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My name is SSgt Brian Krejca. I am currently stationed at the Marine Artillery Detachment Ft. Sill, Oklahoma. I would really like a copy of your Whitetail Addict's Manual. Thank you for your support of the military.
As a Minnesota native your website is very helpful. I hunt the Hill City/Grand Rapids area and will be up for the opener on the 8th. Hope your season goes well. Thanks for the great info and your time.
Take care and happy hunting.
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Thank you for supporting our troops and being willing to profess your faith. Also thanks for the great hunting tips. I read them with great interest and plan to use your Turkey decoy tips - THIS WEEKEND!!
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My name is SSgt Jason Maple. I'm currently in Afghanistan. I love deer hunting and on my off time here I read articles on whitetail deer hunting. I was hoping that i could get a copy of the Whitetail Addict's Manual in hopes to learn more of the whitetails.
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Thanks in Advance
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I will try to give you the most honest, up-to-date information I have (based on my personal research and the research of top biologists/scientists in North America) on the biology/behavior of the animals I write about. I will try to provide you some of the best hunting tips, techniques and tactics to see, study, photograph and hunt those species. I will try to give you the best scientific information (that I currently have) on any other subject I write about.
I hope you learn something from our site, and that you enjoy it. If you have suggestions for this site - feel free to e-mail them to me at TRMichels@yahoo.com.
As an outdoor writer, author, seminar speaker, outfitter, guide, consultant, researcher, animal behaviorist, naturalist and wildlife photographer - I've always felt that the more I know about the biology and behavior of the animals, the better I will be at understanding what makes them click - meaning why they move, when they move, and where they move. Whether you hunt, photograph or just watch or observe the animals, the key to being successful - is to be in the right spot at the right time - and to do that, you have to understand the animals. As a result of that belief - all of my books start our with what I have learned about the biology and behavior of the animals, through my personal research, and the research of some of the top biologists and researchers in the world. Why? Because I cannot teach you to do what I do, to get as close to the animals as I do, and to be there at the right times, unless I help you to understand the biology and behavior of the animals.
I can't count the number of times I've been hunting, photographing or just enjoying wildlife, that I've heard other people say. "There aren't any animals here", or "where are all the animals". Usually, people say that, because they are either not in the right place, or they are not there at the right time, or they are there under the wrong weather conditions. One of my axioms about animal behavior is, "If it is too hot, too cold, to windy, or too wet - the animals aren't gong to do what they would normally do." Through my personal research, and the researcher of others, I've learned the right weather conditions to see animals, in specific types of habitat.
Through my articles, book and seminars, I will try to help you understand the biology and behavior of the animals, so you can choose the right weather conditions, the right places, and the right times, to see the animals on a semi-regular basis, because there are after all, things that affect the animals, that no one can predict.
So, if you want to learn more about the animals, and learn about some very successful tips, tactics and techniques, to get you close to the animals, read my articles and get your copy of my books. I honestly believe I can help you enjoy the animals and get closer to them.
Because I enjoy animals so much, and have a deep love of nature, I realize how important protecting, improving, saving and increasing the natural habitats that the animals need to survive and produce. So, I'm also very passionate about conservation, of both the animals and their habitats. If you want to learn more about why we need to protect our waters, woods, meadows, prairies, savannas and shrublands, log on to our Natural History Magazine, which will not only tell you why we need to protect habitat, but how to go about doing it, in a responsible manner which includes not just fragmented parts of the habitat, but entire ecosystems, if we want our grandchildren to be able to enjoy the great outdoors in the future.
If you have questions, or comments log on to the T.R.'s Tips Message Board, and I'll do my best to help you.
May God bless you and your families, and enjoy the great outdoors,
Wildlife Activity Research Project
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Wildlife Activity Research Project
A joint cooperative project ofUSeeWidlife.com and T.R. Michels
rare Arkansas Brown-Colored Black Bear Boar
A study of the daily, breeding and seasonal activity of birds and mammals at feeders in Arkansas.
