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Look to the sky for clues of animal movement

November 9, 2016
By JOE HACKETT - Outdoors Columnist ( , Lake Placid News

Back in the day, calendars were used to mark the passing of time by noting particular events and activities that were pursued during the various seasons.

They also correlated the various phases of the moon with current natural events and activities that the new moon provided.

Distinct moon phases were used to define time and chart the natural cycles of fish, game, berries and a host of similar natural events.

Article Photos

The “hunter’s moon” rises over the mountains on Oct. 15. A histoic supermoon will be in the sky Sunday, Nov. 13 and Monday, Nov. 14.
News photo — Lou Reuter

Many deer hunters consider moon phases while planning their hunts, as it is a prime indicator of the breeding season. Currently, whitetails are in the pre-rut stage, with rubs and scrapes popping up everywhere.

The bucks are on the move, and the snowless woods will continue to provide them with a most effective camouflage. Other than the opening day snowstorm, the local woods have remained essentially snowless since the season began.

A quick check earlier in the week on the current status of the Trudeau Big Buck Contest revealed the total entries had doubled. Of course, at the time, there was only a single entry.

The night sky has always been a fascinating feature among native cultures. They used moon phases to define the various seasons and to note significant events.

Moon phases have a distinctly powerful impact on all animals, including humans. This fact was most evident during my college years, when I served as a residence hall director. The entire campus community was involved in an effort to deal with the effects, and after-effects of the monthly Moonlight Madness events. Campus security would regularly report significant increases in vandalism, violent confrontations and alcohol abuse following the full moon event.

The gravitational pull of the moon has an affect on all living creatures. Which is understandable since the human body is composed of nearly 60 percent water. Lunar cycles effect the behavior of humans and all living things. The natural rhythms depend on external cues that are impacted by the moon's phases.

A number of scientific studies have examined the effect of the moon on humans. In the late 1980s, there were at least 40 published studies on the purported lunar-lunacy connection. It is important to note that there were also more than 20 published studies concerning the purported lunar-birthrate connection.

A recent study found a statistically significant connection between sleep quantity and quality and lunar phases, even though the subjects could not see the moon or its light.

The moon influences the behavior of all animals. It has an effect on emotions, as well as physical health. It defines not only the tides, but our weather patterns as well.

Experienced outdoor enthusiasts recognize the effects the moon phase has on the behavior of both fish and game. I use solunar tables most often for angling purposes, however the tables can be used to determine the most likely time of movement for all creatures.

Armed with this knowledge, it's important to note the imminent arrival of a record-breaking Supermoon that will light up the night sky Sunday, Nov. 13 and Monday, Nov. 14.

Supermoons occur when the moon is closer to earth than it typically is. The effect is even more pronounced when it occurs at the same time as a full moon.

The upcoming Supermoon will be the closest of the year, and the closest full moon since 1948. There won't be similar event until 2034.



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