How to read the solunar hunting-fishing calendar

Long years ago, a hunting companion confessed to me that he was a firm believer in those calendars that portend to list the best dates and times for hunting and fishing, based on “Solunar Forecasts and Predictions.”

He swore by them, having twice shot a limit of ducks on a Missouri River backwater on mornings the calendars had recommended as four-star hunting times.

In response to my skeptical questioning he admitted there were several “best-rated” days on those solunar calendars when he had not bagged a single duck, or even taken a shot at one, but that was due to extenuating circumstances, he insisted.

“What sort of ‘extenuating circumstances’?” I asked.

“Well, you know, those were bluebird days on the river, so the ducks were all rafted up in the main channel and there wasn’t any reason for them to flock into the backwaters.”

That was exactly my point about the reliability of the much touted Solunar Forecasts and Predictions. You are probably familiar with those calendars, now available online, that allow you to select the hunting and fishing dates that are likely to be the most productive in the specific area in which you hunt or fish. The calendar gives each date a rating of ★, ★★, ★★★,or ★★★★.

Forgive me for my disbelief, but I’m not sure what the phrase “solunar forecasts” even means. It hints at the mystical influence of the sun, moon, and stars on the behavior of wildlife, especially affecting the times during which they will be actively feeding. But the gremlin that throws sand in the gears of the greater cosmos is local conditions, and the solunar tables and calendars are woefully negligent regarding those.

The solunar calendars are compiled a full year ahead of time, and they do not take into account something as crucial as weather. My most recent experience with the solunar calendar was its prediction for a ★★★★ day in Nebraska in early November with major feeding times from 8-10 a.m. Unfortunately, there was a blizzard blasting across the northern part of the state and every deer was hunkered down in shelter and had no intention of wandering out to feed.

Advocates of the solunar calendar argue that it predicts general trends, and you have to take local conditions into account. That’s exactly my point; the solunar calendar completely ignores local weather conditions and crop patterns and seasonal fluctuations – which are vastly more important to wildlife behavior than the mysterious and mystic cosmos. As an extreme example, a tornado could pulverize the (fictional) Winnetoon County, Nebraska, and the calendar could still give a ★★★★ rating to hunting prospects there.

Every hunter is entitled to his own myths and superstitions, and I certainly have my own set of delusions and fantasies about the best days and times to hunt. So if you want to put your faith in a calendar of solunar forecasts and predictions, more power to you. Frankly, I think these fish and game calendars are a ridiculous but relatively harmless scam.

However, I am playing with the idea that with careful interpretation and application these solunar calendars may well be useful tools for believers in the pseudoscience of prognostication or the cult of those who put their faith in screwball soothsayers. There is potential, I think, for the solunar forecasts to be used for clairvoyance in:

How to play the stock market

How to place a wager on the Belmont Stakes horse race

How to win various casino games (blackjack, roulette, baccarat)

How to pick winners in the NCAA basketball tournament

How to beat the point spread in the NFL betting line

How to estimate taxes due the IRS

How to identify The Masked Singer

How to forecast earthquakes and tsunamis

How to guess the exact date an asteroid will strike the Earth

How to prophesy the Rapture

How to predict when Trump will concede he lost the election to Biden

Of course, none of this foreknowledge is nearly as important as knowing when pheasants will be moving from their feeding ground in picked cornfields to their mid-day loafing cover in the switchgrass, but as I point out the solunar tables are utterly worthless in that regard. Here’s my advice on hitting the best dates for hunting and fishing: Go hunting and fishing every day you possibly can. Some days will be better than others, but all your days in the field or on the stream will be pretty good.


About Jerry Johnson

Curmudgeon. Bird hunter and dog trainer. Retired journalist and college public relations director. Former teacher, coach, mentor. Novelist and short story writer. Husband, father, grandfather.
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