In order to be successful, there are a number of factors a roedeer hunter has to take into consideration: the most obvious being wind and sun. When dealing with suspicious animals, your smell or your shadow could give you away; but it is just as important to know the right time of day to be effective.
One moon, four periods
It is well-known that, in general, dawn and dusk are the best times for stalking. But when you know that roedeer move around between 6 to 12 times a day for food, there are obviously other times when you can catch a glimpse of them. Several studies have shown that the moon influences at least some of these roedeer movements. Here is a summary of what these studies revealed:
The extreme darkness of these nights forces the roedeer to limit their nocturnal movements. The roedeer therefore tend to move out into open ground at first light. As they have eaten very early, they are very likely to come out again in the late afternoon. Several studies have shown that during this phase of the moon, up to 4 times more roedeer are encountered in daylight than during any other lunar phase.
During the first quarter (meaning when the right half of the moon is visible), the situation is different depending on whether you hunt in the morning or the evening. This moon generally rises in the afternoon. Roedeer, being keen observers, will wait until nightfall to come out, because they know they will be sure to benefit from some light. In the morning, however, the situation is quite different. As the moon rises earlier, it also sets earlier, plunging the roedeer into darkness. From then on, they will come out at first light.
The greater light during the nights of the full moon has several consequences. In the first place, the roedeer are able to feed all night. Exhausted after such a feast, they are unlikely to come out in the early hours of the morning, but on the other hand, they are more likely to come out again in the middle of the day and in late afternoon.
This moon rises very late, generally after nightfall. The roedeer take advantage of this to eat as much as possible, to such an extent that some of them, replete, do not come out in the morning. After a lengthy lie-in, the roedeer generally come out again in the mid-afternoon.
Fellow hunters, you know what you have to do to make the most of your chances when you go hunting this summer!