Frequently Asked Questions

What is Experimental? This means we are testing the usefulness of a feature and may or may not continue to make it available or enhance its features. Periods a feature is considered experimental can vary from a couple of weeks to months or more.

Browser Support? For awhile we fully supported all browsers and many versions but found that the overhead just slowed stuff down and/or required a lot of extra stuff - some just go their own way. While we now do not, you should find there may be some minor aesthetic differences but functions just fine. We regularly test on newer versions of Chrome and Firefox browsers and for more functional related aspects we include newer versions of Opera and IE in the mix. We do not test Mobile or Tablet browsers on the Desktop site. If you see something that makes the site difficult to use please let us know - we'll fix it, browser related or not.

Having a Problem? Problems are generally related to Browser Cookies. Clicking Cookies or Having a Problem? on the Location page will give you instructions on how to properly set them. You should also see our Privacy Policy for more information on cookies and how we protect your privacy like few others.

What is Solunar? Solunar is a theory which states the relationship between the Sun and Moon and their influence on Fish & Wildlife's movements and feeding times. This site's Forecasts are a combination of the Solunar Theory and a decade of Field Study in the Arizona and Montana backcountry on Predator/Prey interactions.
Here's a short Article on the Solunar Theory

Does this really work? Yes, very well. It has been proven many times over by science and outfitters. I have found it particularlly useful with Predators. Instead of falling asleep at the stand I know there is going to be action. There are a few things to remember:

A) Weather is the single most important factor that will determine the success of a hunt or fishing trip. If the Weather is bad your chances are slim of being successful no matter what the rating, the exception being Waterfowl. In areas where Weather is more stable, you will find this system very useful. This is especially true if the Fish or Wildlife pursued lives in a den or cave. Check out Weather and The Best Time to Hunt & Fish from Extreme Bass Lures for more information.

B) If the area you are hunting or fishing has been hammered by everyone in town, even the next week can be pretty unsuccessful, depending on your quarry.

C) If there are not any fish or animals where you are going, you won't catch or see any.

D) A Rating of Very Good or Good are relative to the highest Excellent Rating in at least the last few decades. Good ratings can be excellent times to be out - especially during an Overhead Period

Remember to look for sign a week or more before you go, human and your quary. Find a backup spot nearby too, so if you show up and there is fresh human sign and/or only old critter sign, you have a another place which will prove successful. In my Arizona hunt areas, using this system and the weather, I returned home 8 to 9 times out of 10 successful.

I'm Skeptical? Why is your system better?
(Quick Note on the Topic: It is important to note that data in Tables found on various websites should be reverified periodically with US Naval Observatory available data as well as compared against reputable solunar data providers. Inconsistences abound due to the complex nature of the Astrophysics computations and overlooked associated anomalies checking that are required to produce useful results. Moon Overheads which do not occur for more than a day and times off more than a couple minutes are indications of a fundamental issue for a given position and should be suspect. Several programming languages themselves can be factors in poor computational results, mainly caused by limited exponential number precision within the programming language itself.

If you want consistent and useful results check, and check usprimetimes too)

I was. I could not understand why when I was looking for Predators there were times when the weather was good, sign was present, made a quite, hidden approach, and nothing showed itself. Then a week or two later at the same time, under what I thought were the same conditions, in the same place, I saw lots of Predators.

That was back in 1997. I soon started to feel the Moon had something to do with it, so I started looking for answers. I discovered the Solunar Theory and began testing and refining it. It got to the point where I would only hunt two weeks a month for half a day or less and had a ninety percent or greater success rate. I told very few people at the time.

I decided to start building this system in early 2003 to provide a real time free location specific solunar system for everyone who has an internet connection and a browser. It provides basic predications for different times of the day for your specific area plus detailed graphs of the solunar influences as well as weather. Ratings are based on daylight hours (dawn to dusk, eg. civil twilight).

Why is our system better? There are quite a few reasons: The system was researched and developed by sportsmen in the field for over a five year detailed study period and several more years of less formal study. Conditions ranged from -35F (no wind) to 115F. The fixed site research area was selected and located in the heart of Montana's Helena National Forest, and was operating for years before the final USPrimetimes system was designed. There are only a few places more remote where this could be done without a huge logistical mess. The Success Forecasts you see are not only based on Moon Overhead/Underfoot or the Solunar theory brought to light by John Knight, but the many other Lunar/Solar combinations, distances, and positions that cause Fish & Wildlife to become active.

