Understanding the moon and its effect on whitetails will increase your success this season.
“If I had to name just one thing that has increased my success in seeing monster bucks during the daylight hours, whether it’s in season or during summer scouting,” said Hays, “it would have to be paying attention to the moon.”
As Hays explained it, the moon is directly overhead (straight up) and directly underfoot (straight down) every 24 hours. These “moontimes” are roughly 12 hours apart and happen just short of an hour later every day. It is when the moon is in these positions that the greatest gravitational pull occurs, naturally influencing animal movement.
“Even in the middle of the day, if the moon is in one of these positions, chances are deer movement will increase to some degree,” Hays explained.
In fact, it’s his contention that if you were to check these moontimes when you see deer feeding in the middle of the day or when a buck you’ve only had nighttime pictures of suddenly shows himself during daylight hours, you would find a moon correlation much of the time.
For the bowhunter, the key to capitalizing on these moontimes is focusing on what Hays calls the “Red Days,” which is when the moon is overhead or underfoot during the natural prime early morning or late evening hours. In fact, this has been a factor in every Booner Hays has killed, as well as many of his P&Y candidates. Furthermore, just this past season two of the largest bucks recorded (the Franz 258-inch brute and the Flack 244-inch monster) were killed in Iowa on October 12th and November 10th, respectively. According to Hays, “Both were killed on days where the overhead moon occurred right before daylight and the underfoot moon was within the last two hours of the day.”
It’s not a secret that early morning and late evening hours are naturally the best times to kill a buck, explained Hays, but when you add a corresponding overhead or underfoot moontime during those times, you double your chance that the mature buck you’ve been after will move during daylight hours.
“There are only a handful of days every month that the moon will be either overhead or underfoot during these prime times, and these are by far the best days to catch a big buck on his feet during daylight,” said Hays.