Why is it Called the Hunter's Moon?
Each year, after the Harvest Moon, the October full moon illuminates the night clearly. This October full moon is known as the Hunter's Moon. (Note, there can be rare instances where the Hunter's Moon occurs in November. The Harvest Moon and Hunter's Moon are dependent upon the Autumnal Equinox.)
The Hunter's Moon, as its name suggests, has a strong and historical connection to hunting. The relationship between the full moon and hunting activities is deeply ingrained in various cultures and has practical applications, like extended hunting hours and increased visibility. In older times, October was a crucial time for stocking up on meat for the winter, and the full moon, of course, allowed for more time in the day to hunt as well as increased light for nighttime tracking and hunting. Game was, too, typically larger due to the animal's fattening up in preparation for the winter months, and hunters were rewarded with more meat.
The term "Hunter's Moon" is one of the full moon names used in Native American tradition. These names are often linked to the seasonal behaviors of plants and animals, allowing people to track the passage of time in a natural way. Native American people had a deep connection to the moon, and they used its phases as a calendar for planting, harvesting, and other important events. Beyond its practical role, the Hunter's Moon also has a rich cultural significance.
In European traditions, the Hunter's Moon has also been associated with hunting, feasting, and festivities. The full moon often played a role in the timing of various activities, from sowing seeds to butchering livestock. Many cultures took advantage of the bright moonlight for communal gatherings and fun. It also represents the transition from the abundance of the harvest season to the preparation for the scarcity of winter.
Interestingly enough, some sources claim the Hunter's Moon is often known as the Blood Moon, as well. Experts guess the name "Blood Moon" refers to either the shedding of blood from additional hunting hours or from the blood red color of the changing autumn leaves.
Hunting During the Hunter's Moon
It seems to hold true that each year, around Halloween, several states' deer hunting hits its peak rut activity, making this year's October full moon, the Hunter's Moon, a particularly popular and successful time for deer hunters to go out.
The effect moon phases have on deer hunting is a controversial and pretty subjective topic for whitetail hunters. Nevertheless, we've created a guide based on stats we've uncovered for hunting during the different moon phases. It can give guidance for what this year's Hunter's Moon might indicate for your hunting strategies.
"Whenever you can" is usually the best answer for "When should I hunt?" but if you've got time and the hunting access to be particular, you may find this moon phase data interesting.
The 2023 Hunter's Moon will occur on Saturday, October 28. Good luck hunting.