White-tailed Deer, Black Bear, Wild Turkey, Small Mammals, Trumpeter Swans, Bald Eagles, Songbirds
Several different factors affect when and where game animals are most active, including the weather, possibly lunar factors, the breeding season, human intervention (which will be minimal on this location), hunting pressure and predatory behavior among them. An understanding of the hours when game animals are most active is of interest to biologists, game managers, animal behaviorists, nature lovers and hunters. This study will examine the hourly sightings of several species of game animals, primarily White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus), American Black Bear (Ursus americanus) and Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo), at eight different feeder locations on a 3000 acre wildlife preserve in the Ozark Mountain of Arkansas, to determine the peak daily activity times of each species. One of these feeders is within an enclosure of white-tailed deer, but the sightings and activity times of animals in this enclosure will not be included in the findings, results and conclusion of this study.
The activity times of the deer in the enclosure will be noted however, to determine whether or not the activity of penned deer can be use as an indicator of the activities of free-ranging, wild deer. Particular notice will be given to activity times of the free-ranging animals in regards to meteorological conditions and lunar factors, especially as the seasons change from summer to winter, to fall and back to winter; and in regards to the various stages (or phases) of the breeding seasons of those animals.
The Study Area
This study, by animal behaviorist and researcher T.R. Michels, in conjunction with the USseeWidlife.com website, is conducted on a 3000 acre game preserve in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas, using streaming live video from eight cameras with night vision and audio capability. Hunting is not allowed on the preserve, and human intrusion is kept to a minimum. The elevation of the preserve runs from 358 feet to 1225 feet, with the highest camera location at 800 feet. The animals can be watched, and listened to, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. The study will continue through December 31 of 2009, and with appropriate funding, will continue through December 31, 2012.
Observations from the cameras will be held for approximately 15 minutes every one to two hours, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. The study will take into account the meteorological conditions of the day; including temperature, humidity, dew point, heat index, wind chill, Barometric pressure, sunrise, sunset, and morning and evening twilight; and several lunar factors; including the phase of the moon, moon rise and set, the overhead and underfoot position of the moon, and the lunar perigee/apogee cycle. Differences in the activities of 3+year old bears and younger bears; and white-tailed deer does, 3+ year old bucks and younger bucks will be noted. The information gathered as a result of this study should prove to be informative and useful to hunters, wildlife biologists, wildlife managers, and animal enthusiasts alike.
Some of the questions that we hope to have answers for, as a result of this study, include:
1. What timeframe (in relation to sunrise) do deer, bears and turkey begin to leave feeding areas and head back to their daytime core areas. Since different deer may be feeding in different areas, some farther away from their core areas than others, it might be difficult to determine when they will arrive back at their core areas / resting sites, because (unless they have a way of knowing how long it will take them to get back) the distance they have to travel will affect when they arrive. Studies have shown that deer travel more miles in an hour in the morning than they do in the evening, because they may be a long way from their core area and often hurry to get back to their core areas before it gets too light out.
2 What timeframe (in relation to sunset) do deer get up to go to nighttime food sources. Studies have shown that deer travel fewer miles per hour in the late afternoon/early evening hours, than in the morning, because it is getting darker, and there is no need for the animals to hurry. During peak movement times between 7 and 8 PM they may travel up to .3 of a mile per hour.
3. What timeframe (in relation to sunset) do deer begin to leave nighttime food sources, and what time they generally get back to their daytime core areas. Studies have shown that deer travel more miles per hour in the morning than in the evening, because it is getting lighter and they want to get back to the security of their (often heavily wooded) core areas. During peak movement time at 8 AM they may travel up to .4 of a mile per hour.
4. How the changes in meteorological conditions will affect when and where deer, bears and turkey are most active throughout the day.
5. Whether or not peaks in hourly deer, bear or turkey activity are correlated with the overhead / underfoot position of the moon, which would suggest that they are affected by the gravitational pull of the moon; and whether or not any of the popular game activity tables accurately predict when peaks in deer activity occur.
