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#476940 - 11/01/07 11:51 AM Re: Lunar Based Rut Theory [Re: pass-thru]
BSK
Jerkasourous of the non-typical kind
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Registered: 03/11/99
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This question comes up over and over again, so instead of retyping my response, here is my answer from another forum about Charlie Alshiemer's rutting moon predictions:



Charlie is a friend of mine, and he's a great guy, but his idea that the rut is driven by the Hunter's Full Moon (2nd full moon after the fall equinox) is a load of doo-doo. His idea has been disproved repeatedly.

Now without question moon phases affect daylight deer movement patterns, changing the amount of activity hunters see during daylight. But moon phases do not change breeding dates. Remember that the vast majority of breeding occurs at night, when no one sees it.

To test this idea that the Hunter's Moon drives the breeding process, a couple of years ago a large number of the top white-tailed deer researchers in the world pooled all their fetal conception date data and compared that data to Hunter's Full Moon dates each year. If the Hunter's Moon date drives breeding, the peak of breeding for each location would be the same number of days after the full moon date. Yet that isn't what they found at all. They found what had been known for decades, that the peak breeding dates for any given location are the same from year to year, not varying more than a couple of days difference over the entire period, no matter how many years of data they looked at. Obviously, the full moon has no influence on breeding dates. Photoperiod (the length of the nights as the nights get longer in fall) drives localized breeding dates.

In addition, each given location can see a very different peak breeding date. This is well established. Breeding dates can be very late in parts of the South, while much earlier in the far North. However, this rule doesn't always hold true. Some areas of the Deep South have very early peak breeding dates, even earlier than in the North. For instance, peak breeding dates along the SC and GA coasts are in mid to late October.

Unique peak breeding dates are genetically programmed into localized deer herds. The actual dates will be perfected by Natural Selection to produce fawns at the optimal time of year for fawn survival.

As an example of how breeding dates don't vary from year to year, and aren't linked to the Hunter's Full Moon, some great data was published in an article in the latest issue of Quality Whitetails magazine. This article displays some very good fetal conception date data from Canada (New Brunswick). Charlie claim's that the affects of the full moon on the rut are stronger the farther north the deer are, so data from Canada should show the affects of the Hunter's full moon strongest. Yet fetuses from over 1,600 does over a nine year period showed peak breeding dates occur on or about the exact same date every year, while the date of the full moon ranged--during this study--over a 22 day period. The data shows:

Year-----Peak Breeding Date--Hunter's Full Moon Date

1997-------Nov. 27-------------------Nov. 14
1998-------Nov. 29-------------------Nov. 4
1999-------Nov. 28-------------------Oct. 25
2000-------Nov. 29-------------------Nov. 12
2001-------Nov. 29-------------------Nov. 1
2002-------Nov. 26-------------------Oct. 21
2003-------Nov. 27-------------------Nov. 9
2004-------Nov. 26-------------------Oct. 28
2005-------Nov. 23-------------------Nov. 16

Unequivocally, the full moon does NOT have anything to do with the peak of breeding. It is linked to the calendar date in each specific geographic location.

Many, many large fetal data sets from across North America like the one above exist, and they all show the same thing; the moon has nothing to do with the peak of breeding.
_________________________
"Know where you stand, and stand there" --Jesuit Father Daniel Berrigan

"There is no reasoning someone out of a position he has not reasoned himself into." --Clive James

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#477168 - 11/01/07 03:03 PM Re: Lunar Based Rut Theory [Re: ]
Jubal
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Registered: 09/20/07
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So basicly, if you want to know the most accurate date to be in the woods, you should be watching the does in the spring. When they drop, subtract the average gestation period of 202 days. That shoud put you about in the middle of the peak. Correct?
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#477290 - 11/01/07 03:49 PM Re: Lunar Based Rut Theory [Re: Jubal]
BSK
Jerkasourous of the non-typical kind
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Registered: 03/11/99
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The most accurate method is to get fetal conception dates. However, in TN that's not completely possible due to our season closing early to mid-January and fetuses needing to be around 38 days old before they can be dated.

But back-dating from fawn drop will work too.

