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How Does Moonlight Affect Deer Movement?

What does the moon phase really do to deer movement?

Ask anyone you know who hunts about moon phases and deer movement, and you will most likely get the answer that deer move a lot more during the full moon. Some might even say it's not worth hunting the week of a full moon. While I wouldn't go that far, I would also agree that the moon phase does have impact on deer movement.

Well, good thing my wife isn't reading this, because I am about to say something I have almost never said: I'm wrong. According to this PennState study the moon has no significant impact on deer movement. You don't have to take my word for it the study has graphs. The first is the average distance a deer moves over a 24 hour period. The second graph illustrates the movements when moon phases are taken into account.

Image Via PSU

Now with the moon phases:

Image via PSU

The differences in the graphs show that during a partial moon deer move an extra 4 meters on average. In new moon phase it is a staggering 6 meters. So in 13 to 20 feet extra for the readers using the freedom system.

What we can see from this study is that deer are still light sensitive choosing to move during sunrise and sunset. While that is there most active time deer will still move during the daylight hours just at a much slower pace. So when hunting the primary factors for deer movement will remain food (at least for now).


How Does Moonlight Affect Deer Movement?