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The Moon and Deer... "Survey says!"

Posted: March 18, 2015

What has past research discovered about the moon and deer movements? And what do our readers think? Read on to find out!
Full moon in 2008. Photo credit: NASA/Sean Smith

Full moon in 2008. Photo credit: NASA/Sean Smith

The activity of deer has been studied by wildlife researchers since the 1970s, who over time have taken advantage of the latest technology to try and ascertain the effect of the moon on deer behavior.

In 1990, Paul Beier and Dale McCullough used activity sensors on deer to study whether a variety of factors affect deer activity patterns and habitat use. They wrote, "It is difficult to determine the effect of weather and moonlight on deer activity and habitat use because of interactions between weather variables, changes in weather effects with season and time of day, and nonlinear responses to some variables, e.g., temperature and wind speed."

They also noted, "There is conflicting evidence regarding the influence of moonlight on deer activity and habitat use." They go on to cite 2 papers that found no effect of moonlight on deer activity and 2 papers that found deer increased their movements near the full moon and were less likely to use more open habitats.

In their own study of deer activity, Beier and McCullough concluded, "Moonlight had little or no influence on nighttime activity or habitat use by deer."

But what have you told us? Well, so far over 1,000 people have responded to our survey (we're still collecting answers, so if you want to take the SURVEY you can!)

Just like research results have not been conclusive, there is some difference of opinions! Here is what the first 968 respondents said about the effect of the moon.

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And as to how the moon affects deer movement, this is what you told us:

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So tell your friends about the survey and we'll continue to compile the answers and share the results.

In the near future (please be patient!), we'll share with you the results of our analysis of 2013 and 2014 data for the month of October. We, by no means, will consider this the final answer about how the moon affects white-tailed deer movements, but we will be able to show you what our collared deer did during the archery hunting seasons!

-Duane Diefenbach


Note: The results of this survey are only a representation of readers of this blog. The results are not generalizable to hunters, or the general public, or any larger population. The purpose of the survey was to have fun!

 

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