6. Whether or not peaks in monthly deer, bear or turkey activity are correlated with either the 29.5 day lunar phase cycle, or the 27.5 day perigee/apogee cycle of the moon; and whether a coincidence of those two cycles during the same week results in higher peaks in activity than either cycle alone.
7. How the behavior of male and female deer, bears and turkey change as the phase of their respective breeding seasons change. And whether or not the behavior of different age classes of the animals affect when they are most active during those phases.
8. Whether or not the beginning, peak or ending of scraping and rubbing of deer, and gobbling activity of turkeys - is correlated with the photoperiod of the sun; the available amount of lunar light, the gravitational pull or electromagnetics associated with the moon; or if those factors affect the timing or intensity of rubbing, scraping or breeding activity of white-tailed deer, and gobbling activity of turkeys.
T.R. Michels has previously conducted a 10 year study of the activities of white-tailed deer, a 4 year study of the activities of wild turkey, and a 3 year study of the activity of North American elk. His findings have been published in a number of hunting magazines( NRA American Hunter, NWTF Turkey Call, North American Whitetail, Buckmasters, Petersen's Bowhuntjng), and over 50 internet websites, including his own Trinity Mountain Outdoors website at file:///C:/Program%20Files/WS_FTP%20Pro/Trinity/www.TRMichels.com. His research papers have also been shared with several top game researchers, for their insight and comments. Those researchers include Dr. Valerius Geist, Dr. Larry Marchinton, Dr. John Ozoga, Dr. Ben Koerth, Dr, Kent Kammermeyer, Dr. Lovett Williams III, Dr. James Earl Kennemer, Dr. Gary Nelson.
Animal Activity / Feeding Times
The above graph depicts the hours of the day when the animals were present in, or near, one of seven different cameras and/or feeders - in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas, from 7/11/09 to 7/20/09.
The space to the right of the numbers indicates the total numbers of animals seen from 7/11/09 to 7/17/09. The cluster of animal sightings at the numbers 6-13 corresponds to morning and midday feeding times. The lack of sightings (other than raccoons) between 22 and 3, is when many animals were probably resting, but when they may get up to stretch, defecate, urinate, and eat, without moving far from their nighttime resting/bedding areas, thus they are unlikely to show up at feeders - if the feeders are too far away from their resting/bedding sites. During these days, temperatures were regularly in the 90 degree Fahrenheit range, and there were some storms.
Crepuscular Animal Hourly Activity
Crepuscular (dawn and dusk) animals, like white-tailed deer, are most active within a few hours of sunrise and sunset. They get up in the evening, feed for a couple of hours, rest most of the night, and get up again before sunrise, when they eat again for a couple of hours before returning to their daytime core areas, where they rest or sleep, and spend most of the day. As can be seen by this graph, deer often begin moving several hours before sunset, and eat for a few hours. Then, because they are ruminants, they often lie down in or near a nighttime food source, regurgitate the cud from the first of their stomachs, and chew their food again. They may get up around midnight to stretch, urinate, defecate and eat, but they seldom move very far before lying down again. Then they get up a few hours before sunrise, eat for a few hours, then travel back to their daytime core areas, where they again regurgitate their cud, chew it and rest or sleep for most of the day. As can be seen by the graph they often getup around moon, to stretch, urinate, defecate and eat, and they may travel a short distance to find food, generally in or near their daytime core areas.
Diurnal Animal Hourly Activity
Diurnal (daytime) animals, like Black Bears, Squirrels and Wild Turkeys get up in the morning, feed throughout the day, and generally sleep at night. They may rest for awhile at midday. However, when they are disturbed by human activity or hunting pressure, bears will often move later at night, to avoid humans.
Nocturnal Animal Hourly Activity
Nocturnal (nighttime) animals, like Raccoons, sleep most of the day, get up in the evening, feed most of the night, and go back to sleep in the morning.
