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The Hunter's Moon Lights Up the October Sky

October’s Full Moon is the Hunter’s Moon. It is also called Travel Moon, Dying Grass Moon, and sometimes Blood Moon or Sanguine Moon.

Deer in a grassy field at dawn.

Deer are hunted in the month of October.

October is hunting season as the game is fattened, and it is time to prepare for winter.

©iStockphoto.com/jdpetersdotcom

Harvest Moon Some Years

Every three years, the October Full Moon is also the Harvest Moon. This particular name is given to the Full Moon which is closest to the September equinox, which is the start of fall in astronomy.

However, the astronomical seasons do not match up with the lunar month. Therefore, the month the Harvest Moon occurs in, varies. Most years, it is in September. However, every three years, it is in the month of October.

Where Do Full Moon Names Come From?

In ancient times, it was common to track the changing seasons by following the lunar month rather than the solar year, which the 12 months in our modern calendar are based on.

For millennia, people across Europe, as well as Native American tribes, named the months after features they associated with the Northern Hemisphere seasons, and many of these names are very similar or identical.

Today, we use many of these ancient month names as Full Moon names. A common explanation is that Colonial Americans adopted many of the Native American names and incorporated them into the modern calendar.

However, it seems that it is a combination of Native American, Anglo-Saxon, and Germanic month names which gave birth to the names commonly used for the Full Moon today.

Some years have 13 Full Moons, which makes one of them a Blue Moon, as it doesn't quite fit in with the traditional Full Moon naming system. However, this is not the only definition of a Blue Moon.

Hunter's Moon or Blood Moon

Hunter's moon is mentioned in several sources as the Anglo-Saxon name for the Full Moon of October. This is the month when the game is fattened, and it is time to start preparing for the coming winter. Traditionally, this included hunting, slaughtering and preserving meats for use in the coming winter months.

Other names are Travel Moon and Dying Grass Moon. Some also called it Blood Moon or Sanguine Moon, which also refers to the hunting season. However, this name should not be confused with the term Blood Moon to describe a Total Lunar Eclipse.

Topics: Moon, October, Calendar, History, Seasons, Months

Hunter's Moon 2019

Oct 13, 2019 at 5:07 pm

Hunter's Moon and Harvest Moon 2020

Oct 1, 2020 at 5:05 pm

Times for Hunter's Moon can vary by time zone. Dates are based on the local time in Washington DC. Change location

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Full Moon Names

  1. Traditional Full Moon Names
  2. Wolf Moon – January
  3. Snow Moon – February
  4. Worm Moon – March
  5. Pink Moon – April
  6. Flower Moon – May
  7. Strawberry Moon – June
  8. Buck Moon – July
  9. Sturgeon Moon – August
  10. Harvest Moon – September or October
  11. Full Corn Moon (Harvest) – September
  12. Hunter's Moon (Harvest) – October
  13. Beaver Moon – November
  14. Cold Moon – December

Moon Index

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