Hunters are always trying to find the best way to get an advantage over whitetail. So, if there was a natural factor that could tell us when whitetails were going to move more than normal, of course, we would want to watch it! Well, the moon is one of these factors that many hunters rely on, and the red moon can be even better. Let’s take a look at the red moon and how it affects whitetail.
A totally red moon is rare, and while the effect the moon has on whitetails is hotly debated, the red moon is known to increase the movement of mature whitetails. We typically have at least a partial red moon near the end of October, which aligns with hunting season and is called the hunter’s moon.
There is more to say about the red moon though. Its effect on deer is a debated topic, and if you ever go by a moon guide for hunting, you will notice it does have red moon days. So, let’s dive into what exactly it is and how it can help you harvest mature whitetail bucks.
What Is the Hunter’s Red Moon?
The red moon happens whenever the moon is in a total lunar eclipse. This happens when the Earth is perfectly in between the sun and the moon, which blocks most of the light from reflecting off the moon. The little amount of light that does make it to the moon is from Earth’s sunrises and sunsets. This light makes the moon appear red, just like the sky during these times.
Historically, at the end of October, tribes and other peoples would begin hunting to fulfill the meat requirements of their populations for the winter. They often relied on this red moon to tell them when the best time to start hunting was, so it became known as the hunter’s moon.
This is also where the term blood moon came from. Not only was the moon a nice red or blood color, but there was also plenty of blood spilled during the hunts that took place under it.
Does the Red Moon Affect Deer Movement?
There has been plenty of research done on the effect the moon has on whitetail movement. While plenty of them come to convincing conclusions, most of them do not agree with each other. Science as a whole fails to accept that the moon has any effect on how whitetail deer move.
With that being said, the red moon works much like a new moon when it comes to deer movement. I have also written an entire article about the new moon where I compared many studies that you can read here. In some studies, the new moon is shown to increase deer movement and is the best moon phase to hunt.
In the article that I linked above, I went through three different studies about how the moon affects whitetail from three different respected universities. The funny thing is that all three of these studies came up with a different solution. In the article, I briefly dive into the specifics of each study, but they were all essentially watching a group of collared deer and watching how far they moved in relation to the moon phase.
One article said that deer definitely move more during a new moon, and they had data to back that up. Another article said that the moon has zero effect whatsoever on how much deer move, and they had data to back that up. The last article said it had more to do with the position of the moon relative to the Earth and not the phase, and of course, they had data to back that up.
So science as a whole has struggled to come to a general consensus on how the moon affects whitetail, but many hunters have had personal experiences that will make them always believe the moon has a lot to do with deer movement.
No matter which side of the fence you are on about the moon’s effect on whitetails, one thing we know for sure is that deer are crepuscular animals and are always going to be moving during the start and end of the day. The moon more or less moves these times back or forth slightly.
The bigger factor moving whitetails around is the weather, which I have another article about. Personally, I would be excited to hunt a new moon or a red moon, but what I am really watching is the weather. If there is good weather or even high barometric pressure, that is going to make deer move regardless of the moon phase.
How to Hunt Whitetail During a Red Moon
During the red moon, deer are going to be moving more than normal in the morning. They will also be moving a little later, so if you are after a buck that is typically nocturnal this is the time where he may go out during the day.
If you are after a specific buck, hopefully, you have his pattern down and know where his core area is. If you do, great, hunt where you know he is going to be. If you don’t, I would focus on popular food sources or a good scrape line during the red moon. If the rut is not in full swing yet, food sources are where you are going to find the majority of deer.
The best place to put a stand during this time is close to a funnel or pinch point that leads to a popular food source. Ideally, this is an area that forces deer in the area to walk through it because of other natural or man-made geographical blockages.
These “blockages” could be anything, hills, an old fence, fallen trees, rivers, etc. Funnels are a broad topic and you can find them anywhere with a trained eye. They really shine when deer are moving a lot. If there are two points of interest on each side of the funnel, then deer of all maturity levels are going to be forced to go through it and you can be waiting nearby in a tree.
Should You Watch Moon Guides?
To be honest, moon guides are hit and miss. Many hunters will swear by them, and others say they aren’t worth the paper they are printed on. Sure, big bucks have been killed on days that the moon guide says are good… but big bucks have also been killed on days the moon guide says there are less than favorable conditions.
With that being said, here is a video of Adam Hayes from the Deer Society who strictly follows the moon guide and has killed 10 Boone & Crockett buck and his 4th buck over 200 inches.
Personally, I do not hunt based on moon guides. I, like most other hunters, hunt the days that I have available. I am a full-time student, and most hunters have full-time jobs, so if you want to hunt then you have to do it during the weekend, even if the moon guide says you need to be in the stand at 2 pm on a Tuesday.
All and all, the red moon could possibly get more deer on their feet and I would be excited to hunt one. During the end of October, there is normally a partially red moon, and it can be a great time to get in the woods after mature bucks that will be moving. With that being said, I will be watching the weather more than the moon. Late October cold fronts are the best chance you have at killing a mature buck, especially if he is normally nocturnal.
Thank you for reading my article about rutting bucks. I hope you enjoyed it and learned something you didn’t already know. If you like my content, subscribe to my weekly update. If you have any other questions about caring for wild meat, or just want to connect, feel free to email me at Patrick.Long@omegaoutdoors.net.