How important is the moon?

buckihunter

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Jan 14, 2021
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Like the title says, how important is the moon? How much does it factor into when you plan your elk hunting trips?

I am planning my first archery elk hunt to CO this upcoming September and have been creeping on this site for a while trying to learn what I can. As of right now, it will be myself and my brother in law making the trip. There is a possibility of him not being able to go, but I will be going regardless.

I've done my research and talked to a buddy who has been going out west for a few decades, so I've got a good idea of where I'm going to try to hunt. What I'm trying to decide now is when to go. I am able to get 2 weeks off of work to make the trip. I'm stuck between hunting the 1st and 2nd weeks, or hunting the 2nd and 3rd weeks. The 1st and 2nd weeks would have what I'd consider a better moon phase, but I am in a wedding on September 5th, so wouldn't be able to leave until Monday the 6th. This would leave me roughly 9 or 10 hunting days. Or I can wait and leave on Friday the 10th after work and increase that to about 12 hunting days, but would have a less favorable moon phase. How would you weigh the moon phase vs. number of hunting days? Which would be more important to you and why?

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Thanks in advance!
 

grossklw

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Leave friday the 10th, the extra 2 days of hunting are wayyy more valuable than the "proper" moon phase. I've had plenty of great hunts on a full moon with elk screaming at noon. I think it has very little to do with it personally.
 

Stubborn_bowhunter

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I don't think about it at all. Any time you can hunt is the best time, and a time with more days you can hunt is the better choice.

Edit: You also can use less headlamp battery packing out a bull in a full moon. LOL
 

Gapmaster

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I agree with the statements above. More days of hunting= greater opportunity. Hey if your dates line up with new moon and the equinox and the almanac and whatever else is out there telling you when to go then great. If it doesn’t, don’t sweat it. Hunt hard and smart and enjoy the trip. Good luck!
 
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buckihunter

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I don't think about it at all. Any time you can hunt is the best time, and a time with more days you can hunt is the better choice.

Edit: You also can use less headlamp battery packing out a bull in a full moon. LOL
You have a lot more faith in me than I have in me! lol
 
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buckihunter

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I appreciate the thoughts here. We were leaning towards the extra days, but being completely green when it comes to elk hunting, I wanted to make sure we were on the right track.
 

Hoodie

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Depends on how important you think tides and the axial tilt of the planet are. If we blew it up, shit could get real in a hurry.

On a serious note, I haven´t really noticed much of an effect on my hunting. But I also tend to have most of my encounters mid-day in bedding areas anyway. I definitely would agree that it isn´t worth planning hunt dates around.

But there are some serious big name killers who disagree with me, so take that with a grain of salt.
 
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buckihunter

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Depends on how important you think tides and the axial tilt of the planet are. If we blew it up, shit could get real in a hurry.

On a serious note, I haven´t really noticed much of an effect on my hunting. But I also tend to have most of my encounters mid-day in bedding areas anyway. I definitely would agree that it isn´t worth planning hunt dates around.

But there are some serious big name killers who disagree with me, so take that with a grain of salt.
It's those big name hunters that dominate a lot of the learning resources out there though... Hence why I was a little concerned about it.

It's good to get a broader opinion on things though which is why I thought I'd ask here.
 

CougarBlue

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This last season we had zero moon right on the equinox and heard a total of 2 bugles from bulls that were sitting on private.

Sure, it can impact things. But from my experience, that's if factors such as drought, predation, hunting pressure and a bunch of other variables aren't screwing things up with the rut first. You're on the right track to add more days and not worry about it.
 

Hoodie

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It's those big name hunters that dominate a lot of the learning resources out there though... Hence why I was a little concerned about it.

It's good to get a broader opinion on things though which is why I thought I'd ask here.

Yeah, I know Corey Jacobson and Remi Warren both think it has an impact on how early/late animals move to bedding.

The way I think about it is even if the moon theory is correct, it shouldn't necessarily mean worse hunting. Just a time to try different tactics. Animals are supposedly moving to bedding earlier, so I think that could mean an earlier/longer "mid-day lull." Maybe not the best time to try ambushing them between feeding and bedding, but could be a good time to call more aggressively on the edge of bedding areas mid-day.

Again, I'm not a seasoned elk vet by any means, but I think days in the field trump almost anything else.

If moon phase matters at all, I think it would be more relevant in a whitetail type scenario where your options for mid-day hunting are more limited. 10am-3pm can be awesome for Sept. Elk.
 
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buckihunter

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Yeah, I know Corey Jacobson and Remi Warren both think it has an impact on how early/late animals move to bedding.

The way I think about it is even if the moon theory is correct, it shouldn't necessarily mean worse hunting. Just a time to try different tactics. Animals are supposedly moving to bedding earlier, so I think that could mean an earlier/longer "mid-day lull." Maybe not the best time to try ambushing them between feeding and bedding, but could be a good time to call more aggressively on the edge of bedding areas mid-day.

Again, I'm not a seasoned elk vet by any means, but I think days in the field trump almost anything else.

If moon phase matters at all, I think it would be more relevant in a whitetail type scenario where your options for mid-day hunting are more limited. 10am-3pm can be awesome for Sept. Elk.
From someone who has grown up chasing whitetails in Ohio, your logic makes a whole lot of sense to me. I appreciate the reply!
 

wapitibob

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If I charge you $100 for my moon phase opinion does it make it a fact?

Every year that we have a full moon and forum discussions I think the moon a lot when I'm hunting, while looking at Bulls out feeding at 10: in the morning.
 

ridgefire

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The elk are definitely not as vocal during the day and head to their bedding areas earlier during a full moon where we hunt in Idaho. I now try to base my hunts around the moon phase as much as possible. I never bought into the moon phases affecting hunting/ bugling until a couple years ago but now do.
 

CAElkhunter

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I used to think the Full moon was detrimental to Elk hunting until last year I had a hunt in CO with no moon
and it wasn't any better. I personally think weather conditions ie-cold not warm. Calm not gale force winds have more of an effect on the hunting than the moon. Pressure of course is a factor. The later in the season the more important all factors be in your favor.
 

Aaronpaul14

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Your second half trip option will be during muzzleloader if that plays any role in your decision.
 

Alpineelk

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The elk are definitely not as vocal during the day and head to their bedding areas earlier during a full moon where we hunt in Idaho. I now try to base my hunts around the moon phase as much as possible. I never bought into the moon phases affecting hunting/ bugling until a couple years ago but now do.
Why are the elk not as vocal during the day? I see it like this they may go to bedding earlier but if theres a cow in heat it doesn't matter what time of day there will be bulls on her
 

AaronMColeman

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Small sample size, but I feel like when the elk are pressured they turn more nocturnal anyway. Having more light at night sure seems to turn them basically 100% nocturnal. I hunt whenever I can anyway so I don't pay attention to this much. But my gut and my limited experience say when the moon is bright and the elk are pressured, they will not move much during the day.

However, other factors seem to be more important. Weather is number one. Once it turns cold and snowy I will be out there every day...regardless of moon.
 

Fullfan

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Here is the moon chart from last year. We killed bulls on 9/12, 9/16, 9/21x3, 9/26x2 and 9/27.
On 9/12 it was 82 deg at 1400 hrs when I killed a nice bull.
 

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