If you haven’t been hunting and fishing for long, you may not be using solunar tables – or, frankly, even know what they are or what they are supposed to tell you. Trust us, you’re not alone. While some hunters and anglers absolutely swear by solunar theory and claim that it has helped them catch many a fish or hunt many a big game animal, others roundly dismiss it as over-scientific hogwash. After all, there’s a certain charm to removing all analytical and scientific thought from your mind when you head out to the field to hunt or hit the lake to fit. This is supposed to be fun, not school!
All joking aside, solunar tables can be a great way to give yourself a leg up in outdoor game sporting pursuits. Put simply, solunar theory gives hunters or anglers tables that they can use to plan out their hunting schedules. These tables aid in the selection of the best times of day or the best days of the month to catch fish or hunt game.
While the two sports involve the consideration of different factors in order to judge the best times for success, solunar tables can help with both. For fishing, the tables consider everything from tides to sunrise and sunset times. Hunters, on the other hand, will look at sunrise and sundown times, but will also look at moon cycles to help in determining when different animals will be out, about, and active. Even if you’re one of those hunters or anglers who subscribes to the “scientific hogwash” line of thinking, you can probably admit that the aforementioned information would be helpful in making you more successful and productive in your sport.
The question then becomes about how to read solunar tables so that you can glean the information you need. First of all, you need to understand which parts of the table are most important to you. While sunset and sunrise times are important, you can get them almost anywhere, from the weather app on your phone to the almanac in your car. Solunar tables are actually more vital for their offering of “major” and “minor” feeding period times, which are clearly presented in the tables. These times are offered for both a.m. and p.m., so that both morning and evening sportsman can find value in solunar tables.
Naturally, “major” feeding periods are the best time to hunt or fish. These time periods last for about two hours, with the time offered in the table occurring right in the middle of the period. In other words, if you are a morning hunter and read an 8:45 a.m. time in the major column of a solunar table, you should plan to be at your hunting spot at no later than 7:45 and to stay there until 9:45.
“Minor” feeding periods are less vital, but can still be a great opportunity for a big game kill or a sizable fishing catch – especially if you are pressed for time and looking to fit in a quick hunt or fishing jaunt in the middle of the day. Minor periods last for only an hour, but you can read them in the solunar table the same way you would read a major period. So if a minor period time is listed as 2:55 p.m., get there a half hour early (2:25) and stay for a half hour after (3:25) for best hunting or fishing results.