The Influence of the Weather on Animal Activity Times
The health and security of the animals (staying warm and dry in, cold, wet weather - or staying cool and hydrated, in hot, dry weather; and how well they can see, hear and smell) is affected by how hot or cold it is, how much light there is, the type and amount of precipitation, and the direction and speed of the wind. The meteorological factors that affect the health and security of the animals, or by which "we humans" measure meteorological conditions, include temperature, humidity, dew point, heat index, wind chill, and Barometric pressure.
The Influence of the Sun on Animal Activity Times
The amount of light available from the sun changes as dawn progresses into midday, and as midday progresses into dusk. Although the interval between sunrise and noon, and sunset and midnight, is not on a 6 hour interval (because the number of light-hours per day (photoperiod) changes throughout the year) it appears that animals are still able to determine the approximate point of the day when noon and midnight occurs. The ability to determine when noon and midnight occur, is due to what is referred to as "circadian rhythm", and the "circadian clock" - which is associated with the hypothalamus of the brain. The intensity of the light from the sun throughout the day affects the hourly activity of the animals.
Since it has been shown that particular bird species, and in fact, particular birds, have been found to frequent bird feeders at the same time each day, it would be interesting to see if particular bird species arrive at the feeders here, at semi-specific times of the day.
It is expected that the activity times of deer, bears and turkey (in particular) will change as the seasons progress, forage availability changes, aerial and ground cover changes, temperature factors change, and breeding seasons begin, progress and end. Because this is a preserve, hunting seasons may not affect resident animals, but as hunting pressure increases, in areas surrounding the preserve, there may be an influx of non-resident deer, bears and turkey, which may increase competition for mates and forage.
Since animals do not determine the time of day - by the use of a watch, but by the amount of light available - and because the number of light hours per day changes throughout the year, in order to accurately portray and predict the times of day that animals are most active, we need to relate their activity times to either morning and evening twilight, or sunrise and sunset - and state how many hours and minutes from those times that the activity occurred. For the purposes of this study we will use time-frames related to sunrise and sunset.
The Influence of the Available Amount of Light and Foliage on Security Factors, and how they Affect Animal Activity Times
Many game animal are security conscious, with the result that they often move at times, and in places, where either the light conditions are such that they can still see, but feel secure due to limited ability to see very far (due to the lack of light); or where the terrain and habitat are such that they cannot see very far. This security consciousness often determines the hours of the day when the animals are most active.
Scientific studies have shown that, during the fall (when aerial foliage and ground cover are less abundant than during the summer), deer and elk are most active at sunrise and sunset (as is shown here), with minor peaks in activity at noon and midnight. The preliminary results of this study indicate that, in the summer months (when aerial foliage and ground cover is abundant), deer and bears are more active from 7 AM to 1 PM, than they are at sunrise or sunset..
The Influence of the Moon on Animal Activity Times
Since light affects when and where animals are active, it stands to reason that the light of the moon may influence the activity times of animals. The amount of light available from the moon changes as the phases of the moon progress during the 29.5 day lunar phase cycle. The amount of light available from the moon is also affected by the presence of clouds, fog and heavy precipitation. Lunar light may affect the hourly and monthly activity of animals.
It has been hypothesized that the gravitational pull of the moon, during the 29.5 day lunar phase cycle affects the activity of animals. The gravitational pull of the moon may affect the hourly activity of animals.
It has also been hypothesized that the electromagnetics associated with the sun, the moon and the earth, during the 27.5 day perigee/apogee lunar cycle may affect the activity of animals. The electromagnetics of the moon may affect the monthly activity of the animals.
The Solunar Table, which uses the overhead and underfoot position of the moon to determine peak activity times of game and fish, predicted peak activity between 3:00 PM and 6:00 PM for these days. The graph indicates that game activity was actually lowest during the times predicted by the Solunar Table (for this week) .
