December 20, 2010
Best Day to Deer Hunt: Dec. 21 - 2
by James Nelson
Winter begins on the 21st of December every year. This year it has a special meaning for serious whitetail hunters. The winter solstice is when the sun is at its peak south. What’s special about this one is there’s a total lunar eclipse of the full moon the day after peak north lunar ascension.
OK, before you nod off like I'm giving a science lecture, consider this: in my many hours of breaking down trophy harvest data, one day stuck when I flipped through years of data, Nov. 8, 2003! On that day there was a total (not partial or prenumbral) eclipse of a full moon.
Amongst the 20 plus years of records it happened to be the number 1 day all-time. In fact, a two-day span around this date was off the charts for harvest. We are talking 400 P & Y bucks registered, 136 on the day of the eclipse. I decided to look into other lunar eclipses, not too many, especially total eclipses, but what I did find was one of the best (top two) days all-time for the month of December was a prenumbral eclipse.
I’m not totally sure why these days have an effect on deer movement, but they do. My advice, take the 21st off, head for the field and see what happens. We would appreciate any and all feedback on your hunt if you do. And mark on your calendar Dec. 10, 2011 also, as this event will happen again, then won’t repeat until Oct. 8, 2014 (at least during fall hunting seasons). Good Luck!