From our texts back and forth from tree stands each season for the last 10 years, Mark Drury and I keep honing our theory: Mature bucks move best in daylight hours in and around a full moon that shines the sky in November. We know this flies in the face of what Granddaddy told you: Bucks move all night on the big moon, it’s the worst time to hunt!
But I know we’re on to something. The more I hunt a full moon in early to mid-November across the U.S. and Canada, the more mature bucks I see wandering around glassy-eyed from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Drury agrees, and you’ve seen all the rutting giants he kills on his television shows, some of them on a big moon.
I hate to blow up what Granddaddy taught you, but data from a North Carolina State moon/deer movement study backs us up. “A common misconception is that deer see better at night because it’s brighter when the moon is full,” said the scientists. “But according to our data they actually move less on average at night during a full moon and more during the middle of the day, and also earlier in the evenings.”
“This year I think any day from November 8 through 14 could be good to great for deer movement from midmorning to early afternoon, especially if it’s cold with high-pressure,” said Drury. From November 9 through 11, when the moon will set from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., he and I predict deer will move and rut best in the early mornings. You can bet I’ll be camped out in a morning stand on a ridge blazed with rubs and scrapes deep in the timber.