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How important is moon phase?

This is a discussion on How important is moon phase? within the Bowhunting Africa forums, part of the HUNT AFRICA category; Hi and thanks for the wealth of information you provide on this website. I booked my first south africa bowhunt ...

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    Josephjoon is offline New Member
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    Default How important is moon phase?

    Hi and thanks for the wealth of information you provide on this website.
    I booked my first south africa bowhunt safari last month,going June 2-12
    I just checked the moon phase,full moon on June 4th!
    What are the disadvantages of hunting in full or 3/4 moon phase?
    Should i be very concerned?
    Thanks.

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    From what I have heard, read and seen (although my African experience is extremely limited) moon phase has the exact same effect on amimals here as in Africa. Expect more mid day activity with a full moon and more dawn and dusk activity with a new moon.

    There are of course always some exceptions especially with nocturnal animals. For example I have read (and will find out in may) that Caracal are most active and easiest to call during the 3 days before and after a new moon.

    I am sure some of the PHs on here will have opinions on this one.
    The journey is the reward.

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    I am hunting a area in the Eastern Cape with more than 7000 Springbuck, 4000 Blesbuck, i can go on about numbers in this area , the area is almost 20000 acres , i have never had a problem with the moon, a Monday or a rainy day. I think it is all about numbers the more you have the more you will see them . I am sure in some areas the moon will have an effect on the animals as they can drink and feed at night with a full moon, and if the numbers are low it will slowdown the amount you will see . Animals get use to the surroundings very easy, in Zambia i did hunt a area with a lot of poaching in the area, and the buffalo did drink water during the night with or without a moon just because they felt safe.
    Go and enjoy your hunt and shoot strait.
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    In my opinion moonphase has a definit influence on game movement especially when bowhunting (due to the fact that as a bow hunter you are stationary), game tend to move much more during the night coming on, during, and going off a full moon, I would say expect the hunting to get better by the day the more you get into your safari.

    As a rule I try to keep my bowhunting clients around dark moon, game animals tend to be much more localized during dark moon (do not move around much at night) tend to lie down at around 9 pm for the night, and do the bulk of their feeding during the day.

    On a full it is excatly the opposite, movement tends to be much more during the night and way less during the day, hunting pressure has a influence for sure but in such a case game tend to move at night allot more over the broad spectrum regardless of moon phase, We run an operation on 33 000 acres, with only 30 - 40 hunters a year and the same happens here. IMO the full moon has a much larger effect on game species such as Kudu, Oryx, Nyala, Wildebeest, Zebra and a couple others, please note that this is not to say that your hunt will be a "bust" I am simply saying that movement tends to be better when not around its full phase.

    Terrain has much to do with it, in the plains it could be slightly different but on bush properties, I truly believe out of experience that the moon has a noticeable effect on such game movement, I have sat in way to many blinds on a full moon seeing only the faint shapes of game approaching a blind on a full moon but being to dark to draw..... which on the same area and same blind is not the case during its darker phase.

    My very best always.
    Jaco Strauss
    Kwalata Wilderness safaris - South Africa/Mozambique
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    On another note:
    I booked during a dark moon and the thing I noticed that had a much larger effect on game movement was the weather on the day.

    Snow (yes, they had snow in Africa and it opened my eyes) and rain and cold temperatures kept them from moving around. It also started activity later in the mornings or kept them in heavy cover.

    I looked at the "harvest times" when I got home most were in the afternoon, and that was not due to my sleep ins either.

    In Namibia when it was minus 3 C (this was the dead of winter for them) the critters did not move until they were getting warmed up. We may as well have slept in til 10AM daily.
    But there was no way I was going to miss sun rise no matter what.
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    Moon phase is very important, critical in fact if you are planning to hunt over waterholes. Try and book your dates over a new moon and try and stay away from weeks with a full moon.
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    If African animals are like American, I'd much rather hunt during a new moon phase. By far I see more animals during a new moon than a full moon. My buddy and I have been keeping track of this very closely for about 10 years now and am convinced with that many data points it's not coincidence.
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    I have not hunted Africa but have hunted animals many other places. The full moon does have a tendency to entice nighttime and mid-day movement which can be used to an advantage during hot weather. If you are going to be hunting during a full moon period, I would want to be hunting on or around waterholes during the middle part of the day. Adapt to conditions as needed and enjoy your hunt. Good luck.
    When I am not hunting, I am thinking about hunting....I think I'll go hunting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stretch View Post
    I have not hunted Africa but have hunted animals many other places. The full moon does have a tendency to entice nighttime and mid-day movement which can be used to an advantage during hot weather. If you are going to be hunting during a full moon period, I would want to be hunting on or around waterholes during the middle part of the day. Adapt to conditions as needed and enjoy your hunt. Good luck.
    Yep, here in NA I normally see just as many animals regardless of moon phase. The most notable difference is patience on the full moon, Most hunters have given up and gone home before the game really gets moving and even once it has it does not have nearly as concentrated of a peak time like a new moon. Most new moon activity here occurs in the 1st 2hrs and last hr of light, full moon activity is slow but steady all day long with a slightly better period from 10-3pm give or take.
    The journey is the reward.

