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Volume 15, Issue 43 ~ October 25 - October 31, 2007

By the Light of the Moon

These bright fall nights helped hunters survive cold winter

The full Hunter’s Moon shines Thursday, cresting the east-northeast horizon at 5:45pm as the sun dips beneath the south-southwest horizon a few minutes later.

For Algonquian tribes that once inhabited much of the Eastern United States, the bright nights surrounding the Hunter’s Moon helped fill food stores for winter. The trees and brush were bare, providing few hiding places for game, which included deer, moose and and bear, but also fox, wolf, bobcat and cougar for their warm furs.

In some parts, bands of men followed their quarry for days, even weeks on end, returning to camp only when they could carry no more game. Other tribes set out en masse. While the men hunted, the women and children checked traps, cleaned carcasses and tanned hides.

Some tribes set fire to open fields earlier in the season, providing fresh, new grass. Lured by the tender shoots, hungry deer looking to fatten up themselves provide easy targets to the hunters.

Other tribes used a hedge drive, herding deer into a coral of sorts. As the deer were driven deeper into the narrowing trap, hunters waited with spears and bows and arrows.

Today, such techniques, even hunting after dark, are illegal, although the concept of the hedge drive is used in modern fishermen’s pound-nets.

With the sun setting more than a minute earlier each night, Jupiter appears to hover in place above the western horizon at dusk. Not so, however, as the bright planet disappears from view with a few weeks. Mars rises now around 10:30, appearing earlier in the night while also growing larger. Brilliant Venus gains ground in the east before dawn, more than a minute later each day. Saturn shines higher but dimmer.


Illustration: © Copyright 1925 M.C. Escher/Cordon Art-Baarn-Holland; Graphics: © Copyright 2007 Pacific Publishers. Reprinted by permission from the Tidelog graphic almanac. Bound copies of the annual Tidelog for Chesapeake Bay are $14.95 ppd. from Pacific Publishers, Box 480, Bolinas, CA 94924. Phone 415-868-2909. Weather affects tides. This information is believed to be reliable but no guarantee of accuracy is made by Bay Weekly or Pacific Publishers. The actual layout of Tidelog differs from that used in Bay Weekly. Tidelog graphics are repositioned to reflect Bay Weekly’s distribution cycle.Tides are based on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and are positioned to coincide with high and low tides of Tidelog.

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