Cheatham County Exchange

Completely “unphased” by the moon

How much pull does the moon have? 

How much pull does the moon have? 

Unless you’re hunting werewolves, don’t pay any attention to the phase of the moon.

That’s the conclusion of some biologists who studied the relationship between the moon and wildlife activity. There is none.

From bucks to bass, they say critters don’t care if the moon is a big orange pumpkin glowing high overhead or a sliver twinkling on the distant horizon.

Are they correct? Depends on which expert you ask.

I know a seasoned hunter who claims deer are more active on bright, moonlit nights because it’s easier for them to spot predators. But another veteran hunter says deer are LESS active on bright nights for the opposite reason – it’s easier for predators to spot them.

What difference does it make? It’s illegal to hunt deer at night.

The only night hunting is coon hunting, and the masked bandits will be out raiding corn fields, moonlight or no moonlight.

Same with fishing. How does a fish, lurking in the depths, know the phase of the moon? Or care? Yet lots of fishermen are moon-struck.

My Uncle Bud had a Farmer’s Almanac that charted the best days to fish – good, fair and poor – according to moon phases.

He studied the chart assiduously. Then, like most of us, he went fishing when he could, not necessarily when the Almanac said to. He had a job, and his boss wasn’t the man in the moon.

I suspect Uncle Bud studied the Almanac tables out of curiosity, or maybe as a ritual, like sacrificing a goat to make the corn grow.

Speaking of which, many farmers relied on the Almanac to tell them the best time to plant their gardens. My grandma would no more have planted her okra under the wrong Zodiac sign than she would have guzzled a martini, hopped on a table, and danced the Charleston.

Some outdoors magazines carry solunar tables that forecast optimum days to be afield or afloat. Since most magazines are printed months in advance, how do they know what the weather will be that far ahead? A tornado might hit on a “peak” day.

It’s understandable why some outdoorsmen think the moon influences the activities of fish and wildlife because, for centuries, it was believed the moon influenced the behavior of we humans.

The mellow glow of a harvest moon may be romantic, but the downside – according to legend – was that it could drive people insane. The terms “looney” and “lunatic” are derived from lunar.

Some leading scientific minds of the time believed in moon madness. They claimed lunar forces caused men to behave erratically – buying expensive sports cars, running off with their secretaries and turning into werewolves.

If the moon had that much influence on humans, it’s not a stretch to think it could make animals stir and fish bite. But I doubt it.

The moon tells the tides when to roll in and out, but don’t ask it when to go hunting or fishing.

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