We are looking for sponsorship for this intended 3 year research project. If you or your company are interested in funding this study, please contact T.R. Michels at TRMichels@yahoo.com or Malvin at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would like to purchase more cameras, add more game feeders, and hopefully add bird feeders and be able to purchase several varieties of bird feed, to attract the wide variety of songbirds in the area, and dedicate cameras to viewing those bird feeders.
Notes of Interest
During the first two weeks of the study, the mammals seen included Armadillo (1), Cottontail Rabbit, Coyote (1), Gray Fox, Gray Squirrel, Fox Squirrel, Opossum, Raccoon, Black Bear and White-tailed Deer. Wild Turkeys and Wood Ducks were the two most prominent game birds, but American Coot, Mallard and Canada Geese were noted. Several species of songbird were seen or heard, including Mourning Dove,Northern Cardinal, Indigo Bunting, Blue Grosbeak, Pileated woodpecker, White-breasted Nuthatch, Red-eyed and Warbling Vireo, American Crow, Blue Jay and others.
Early in the study we found that, contrary to conventional wisdom, which is that bears are not active in high temperatures, the bears in this study were regularly seen between 9:00 AM and 9:00 PM, including the hottest parts of the day, when temperature exceeded 90 degrees Fahrenheit and the heat index exceeded 100 degrees. It must be noted that the bears did not yet have their winter coats on, which might affect the temperature ranges they feel comfortable in during the fall.
It was noted that the 1 year old and older bears regularly stayed at the feeders for over 1/2 hour; and that one large male bear stayed for 2 hours and 20 minutes.
It was noted that mature male white-tailed deer were sighted at 10:00 AM. This was after it had stopped raining (for most of the morning).
During the week of July 14-21, 2009
The Perigee of the Moon occurred on July 21. It is the week before Perigee that may affect animals.
Both adult bears and bears with cubs were sighted most often between 10 AM and 10 8 PM.
Large adult bears, without cubs, were most often sighted between 1 PM and 6 PM.
Deer were sighted most often between 12 AM and 1 PM, with a lull in sightings from 7 to 8 AM.
Larger racked bucks (over 120 inches, presumably older than two years old) were sighted most often between 1 AM and 1 PM, with a lull in sightings from 7 to 9 AM.
Most deer left open feeding areas at about sunrise (some were still feeding an hour later), they began moving three hours before sunset.
Deer were still seen feeding in wooded areas a half hour after sunrise.
Turkeys were sighted most often between 7 AM and 7 PM
Squirrels were sighted most often between 7 AM and 7 PM
Raccoons were sighted most often between 6 PM and 5 AM
There was a noticeable lull in overall game activity from 4-5 AM, when sightings of deer and raccoons subsided, and from 3-4 PM, when sightings of bears subsided.
A bachelor group of 8-9 bucks, including bucks with small 6 point racks up to a tall, wide, heavy 10 point rack (estimated to score at least 170 inches) was frequently noted at the Fossil Ridge meadow, late at night. Kicking of smaller racked bucks, and chasing, by the largest 10 point buck and a large 8 point buck, was frequently noted. Establishment and reinforcement of the social hierarchy at this time, may reduce the need for more violent activity such as sparring, and fighting for breeding rights, once the does begin to come into estrus later in the year.
There was no correlation between the activity times of any of the species of animals, and the predictions of the Solunar Table. Since most of the game activity tables available to sportsman use the gravitational pull of the moon, when it is either directly overhead or underfoot, as the primary factor that affects the hours of the day when game animals and fish will be most active, the predicted times of those tables will all parallel each other, with the result that none of them will accurately predict peak activity or feeding times of terrestrial animals.
As compared to the following week, sightings of deer and bears during midday hours were deemed to be high. This increase in sightings of both deer and bears was correlated with the week before the Perigee of the Moon. It is possible that the change in electro-magnetics associated with the sun, the earth and the moon, during the week prior to the Perigee of the Moon, may have caused a rise in seratonin levels of the animals at that time, resulting in higher than normal daytime sightings of some animals.