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    Diamondhitch, not to be contradictory, but my experience has taught me that movement virtually shuts down especially on species as mentioned above, another very true statment made is that our game is extremely sensitive to the slightests of weather changes. A sudden drop of 5 - 10 degrees makes them bed, a gusty windy day shuts emm down completely.

    With a bit of rain movement virtually stops on waterholes, as well as on cold and gusty days.

    Game tend to drink and feed at night (Full moon) and movement on waterholes (which is pretty much the norm in bowhunting in SA) I would say drops by 60%Once again this is especially true of Kudu, Oryx, Wildebbest And Zebra simple fact of the matter is when bowhunting you hunt until last light, and if you have no light to shoot it is simply not going to happen, it also puts a new spin on things once you start paying for trophies and shooting those ones at last light and not being able to recover tham due to poor blood trail or whichever reason, only finding them the next morning to be chomped on by Hyenna and Jackal will make most hunters think twice about shooting in low light, I am mentioning this because this is what happens on a full phase those Oryx and other species come in right at dark and even right after and definitely during.

    My best always
    Jaco Strauss
    Kwalata Wilderness safaris - South Africa/Mozambique
    Jaco@kwalata.com
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    Ole Bally is offline AH Enthusiast
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    As Jaco says, moon phase is pretty important to a bowhunter hunting from stands over water. If the property is conducive to stalk hunting - and you're good at it - then it doesn't matter too much! If you can, set yr hunt up for a dark phase...why make things difficult for yourself?!

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    Judging by the way the moon affects my wife and daughters, it surely then MUST affect all other simple creatures..!

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    Quote Originally Posted by DOCMAN View Post
    Judging by the way the moon affects my wife and daughters, it surely then MUST affect all other simple creatures..!
    i agree about the wife thing, but i hope they dont read this or next full moon

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    I think it is especially important when hunting predators, leopard, lion, small cats etc. it seems to be much more productive on a dark moon. I am booked for brown bear this year and it will be a full moon and I am concerned about it

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    spike.t & docman - you better watch yourselves. The same can be said about men. Being a woman going through menopause I always know when there is a full moon.
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    I know a lot of people put a lot of faith in the moon phase set ther hunts up or stay in bed because of it, now I can't speak for every where but where I live I've been doing an Experiment for the past two years I've put my cameras out and have gotten thousands of pictures of deer moving and comparing these to several popular hunting magazines that post the moon phase for hunting and fishing info. I've came to one conclusion FUEY with all of those pic with the moon phase, temp. and time printed on them in 2 years with med. hunting pressure this year I got 1 picture that matched the moon phase in those books. I to will be hunting on 2 June my Birthday on the East Cape and all I can say is critters beware.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Packsy View Post
    spike.t & docman - you better watch yourselves. The same can be said about men. Being a woman going through menopause I always know when there is a full moon.
    Hmm, I don't worry boys. Her bark is worst than her bite.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaco Strauss View Post
    Diamondhitch, not to be contradictory, but my experience has taught me that movement virtually shuts down especially on species as mentioned above, another very true statment made is that our game is extremely sensitive to the slightests of weather changes. A sudden drop of 5 - 10 degrees makes them bed, a gusty windy day shuts emm down completely.

    With a bit of rain movement virtually stops on waterholes, as well as on cold and gusty days.

    Game tend to drink and feed at night (Full moon) and movement on waterholes (which is pretty much the norm in bowhunting in SA) I would say drops by 60%Once again this is especially true of Kudu, Oryx, Wildebbest And Zebra simple fact of the matter is when bowhunting you hunt until last light, and if you have no light to shoot it is simply not going to happen, it also puts a new spin on things once you start paying for trophies and shooting those ones at last light and not being able to recover tham due to poor blood trail or whichever reason, only finding them the next morning to be chomped on by Hyenna and Jackal will make most hunters think twice about shooting in low light, I am mentioning this because this is what happens on a full phase those Oryx and other species come in right at dark and even right after and definitely during.

    My best always
    Jaco, I would not argue one bit with you about African game. I saw exactly what you described re: bad weather last year over there. As for Moon phase over here (NA), I stand by my statement whole heartedly.
    The journey is the reward.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobpuckett View Post
    I know a lot of people put a lot of faith in the moon phase set ther hunts up or stay in bed because of it.
    It is a self fulfilling prophecy, there is no better way to not see game than not going out to look. I have a wall of whitetail taken during all moon phases at all times of day, why was I successful? Because I was in my stand when they came out, plain and simple.
    The journey is the reward.

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    We hunt (as full time African professional hunters) every day on average 180 days a season, some seasons 200, over a 12 year period you would be looking at roughly 2 280 days spent watching monitoring game, figuring out what is ideal and what not whilst hunting with clients,

    Currently we have 3 African guides on this thread one of which has roughly 5000+ days of active hunting as a professional hunter and another roughly having 3500 days of hunting under their belts as well. that is a combined experiences of 10 780 days (29,5 years of physical time spent hunting every day) hunting with clients I also hold firm that movement slows down.

    Why else would we reccomend our bow clients to rather not come over a full moon phase ..... because we are superstitious?? No it is better success for them and ultimatly better for an outfitters bank account.

    My best always.
    Jaco Strauss
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