The full Moon October 2024 is intriguing, as it is a Super Full Moon. October’s “Hunter’s Moon” has many more associations than ghosts and goblins on one day of the month.
Full Moon October 2024: Thursday October 17
Peak Illumination: 7:26 a.m. Eastern Time
Why Is The October Full Moon The Hunter’s Moon
The October full Moon is most commonly called the Hunter’s Moon in the Northern Hemisphere, a name first ascribed to the tenth month’s full Moon in writing in the early 1700s. The name is easy to understand, as game animals, particularly deer, turkey, and pheasants, are traditionally hunted in mid- to late autumn when the animals are fattened on late summer bounty. And, cooler temperatures also make it easier to begin storing and preserving meat for the winter.
As leaves are falling in October, more Moonlight is visible, making it easier to see and hunt animals at night. Even during the day brush is not as thick and hunting and tracking are easier.
October not only marked the hunting season for game animals, but also historically initiated fox hunting expeditions in Anglo-Saxon regions. The fallen leaves and stubble fields provided favorable conditions for spotting and pursuing foxes effectively. Although fox hunting is largely prohibited as a sport nowadays, its historical significance remains closely linked to the full Moon in October.
More Hunting Related Names
While “Hunter’s Moon” is the most common name for the October full Moon, the Stockbridge-Munsee tribe of Wisconsin and the Tunica tribe of Louisiana have a slight variation, and call this the “Hunting Moon” associating with the action rather than the person. Still, the connection to hunting season is clear for this month’s full Moon.
In Pagan, Wiccan, and English Medieval traditions, the October full Moon was called the “Blood Moon” or “Sanguine Moon” to also show the association with hunting as a bloody season, but part of the natural progression of the seasons all the same.
The Ponca tribe of the southern Great Plains calls this Moon the “When They Store Food in Caches” Moon. This name is also connected to hunting, as food reserves become useful when temperatures start to drop. It can also refer to the agricultural harvest, and the October full Moon also goes by other names related to food and harvest.
Sometimes October’s Moon Is The Harvest Moon
When the October full Moon is early in the month and the closest full Moon to the fall equinox, the astronomical start of autumn, it is referred to as the “Harvest Moon,” as this is the peak of fall harvesting for cultivated crops and the natural bounty of nuts and late fruits. The Creek tribe of the southeast, especially in Alabama and Georgia, use the name “Big Chestnut Moon” to indicate the harvest season for these tasty nuts.
Various crops are harvested at different times in different regions, leading to more harvest-related Moon names. The Apache of the southern plains call this the “Moon When Corn Is Taken In” to denote that harvest season, while the Celts have the broader name of “Seed Moon” to show that different plants have gone to seed during October.
All harvested food needs to be properly stored before winter, and October is an ideal time to preserve and protect the ample harvests. For the Oneida tribe of Wisconsin, this makes October’s full Moon the “Someone Stores Food Moon.”
Moon Names for Seasonal Changes
The falling leaves, dropping temperatures, and beginning frosts common in October have all given rise to related full Moon names. The Ojibwe, Abenaki, and Arapaho tribes all call October’s full Moon the “Falling Leaves Moon,” while the Lakota of the northern plains call this the “Moon When The Wind Shakes Off Leaves” to describe regional weather patterns. The Shawnee of the Midwest, particularly Ohio and Pennsylvania, use the term “Wilted Moon” to indicate changes in all plant life.
In colder regions, the season’s first frost and ice can come around October’s full Moon. For the Algonquin of the northeast, this is the “White Frost on Grass Moon” and the Potawatomi of the Great Lakes call this full Moon the “Moon of the First Frost.” Similarly, the Cheyenne of the Great Plains refer to October’s Moon as the Moon when “Freeze Begins on Stream’s Edge.”
Changes in animal patterns also influence Moon names for different native tribes. The Cree of the northern plains and Canada call October’s Moon the “Moon the Birds Fly South” and the Haida of Alaska refer to it as the “Bears Hibernate” Moon.
Even human patterns are noted by this full Moon, such as the Wishram tribe of the Pacific Northwest calling this the “Travel in Canoes Moon” and the Iroquois, Algonquin, and other mountain tribes referring to it as the “Travel Moon” due to their ancestors leaving higher altitudes before winter and traveling to lower elevations to spend the cold season. The Dakota tribe calls this month’s Moon “The Moon When Quilling and Beading Is Done” to note those seasonal activities after harvesting is finished and there is time to do such tasks.
Southern Hemisphere Names
As the seasons are reversed in the Southern Hemisphere, it is reasonable that the October full Moon would have more spring-related names instead of autumn themes. Depending on the location and cultures, southern names for the October full Moon include “Egg Moon,” “Fish Moon,” “Pink Moon,” “Seed Moon,” and “Waking Moon.”
However you enjoy the tenth month, there is an October full Moon name to celebrate.
Join The Discussion
What is your favorite name for Octobers full Moon?
If you could rename the Hunter’s Moon, what would you call it?
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Melissa Mayntz is a writer who specializes in birds and birding, though her work spans a wide range—from folklore to healthy living. Her first book, Migration: Exploring the Remarkable Journeys of Birds was published in 2020. Mayntz also writes for National Wildlife Magazine and The Spruce. Find her at MelissaMayntz.com.