By Glynn Harris
If you gazed skyward this past Sunday night, you were treated to a rare phenomenon. Not only did you get to see a Super Blood Wolf moon, the bright orb also experienced a total lunar eclipse.
It was “super” because of its closeness to Earth in its elliptical orbit. It’s a “blood” moon when in eclipse the moon appears reddish in color.
Wolf moon? It’s the first full moon of the year and Native Americans and colonial Europeans gave January’s full moon that name because it triggered the howling of wolves.
For most of us, this was an event we simply enjoyed and helped remove the bad taste in our mouths over what referees did to the Saints a few hours earlier.
For W. Monroe’s Shannon Harper, his interest was not in super, blood or wolf; he had another reason to sit on his deer stand until near dark on the days prior to Sunday’s full moon.
Likely, Shannon Harper was not thinking “wolves” when he marked his calendar to be on his deer stand two days prior to the January full moon. He was thinking big bucks, one impressive Lincoln Parish beast in particular.
“I have been deer hunting a long time and I started noticing that deer movement would increase as the moon began to rise. Those few evenings just before a full moon, I always saw a lot more activity and would have better success with deer I would never have had otherwise,” said Harper.
“Leading up to the night of the full moon, say five afternoons before, you’ll notice the first day the moon rises at 2:00, next day 3:00, next day 4:00 and so on. The closer the moon comes up right before dark, the better chance a mature buck will come out to feed during legal shooting hours,” he continued.
Trail cam photos had been showing this buck coming out right after dark but Harper knew that as the full moon approached, his visit to the food plot would be earlier each evening. This is why he had those few days circled on his calendar, feeling this would give him the best chance to see the big buck before dark.
The object of Harper’s interest was a particular buck that had exploded from a big 9 point last year to a main-frame 10 point with kickers and two drop tines this year.
“My trail cameras had shown that he has been in the company of three smaller bucks that usually show up at the feeder on the food plot first followed by the big one.
With an approaching rain event and cold front with a full moon Monday, I had a hunch that Friday might be the day he shows up before dark,” Harper noted.
Climbing into his box stand Friday afternoon, he settled in and about 5:30, the trio of small bucks made their way from the clear cut onto the food plot.
At 5:43, Harper looked across the clear cut and just as he had hoped, the buck he had been after stepped out.
Having to watch the big deer walk from his bedding area in a clear cut to the feeder was nerve-wracking for Harper but when the buck turned broadside at 120 yards, Harper dropped him in his tracks with his .25 Whelan primitive firearm.
“I was down to the last three afternoons I could hunt with primitive firearms season ending Sunday and I felt really fortunate to have a chance at the buck before season ended,” he said.
The buck was a main-frame 10 point with two drop tines and two small kickers.
Inside spread was 18 inches and was estimated to be 4 ½ years old. Harper entered his buck in the Simmons Sporting Goods big buck contest where it was scored as a 14 point with antler measurement of 161 1/8 inches.
Dean Martin once sang a popular song….”When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore (love).”
For Shannon Harper, standing over his prize as the moon begin rising late Friday, he knew his calculations were dead on and he likely could tell you all you want to know about “amore”.