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The Solunar Calendar Demystified

Photo by Bob Familiar The moon’s position affects when deer and other game animals feed. But how? Many people are confused by the solunar effect. I’m happy to clear this up. First, there is scientifically proven anecdotal evidence that the sun and moon affect deer movement. The sun is important because it’s easier to see in daylight. The moon is important because, well, nobody has ever explained this satisfactorily, but that hasn’t stopped people from having strong opinions about it. There are two particularly important times to be afield each day. One is when the moon is overhead. This is because deer love gazing at the moon. The other is when the moon is underfoot. This is less understood, but if you look down and see a large orb (diameter 2160 miles) under your boot, do not try to stand because you’ll lose your balance and fall out of the tree.  Every solunar site is authoritative. They just don’t usually agree with each other. Look, it’s a free country, okay? They don’t agree when the moon is directly overhead or underfoot for a given locale. They don’t agree whether a “major feeding period” takes place when the moon is overhead or underfoot. Sometimes they don’t even agree whether a given date—take yesterday, September 19—is a Sunday or a Monday. Here are some websites to consult:  • At solunarforecast.com, the best times for today are 3:14 a.m. to 5:14 a.m. (when the moon is overhead) and 3:42 p.m. to 5:42 p.m (when the moon is underfoot). No way I’m hunting the first. Way too early, way too dark. I might catch a bit of the second, since sunset is 7:07 p.m. There’s not  a lot of other detail here, but if you just want someone to tell you when to go, this is your site.  • At usprimetimes.com, they get a completely different idea. The moon will be overhead from 2:11 a.m. to 4:17 a.m. and underfoot from 2:41 p.m. to 4:43 p.m. But the actual “best overall time to fish or hunt” is actually from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. I couldn’t find an explanation of why this was the best time, but the site projects a sense of confidence in its predictions and goes beyond just telling you the overhead and underfoot times. So if you want some kind of interpretation of the data but don’t need to know how that is achieved, you have found yourself a home.  • I didn’t find a lot of other sites with hunt-specific times. There’s one called bestttimestohunt.net, but the graphics and everything else suggest it is owned by solunarforecst.com, so I discounted it. But if you like the name “besttimestohunt” better than “solunarforecast,” go here.  • At in-fisherman.com/solunar-calendar/, things get strange. Their best times are calculated by which species of fish you’re going after, because clearly a bass and a bluegill will respond differently to the sun and moon. Anyway, first you specify your locale, then choose your fish. Choices include bass, walleye, catfish, panfish, pike & muskie, trout & salmon, other, and “ice.” Ice is very difficult to catch in September around here, no matter what the moon is doing. Their calendar also  thinks that September 19, 2016, is a Sunday, which is interesting. Anyway, I picked “other,” since I figured that was the fish most closely related to whitetails. The best times for other were from 12:41 a.m. to 2:41 a.m. and 1:09 p.m. to 3:09 p.m. A really interesting feature of this site is that if you click on the date for further detail, Sunday, September 19, magically becomes a Monday. That is impressive. Also, it lists 6:55 a.m. to 8:55 a.m. as a “good time” (although the others are better). There was no explanation why this was a good time. There are ads for Zoom’s Z3 Original Worm and Northland’s Impulse Fatty Tube below the forecast. Just for the heck of it, I clicked on the Fatty Tube and landed—you saw this coming, right?—on a detailed review of the Zoom Z3. If you like surprises, this is your site.  So there it is. Three sites, three completely different interpretations of the data. I hope this clears up any confusion about the solunar calendar. 

Many people are confused by the solunar effect. I’m happy to clear this up. First, there is scientifically proven anecdotal evidence that the sun and moon affect deer movement. The sun is important because it’s easier to see in daylight. The moon is important because, well, nobody has ever explained this satisfactorily, but that hasn’t stopped people from having strong opinions about it. There are two particularly important times to be afield each day. One is when the moon is overhead. This is because deer love gazing at the moon. The other is when the moon is underfoot. This is less understood, but if you look down and see a large orb (diameter 2160 miles) under your boot, do not try to stand because you’ll lose your balance and fall out of the tree. 

Every solunar site is authoritative. They just don’t usually agree with each other. Look, it’s a free country, okay? They don’t agree when the moon is directly overhead or underfoot for a given locale. They don’t agree whether a “major feeding period” takes place when the moon is overhead or underfoot. Sometimes they don’t even agree whether a given date—take yesterday, September 19—is a Sunday or a Monday. Here are some websites to consult: 

• At solunarforecast.com, the best times for today are 3:14 a.m. to 5:14 a.m. (when the moon is overhead) and 3:42 p.m. to 5:42 p.m (when the moon is underfoot). No way I’m hunting the first. Way too early, way too dark. I might catch a bit of the second, since sunset is 7:07 p.m. There’s not  a lot of other detail here, but if you just want someone to tell you when to go, this is your site. 

• At usprimetimes.com, they get a completely different idea. The moon will be overhead from 2:11 a.m. to 4:17 a.m. and underfoot from 2:41 p.m. to 4:43 p.m. But the actual “best overall time to fish or hunt” is actually from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. I couldn’t find an explanation of why this was the best time, but the site projects a sense of confidence in its predictions and goes beyond just telling you the overhead and underfoot times. So if you want some kind of interpretation of the data but don’t need to know how that is achieved, you have found yourself a home. 

• I didn’t find a lot of other sites with hunt-specific times. There’s one called bestttimestohunt.net, but the graphics and everything else suggest it is owned by solunarforecst.com, so I discounted it. But if you like the name “besttimestohunt” better than “solunarforecast,” go here. 

• At in-fisherman.com/solunar-calendar/, things get strange. Their best times are calculated by which species of fish you’re going after, because clearly a bass and a bluegill will respond differently to the sun and moon. Anyway, first you specify your locale, then choose your fish. Choices include bass, walleye, catfish, panfish, pike & muskie, trout & salmon, other, and “ice.” Ice is very difficult to catch in September around here, no matter what the moon is doing. Their calendar also  thinks that September 19, 2016, is a Sunday, which is interesting. Anyway, I picked “other,” since I figured that was the fish most closely related to whitetails. The best times for other were from 12:41 a.m. to 2:41 a.m. and 1:09 p.m. to 3:09 p.m. A really interesting feature of this site is that if you click on the date for further detail, Sunday, September 19, magically becomes a Monday. That is impressive. Also, it lists 6:55 a.m. to 8:55 a.m. as a “good time” (although the others are better). There was no explanation why this was a good time. There are ads for Zoom’s Z3 Original Worm and Northland’s Impulse Fatty Tube below the forecast. Just for the heck of it, I clicked on the Fatty Tube and landed—you saw this coming, right?—on a detailed review of the Zoom Z3. If you like surprises, this is your site. 

So there it is. Three sites, three completely different interpretations of the data. I hope this clears up any confusion about the solunar calendar. 

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