Discussion in 'Hunting Africa' started by shadowhunterz, Oct 30, 2019.
I wanted opinions on which is the best moon phase to hunt or does it even matter?
On the advice of a few PH’s I have hunted cats in the dark of the moon. It seems to be a bit better for predators. Others may have very different experiences.
Everywhere that I have ever hunted and for any game species, the dark of the moon is a better time. Typically, the brighter the moon, the easier it is for all animals to feed more actively during hours of darkness. As a result they tend to bed earlier mornings and appear later in the afternoon / evening.
Depends what you are interested in hunting.
Generally speaking, I agree with Red's statement. I'm guessing there are exceptions, but I prefer to hunt on a new moon.
I have heard it doesn't matter for PG, but that may be outfitters trying to market their hunts. I suspect it depends on the specific animal, terrain, and predators.
I will take a slightly different approach than the others here. Yes, a new moon is preferred in North America and I'm sure probably Europe. However, we are used to setting up shop at daylight right where we expect game to be and sit for 3-4 hours. In the afternoons, we hunt until we can no longer see to shoot.
Africa is a more mid-morning start. You leave when it's getting light, drive a ways, and then get on the animals - it's a good hour or so after light that you start hunting. If PG act like other game we know (which again, I'm not sure they do), then I would think a new moon would be the worst time to go hunting.
In Poland we hunt Boars and Predators at night so need as much moonlight as possible. For species we hunt in the daytime I haven’t really noticed any difference.
It absolutely matters, but different species react differently.
In my experience, best time for animals that are late evening or nocturnal feeders is when the moon and sun set at the same time. This coincides with the dark moon. I always schedule my away from home hunts when there will be a dark moon.
In North America definitely hunt the dark of the moon for all the reasons previously mentioned. JMO&E
Africa, with only 4 trips for experience and only 1 of those during full moon, I still believe the dark of the moon works best. But, as has been mentioned, it may depend on the animal. As Philip G mentioned, cats have exceptional night vision, thus they hunt even better in the dark in Africa or North America.
There’s an App that gives major and minor feeding times during the day according to moon phases. I was sceptical at first but found it surprisingly accurate. For some species of plains game it makes little difference but for kudu and others that are more elusive the darker the moon the better it generally is. All things being equal because every situation is different.
I am getting so I like the full moon and just study the moon set times. If the moon sets early in the night you are kind of screwed, but the closer it is to the morning seems to me they stay out feeding later and you can catch them on the way back to bed. Just an observation as I have been trying to compile data on conditions when I get deer. Also it is nice to be able to sneak in and not use a flash light.
For Africa, I have no idea...and just go with the tried and true saying, "Trust your PH"
I’m with @Red Leg on this one.
On the advice of my PH we hunted around a new moon and it was perfect.
Almost all of our (successful) hunting in NA has also been around a new moon.
That being said, it also depends on the species being hunted.
In the end, listen to the professionals who do this every day.
Your outfitter and PH want you to succeed and will do their best to do so.
There is a lot more to it than only the state of the moon. Species hunted, time of year, area, weather etc.
Hunting BWB makes no real difference for example. Hunting Kudu or bush buck in Oct you will not be looking for them on the eastern side of a mountain but in the middle of winter you will be well advised to be exactly there when the suns rays start warming the hillside...
Some will tell you hunting bush pig is best on a full moon, the way I hunt them any time is a good time, in some cases dark phase is actually better in winter when food is scares and you have a good bait going. Done right the bush pigs will be there at 19h30 sharp, unless a leopard is in the vicinity.
Different tactics can be employed and I would only give serious consideration to specific species during specific times of the year.
For the rest trust your PH and tracker to produce the goods....
During my August Safari, it so happened that we were there for a new moon. Our PHs agreed that for our parties primary list of Plains Game (Kudu, wildebeest, hartebeest, gemsbok, impala) the new moon was better than full. Less feeding at night meant more daytime activity.
Well everyone has their own opinions, and each opinion has it's own merits.
Here's my 2 cents:
It doesn't really matter what the moon phase is! With exception to hunting night critters, It doesn't matter what critter you are hunting!
What does matter is how and when you plan to hunt!
Hunting the full moon and any other well light moon phase, I prefer going into the woods at grey of first light so as to be able to make a shot on an animal going to it's day bed.
At mid morning as animals have settled into cover and a nap, I look for an area that looks well and recently traveled trails, and feeding areas to make a set up and wait for the mid and late afternoon game movement to feeding areas. Staying until either successful or dark.
Actually, I not much on treestand hunting, and depending on which hunting area I am in I use a natural blind or stalk hunt.
Low light and new moon, I get into an area, if I'm going to use a blind set up, about 30 to 45 minutes before first light (nautical twilight) and stay till either successful or after dark.
Just my 2 cents
Lore has always indicated best hunting is during dark moon phase. hah! An acquaintance religiously planned his several Africa trips around the dark moon phase. He has had more "nearlys", "almosts", "ahhh shucks", "the big one that got aways", and airport/transportation/importation/inspection/regulation/firearm permit snafus than anyone I know. Not to mention having to fit a square peg in a round hole when it comes to airline seat selection and schedules, PH schedules, personal schedules, hunt area availability and so on... all to fit the hunt dates into a dark moon phase?
Truthfully, I have no idea the phases I've hunted in Africa. I think I remember a couple of trips where I noticed a nearly full moon either in the morning or evening...? Otherwise, hunt hard, let the PH and tracker do their thing and shoot straight. I'll guarantee if your PH and trackers are good, you can walk if needed for tracking and shoot well when it counts- moon phases, condition of vegetation for game sighting, etc. will not have much if any affect on success. I guess the only thing I'm aware of that is consistently favorable to killing something is sitting on a water hole during a drought and pot shooting your trophy- if that's your thing.
I've just planned my trips based on my schedule, availability of PH/area I want then try to select early season, after the rains and when animals are healthy and fit and there is some green vegetation. Moon phase driving the cart? not
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