days of October, but with this year's moon phase, I predict some great bucks will fall from Oct. 24-26.


Then, a month later when the moon is coming up well before dark in November, the timing is excellent for the time of the rut when bucks really start to cruise and venture into new territories in search of the few remaining receptive does that have not yet been bred. Nov. 22-24 could produce some excellent evening hunting.

On the flip side of the full moon phase is the dark of the moon, which is ideal for the rut because it reduces nighttime rutting activity when bowhunters are out of the woods. This year, the last quarter of the moon starts Nov. 3, with the New Moon falling on Nov. 11. This is perfect timing for bowhunters, who should see some great morning hunts during the peak of the rut.

For full article, and additional tips for the bowhunter, pick up a copy of the November/December issue of Petersen's Bowhunting.




Recommended for You

Ready to saddle up? Here's where to start! Gear

Resources to Get Started with Tree Saddle Hunting

Greg Staggs

Ready to saddle up? Here's where to start!

Bowtech's 2019 flagship has it all. Let us break it down for you! Bows

Bow Review: Bowtech Realm SR6

Jon E. Silks

Bowtech's 2019 flagship has it all. Let us break it down for you!

Create your own fluffy, Chinese-style bao buns at home with this recipe! Fill them with tender, braised venison shoulder or any other wild game meat you'd like. Recipes

Venison Bao Buns Recipe

Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley

Create your own fluffy, Chinese-style bao buns at home with this recipe! Fill them with...

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

First Look: Mathews Vertix Bow

First Look: Mathews Vertix Bow

"Petersen's Bowhunting" editor Christian Berg and Mathews design engineer Mark Hayes talk the smooth, quiet and fast shooting qualities of the new flagship Vertix bow from the Wisconsin bowmaker.

Springtime Turkey Hunt

Springtime Turkey Hunt

Kevin Steele and the boys are bowhunting turkeys with the help of some well-placed decoys.

Bill Winke

Bill Winke's Top Five Bow Shooting Tips

Petersen's Bowhunting Field Editor Bill Winke give us his top five bow shooting tips

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Check out our picks for the best new bow sights from the 2019 ATA Show! ATA Show

Best New Bow Sights for 2019

Tony J. Peterson - January 10, 2019

Check out our picks for the best new bow sights from the 2019 ATA Show!

Bill Winke explains the benefits of both shooting techniques. How-To

Shooting Your Bow With One Eye Versus Two

Bill Winke

Bill Winke explains the benefits of both shooting techniques.

Check out our list of the best new hunting arrows from the 2019 ATA Show! ATA Show

Top New Arrows for 2019

Tony J. Peterson - January 10, 2019

Check out our list of the best new hunting arrows from the 2019 ATA Show!

See More Stories

More Whitetail

The general timing of the rut is controlled by photoperiod (the number of daylight hours) but the exact timing of breeding can be influenced by a variety of factors. Whitetail

A Deer Biologist's Dissection of The Rut

Jason Snavely

The general timing of the rut is controlled by photoperiod (the number of daylight hours) but...

Bill Winke gives bowhunters several proven tactics for use in the rut. Whitetail

Have You Tried These Proven Rut Tactics?

Bill Winke - November 29, 2016

Bill Winke gives bowhunters several proven tactics for use in the rut.

Growing up in Southwest Michigan I didn't have much experience hunting hill country until I started Whitetail

Tips For Taking Hill Country Bucks in the Rut

Alex Gyllstrom - November 10, 2017

Growing up in Southwest Michigan I didn't have much experience hunting hill country until I...

See More Whitetail

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.