Thursday, November 06, 2014

Rut Myth Debunked – Does the full moon have an effect on the timing of the rut?

© By Othmar Vohringer

Myth: The full moon has an effect on the timing of the rut.

This is another myth that many hunters have unquestioningly adhered to for generations. I know of quite a few hunters that won’t go hunting until the “moon is right”, despite the fact that science has never been able to support that moon theory. Many notable deer behaviour scientists have examined this issue at great length and all they could come up with is that there is no definitive relationship between the moon and the timing of the rut.

If you look at the bigger picture this makes sense. The moon phases are the same across North America and with that we can assume that if the moon would have any influence on the timing of the rut that it would have that affect across the continent. But that is not so. The timing of the rut varies from the south to the north by as much as two months. There are more questions to the deer rut then we have answers for but one thing scientists are very sure about is that the timing of the rut is directly linked to the time when fawns are born.

The fawns are born when the climate and food availability guarantees the best possible survival chances. In Florida the best climatic conditions for deer to raise offspring is March and further north, like British Columbia, Canada (the most northerly extension range of whitetails) the best conditions occur around the end of May to the beginning of June for most regions. To establish the beginning of the rut all one has to do is pay close attention to the time of when the deer fawns are born. From there count back 120 to 125 days (the gestation period of whitetail deer) and that will provide you with a good ballpark figure of when the rut starts in your particular area.

Here is another interesting bit that refutes the full moon rut trigger myth. When a southern Texas game ranch imported whitetail deer from Wisconsin they found out that it took the Wisconsin deer a full two years to adjust to the Texas deer rut cycle. Why? Climate! When southern Texas deer give birth to fawns most of Wisconsin is still under a blanket of snow and frost.

If you still doubt that the moon has absolutely nothing to do with the rut then you might want to read what modern whitetail deer researchers have discovered.

Read the next segment of "Rut Myth Debunked"
Is the rut the best time to hunt mature bucks?
Hunting bucks by setting up over a scrape

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