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  1. #1
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    Elk season moon phases

    Hey guys, well it's almost here, finally! Looking at the phases for sept seems like it may be a better season later on, with the moon hitting full early, bulls may not be ready to crank it up. I know this is a loaded topic. But I would like to hear some opinions, hopefully we can get some ideas and different thoughts on the matter. Thanks and best of luck to everyone this fall!


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    I'm aware of it like everybody else, thinking it might make a difference but in the end, I hunt. Up here in OR, I have good days and bad like everybody else but I've never had elk head off at daylight and my hunt essentially be over at 7 am like some people mention when this is brought up.
    It has made zero difference on my NM hunts and I hunted the same 2 sections of ground 4 years. I was also keenly aware of the full moon year as the topic was brought up just before the hunt.

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    I've hunted elk a lot. Almost every year whether it be to fill my tag or helping friends fill theirs. In my personal opinion, moon phase doesn't affect the rut. Rutting bulls are going to chase cows as long as they are in cycle.

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    I'm with 385, having been a bowhunter for 13 years now elk are very unpredictable. I've been up a week before archery season started while the moon is mostly full and seen bulls chasing cows like the rut was in full swing. The biggest factor is the amount of hunting pressure the elk see. That same year I was out opening morning and for a week after that and didn't hear a bugle one, the same day I saw 3 different groups of hunters probably wondering the same thing I was, "what happened to these elk?" Getting away from the pressure, and into the elk is the toughest part and if you can succeed have fun. Good luck.

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    If you hunt hot dry weather with full moon you may have a different opinion on full moon hunting. I hunted southern UT several years ago. It was 80 to 90 degree temps, dry, with no moon and the elk were back in the dark timber all day at first light and didn't come out until late evening. I pretty much sacked out all day waiting for elk..didn't want to risk spooking elk out of their bedding areas. The next year was 0 moon with rainshower and 50 to 60 degree days....bulls were out during the same dates all day long bugling their heads off. Moon may not matter as much if you are hunting alpine elk at 9,000+' elevation in Colo. If you hunt open sagebrush bulls moon phase might not matter. A lot depends on the area, country, weather, topography, elevation, water availability, etc. I always keep moon phase in mind when drawing specific tags and try to avoid the full moon.

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    jimss,

    I'd say the weather had more to with it than anything. However, I'm a firm believer that photo-period plays much more of a role in the rut than the moon.

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    There was a great article written on the subject in the latest Eastmans.

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    I'm sure you are probably right. If I would have hunted the first year in UT with full moon and rain the elk likely would be a lot more active all day. If it is 90 degrees I don't think elk would be active during the day irregardless of the moon! I would still think that elk tend to be a little more active during the night time during a full moon (especially with hunting pressure) so are likely overall less active during daylight. When I schedule my hunts I often stay somewhat flexible with hunting dates so I time the weather, moon, and rut activity in my favor. If it's a short hunting season you are pretty much stuck hunting the dates you draw! In that case I may try to draw a tag I've waited years to draw in a no moon year so I pull one more factor in my favor. If you haven't noticed, I keep moon phase in mind

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    I think it is obviously part of the equation. Long term wx , winter kill, tag allocation. & moon phase are all things that you can use back during draw planning. Seems like Umpqua Hunter has this down to a science. I do think that come the season, a lot more comes in to play like daily weather. Still on a clear night with a full moon I know I may have problems. Interesting notes I have on some decent early afternoon success after those clear full moon nights.
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    I don't think the moon phase has much effect on the timing of the rut but I feel it effects the day time activity level.

 

 

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