No I'm not talking about Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers either, though I am a fan. More so, wondering why it seems that several of the big game openers occur during or immediately prior to a full moon. Not sure if the Fish and Game Departments plan this or if it's just happenstance. Certainly does get me to wondering though.
My archery elk hunt began Aug. 29 which was 6 days prior to the full moon. My recent mule deer hunt began Oct. 3 which was the day before a full moon. My next elk hunt starts Oct. 28 which is 6 days prior to a full moon. My last and second season archery elk begins Nov. 28 which is only 5 days before the full moon. One of these hunts is 5 days long and another only 11 days. Sure does make it that much more challenging to find deer and elk considering they are feeding at night then bedding down during the day. The best remedy for full moon fever is weather and in the form of heavy cloud cover. This way they are unable to forage all night and will need to do so during the day. Increasing the hunters chances greatly. Weather can be the hunters best and worst friend for big game and is certainly the wild card for every hunt. Also a factor for waterfowl too, but to a lesser degree.
My recent mule deer hunt was uneventful and somewhat frustrating. I saw a beautiful 4 x 4 with a little kicker off his G3 making him a shy 5 point on his right side. None the less it was the morning before the season opened that he and his forked horn buddy came to within 65 yards of me. We both just stared at one another and then they casually walked off and continued browsing. I shrugged and heaved a long sigh of disbelief. Wondering if our paths would cross again in the days to come. It was not to be and after several days of walking, glassing and being woken by the glaring full moon, I retreated home, empty handed and a bit discouraged.
I had seen the two of them on opening morning as the horizon started lighting up. I made a plan to swing wide and come in below them so as to keep the wind in my favor. My heart was pounding and I was hoping they would bed down soon. I continued my stalk and took a quick look through my binocs and before I knew it I was busted. My heart sank and I felt the blood turn cold in my veins. I gave them one long hard look as they briskly trotted away, out of sight and range. I continued to work the same area for the next several days and had zero luck. I wasn't hearing any rifle shots in the distance either. Comforting in some ways and then again not. I returned to the cabin where I was staying and glassed to the alfalfa fields across the way, watching 20 to 30 deer feeding without a single worry. They were pressured from the surrounding mountains and had found a free pass on the private fields. Eating to their hearts content and bedding down along the fields edge.
I am pretty darn sure that the big buck, was the same one from last year. I chuckled when I saw he had young forked horn with him, another sacrifice. Unfortunately I won't be able to get after him again this year. So I will keep my fingers crossed that he will once again outwit the rest of the hunters this season, so that he and I may pick up this dance next year.
All in all it was still a good hunt, an honest hunt, and one I won't soon forget.
Women's Hunting Journal Integrity For The Hunt