During the week of July 22-28, 2009;
The New Moon occurred on July 22
Single adult bears, and bears with cubs, were sighted most often between 6 AM and 8 AM, from 11AM to 1 PM, and from 3 PM to 10PM.
Large adult bears, without cubs, were sighted most often between 6 AM and 8 AM, and 1 PM and 8 PM. Total Sightings 28. The 2 largest bears were seen 5 and 7 times each, at the same location each time for each bear, but 2 at different locations.
Deer were sighted most often between 3 AM and 7 AM, 12 AM and 1 PM, and again between 5 PM and 8 PM. Total Sightings 175
Smaller racked bucks (under 120 inches, presumably 2 years old or younger) were sighted most often between 3 AM and 7 AM, an again between 5PM and midnight. Total Sightings 35. There were no "spike" bucks noted.
Larger racked bucks (over 120 inches, presumably two years old and older) were sighted most often between 3 AM and 6 AM, and 7 PM and 8 PM. Total Sightings 41. The 10 pt 170 class buck and the 8 pt 150 class buck were sighted 5 times each, all at the same location.
According to this data the 3 year old or older buck to doe ratio, of this non-hunted population of deer, was approximately 1:6, the overall buck to doe ratio was approximately 1:2 (1 buck for every 2 does).
Most deer left open feeding areas within an hour of sunrise (some were still feeding an hour later), in the evening they began moving an hour before sunset.
Deer were still seen feeding in "wooded areas" (probably transition zones between forage areas and daytime core areas) a half hour after sunrise.
Turkeys were sighted most often between 8 AM and 6 PM. Total Sightings 100
Squirrels were sighted most often between 6 AM and 8 PM. Total Sightings 179
Raccoons were sighted most often between 8 PM and 7 AM. Total Sightings 340
There was no correlation between the activity times of any of the species of animals, and the predictions of the Solunar Table. Since most of the game activity tables available to sportsman use the gravitational pull of the moon when it is either directly overhead or underfoot, as the primary factor that affects the hours of the day when game animals and fish will be most active, the predicted times of those tables will all parallel each other, with the result that none of them will accurately predict peak activity or feeding times of terrestrial animals.
Abnormally high numbers of raccoons (9+) were noted on July 20 at 21:00 and 22:00 hours in the meadow by a pond at one site. Abnormally high numbers of raccoons (10+) were noted on July 21 at 20:00 and 21:00 hours at the same site. Normal sighting numbers at those times during the prior week were between 3 and 5. In the following two weeks, no sightings of raccoons occurred at any hour. The increased number of sightings of raccoons was correlated with the week of the New Moon, and the week prior to the Perigee of the Moon.
It is possible that less moonlight during the New Moon affected whatever it was that the raccoons were foraging on. It is also possible that predator avoidance strategies by the raccoons contributed to their increased sightings when there was less light during the New Moon, in the open habitat of this site. Jon A. Yunger et al. found that Dune Hairy-footed Gerbils used this strategy while foraging. It is also possible that the electro-magnetics associated with the perigee of he moon affected the raccoons. And it is possible that the combined effects of the New moon and the Perigee of the Moon contributed to the high number of sightings of raccoons on those two dates. However, since it was noted that the raccoons were foraging, it is likely that whatever they were foraging on contributed, to some extent, to the high numbers of sightings during those two days. The meadow by the pond could have produced large numbers of insects, worms/nightcrawlers, crustaceans, frogs/toads or some form of plant matter that may have matured on those dates. Research data during the following months may provide more insight into these occurrences.
To view the latest graphs, and read the latest findings and conclusions, clickhere (Page 2).
To discuss T.R.'s latest findings, log on to the "T.R.'s Tips Talk Forum", click herehttp://s3.excoboard.com/exco/index.php?boardid=7357, and click on the "General Discussion" board, and open the "NEW Wildlife Activity Research Project" thread.
T.R. Michels, Trinity Mountain Outdoors
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