I understand photoperiod and I understand the point your making however I think I am not getting my point across well. Everyone knows photoperiod is the slow gradual change in the amount of light in a day. The key is it is pretty slow/gradual. For example in my area(VA) the difference in photoperiod from the month of September to October is about 70 minutes, a little more than 2 minutes per day. The same holds true for October to November. I feel that is key to getting the ball rolling so to speak but I also believe that conditions become optimal midway through the month of October, not because of the phase of the moon(new) necessarily but what it causes.
The deer detect changes in photoperiod and that triggers the rut? It would seem the rut would be identical each year then, but it's not. My point which I didn't relay very well is not so much about Moon Phase because I like you don't think the phase of the moon matters much. I do believe the amount of light emitted by the moon matters and I'll tell you why.
A deer does not measure just sunlight, what I mean is the same gland(pineal gland) that detects the amount of sunlight detects the amount of moonlight as well, hell any light stimulus will be detected. Bright days significantly inhibit the production of melatonin by a whitetail, and bright nights as well(studies have shown as much as a 50% decrease in melatonin production with light stimulus near the level of the moon).
That is what brings me to my New Moon theory, not the phase of the moon but the fact that for that whole week of Oct 14 -21 there is no light at night, none. That coupled with the fact that the days are gradually getting shorter already leads to perfect conditions for maximum melatonin output which from what I have read causes a signifcant spike in reproductive activity.
So I try not to get hung up on the "phase" but more importantly what that phase does and how that may impact the deer. Two weeks before and after the time frame above there is a full moon, so you have bright days and bright nights, which is less than ideal in theory. It's jmo and mainly I do it to help me decide when to schedule off, but the last two seasons have went really well so I'll stick with it.
I like that link there are some great articles there. I think that info is pretty good too, even though I'm not sure how anyone could know the exact breeding dates of 1600 wild deer and I would also like to see the information on the 2500 other deer from 11 states. The article states the best scientific data points to the amount of sunlight as triggering the rut when actually it is the lack of light all together that has a measurable effect on deer. Their brains do not differentiate between sun and moon light and darkness is what equates to increased melatonin output.
Here is the moon from Oct. 11-23, 2009. Don't forget that during much of this time the moon is out during the day and rarely even up at night, that's pretty dark.(special attention to Oct.14-21).
[/align]One of the main reasons I started tracking conditions in my area and keeping notes on the moon, weather, activity is because the dates that were predicted every year never fit where I hunt.