I'll tell you what, Im not a believer that the rut is "triggered" by moon phases, but the moon charts are pretty darn accurate when it comes to predicting movement. I have spent the last two years closely following them and checking them after hunts. I wont say that they are dead on with the exact time they predict, but the days and approximate times are definitely accurate.
That being said, I think the rut is triggered by daylight. The reason I believe this is because of the importance of when the fawns are born. The moon phases can vary too greatly in time, compared to when the daylight decreases. This helps keep the time of year that fawns are born a constant. Its called photoperiodism, and it definitely has something to do with the timing of the rut. Im not gonna argue about moon phases though, I agree with you guys, and I think that it has something to do with rut activity as well. Though I think it has more to do with when we see more activity, and not when the does are actually triggered into estrous.
My observations are that deer activity always seems greater on days following a new moon. I think the decreased light at night effects their nightime movements, triggering them to move more during the day. I also think that a full moon triggers mid-day movement more.
I find all of this stuff very intriguing, and I can never read enough about it. Im always trying to watch deer and compare it to weather, moon, and daylight statistics.
Mystic, I agree with most of what you've said about whitetail breeding. In fact I find most of your observations to be very interesting, along with El'Jefe. I just didnt agree with how you were defining "the rut". I wasnt trying to discredit you or prove you wrong. I just love discussing this stuff......Its so cool that the moon and sun have so much to do with the life, movement and patterns of all animals (including us, whether we believe it or not)