IF your rut is fairly tightly timed, watching for the short period when scrapes go dead (about 5 to 7 days) is a very good indication of peak breeding as well.
_________________________
"Know where you stand, and stand there" --Jesuit Father Daniel Berrigan

"There is no reasoning someone out of a position he has not reasoned himself into." --Clive James

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#477305 - 11/01/07 03:55 PM Re: Lunar Based Rut Theory [Re: BSK]
Hillbilly Hunter
Killbilly
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Registered: 07/15/05
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Loc: Branchville

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He was close to correct in 2004!! \:D
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#477883 - 11/01/07 11:00 PM Re: Lunar Based Rut Theory [Re: Hillbilly Hunter]
pass-thru
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Registered: 10/10/04
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Thanks for your posts BSK. The studies you cite put peak breeding dates consistently at the end of Nov. Given the seeking, chasing, breeding phases of the rut, when can we expect peak daytime activity with regard to peak breeding.....several days before, a week before, 2 weeks before? or is it about the same time? My understanding is that when peak breeding occurs, bucks are busy tending does, so there is a drop in daytime visiblity.....is this correct?

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#477993 - 11/02/07 06:56 AM Re: Lunar Based Rut Theory [Re: pass-thru]
BSK
Jerkasourous of the non-typical kind
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Registered: 03/11/99
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 Originally Posted By: pass-thru

Thanks for your posts BSK. The studies you cite put peak breeding dates consistently at the end of Nov. Given the seeking, chasing, breeding phases of the rut, when can we expect peak daytime activity with regard to peak breeding.....several days before, a week before, 2 weeks before? or is it about the same time? My understanding is that when peak breeding occurs, bucks are busy tending does, so there is a drop in daytime visiblity.....is this correct?



Pass-thru,

Just remember that every location will have its own unique peak breeding timing. Normally those dates get later the farther south the deer herd is, but that's not always the case. Although the New Brunswick data is late November, many areas in the northern teir of states have a peak breeding in early November (around Nov. 5-10). Parts of TN have a peak breeding date between Nov. 15-25. The SC and GA coast have peak breedings as early as late September and early October. Parts of central and western GA have peak dates in late October and early November. Many areas of AL have peak dates in mid to late January. Each area wil have its own unique and traditional peak breeding date.

You are correct that hunters often see a bit of a lull in daylight chasing during the absolute peak of breeding because that is when the maximum number of does are in estrus at one time, reducing competition between bucks, and daylight movement is heavily influenced by competition levels.

The sequence generally begins with what some call the rut-preparation period, which is different than the pre-rut. The rut-preparation period is when bucks are on their feet the maximum amount of time for the year. They are traveling the farthest on a daily basis looking for the first receptive does. The bucks are trying to interact with as many doe groups as possible. This period is generally the week before the 2-week period of the peak of the rut and is--in my opinion--the best time to kill a truly mature bucks as they are moving a great deal during daylight as they cruise from doe group to doe group.

The "peak of the rut" is a 10-day to two week period when the majority of does are bred. It starts with a bang and the first few days is also a great time to kill and to a mature buck as DNA parentage studies find does bred at the beginning of the peak are almost always bred by the oldest bucks in the area (competition is highest between all the bucks and the first few does to enter estrus). This is the time it is possible to see several bucks following one estrus doe.

Right at the dead center of the peak of the rut--when the maximum number of does are in estrus at the same time--hunters often see a short lull in chasing activity. This is also when scrapes go dead for 5-7 days as bucks are too busy breeding to work scrapes (although trail cameras will catch yearling bucks visiting the scrapes but generally not working them).

The tail-end of the peak shows an increase in daylight chasing as competition levels increase again, however I find that the tail-end of the peak usually produces a higher percentage of 2 1/2 year-old bucks chasing instead of the truly old guys. In fact, daily chasing may be more active than at the front end, but again a high percentage of these chases are 2 1/2 year-old bucks instead of 3 1/2+ bucks. I don't know why that is.

Breeding then trickles down over the 3-4 weeks following the peak. Scattered breeding can be seen off and on over those last weeks. The entire sequence lasts 5-6 weeks, but the process is "front loaded." <50% of does are bred during the first two weeks (the "peak of the rut"). The remaining does are bred over the 3-4 weeks following the peak.
_________________________
"Know where you stand, and stand there" --Jesuit Father Daniel Berrigan

"There is no reasoning someone out of a position he has not reasoned himself into." --Clive James

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