I read last week that a very popular Solunar site commented that Transit periods (eg. like MoonOverhead) can be determined from the Moon Rise and Set times, if they are your mileage will vary. Transit periods are correctly determined by computing the Angle to your Latitude/Longitude (Zip Code) with the Moon using Astrophysics. This Angle must be 180 degrees from your location to be Overhead for example - 180 degrees is stated as the gold standard but there are times where other methods are needed to determine whether a transit period has occurred or not. The method to determine the Transit is a combination of Algorithm, Formulas, and Repetition. You'll notice in the Development Credits page that aside from studying many books, I had to ask a Physics Professor some questions while building this system. Just like setting up the perfect cast, details are important when it comes to Solunar Forecasting.

Other sites do not have the depth of understanding on these details alone. Not to mention the years of time spent sleeping on the ground in the field or living in the heart of the Helena National Forest, Montana, seven days a week. This system is better because it is built by a sportsman from the ground up and from the field. To help other sportsman gain a better understanding of the rhythms of nature. And of course, to see more Wildlife and Fish.

What do the Stars in the tables mean? The Stars represent the overall influencing factors that affect the current day. These include but are not limited to Planet distances, Phases, and the timing of events during the day. Very similar to the 30 Day Overall Success Forecast.

So how do I factor in Weather, when is the Best Time? Here is an old but excellent Article Weather and The Best Time to Hunt & Fish from Extreme Bass Lures.

Do I have to adjust the times? No, as long as you entered in the correct Zip Code or City and State you plan to be. The system does that for you, including adjusting to Standard or Daylight Savings time.
Note: When transitioning between Day Light Savings (DST) and Standard Time or visa versa our system does the switch over at 12:00am on the specific days (Sundays for the U.S. and Mexico) and not the 2am time. This is for any supported country and their respective DST start and end periods. Meaning the time on the day of the change is on the new time standard starting at 12am local time.

How come sometimes a Moonrise/set is rated higher than a Overhead Period? Because our research has indicated that Ungulates, Fish, and other species move or feed during these periods. You can also ask a seasoned professional fisherman who doesn't eat if he doesn't catch anything.

What is Highest Rated Area Forecasts? They are the Highest Rated Locations for the day. The Red points mean they are all pretty close in strengths and are within a couple percentage points of each other overall. Sometimes there are only a hand full, others most of the country. They can either be Poor, Excellent or in between rated forecasts and at completely different times or Rating Periods (ie. Morning, Afternoon, or Dusk).

How is the Default Zip Code determined? It is generally computed by the system based on the best location used from the prior day. Though sometimes we will manually override it for various reasons including being the best location again.

Many fabric dyes and brighteners have UV in them. Don't glow to Fish and Game in low light!
Most Fish and Game animals see UV Light very well, that's how they see at night. If your clothes don't say No UV Dyes or Brighteners (they cost more and/or not as pretty looking), or you did the laundry with soap that has brighteners in them, than you can bet you've 'got the glow'. You may want to put your clothes under a UV light in a dark room. They will glow light blue if UV is in them. The 'Glow' is not important on sunny days but it is extremely important at Dusk, Dawn, and Overcast days with certain species including Deer and Predators. Go to Astko UV Control to remove the glow cheaply with U-V-Killer Spray.

Note: I have used Astko UV Control many times even for lint and have no affiliation with them. It can make quiet clothes not so quiet. You will want to use them some (fishing!) before trying to get close to anything with good hearing.

Why do I keep getting same Zip Code when I enter another location? This happens if your Cookies are Turned Off or your Privacy Setting is too high on your Browser.

To Turn on Cookies in Explorer, click the Tools Menu, then click the Internet Options (at the bottom of the menu). Now click the Privacy Tab, and either click the Default button or lower the Privacy Setting to Medium High. Finally, Click the Apply button, then the Ok button, and you are ready to go.

What inputs disable the Weather Page? Changing the Start Date or using Back Country Mode will disable Weather Forecasts. Back Country users should always study a Fronts map from the Weather Underground or the National Weather Service before going out.

Which ratings are more important, Overall Success Forecast or the Morning, Afternoon, and Dusk Success Forecast? Short answer, Morning, Afternoon, and Dusk Success Forecast are more important. For even more detail click on the Barrel which represents the day to see the details in half hour increments for a better idea of why and when. The Overall Success Forecast reflects the overall influence the Sun and Moon has on that day. The Morning, Afternoon, and Dusk forecast periods are directly related to higher success and should be used as the definitive guide. There are many times the Daily rating is Average but one of the periods is Good.

Charts that show medium to low average scores are actually getting into the Fair to Poor range, unless weather conditions are very good such as a pre-front. If you have to go out with low Good or Average score, do it an hour and half before a Moon Overhead or Moon Underfoot, with the Moon Overhead being the preferred time or the Day Detail Chart's highest score period.

Also, as a general rule, most MoonTransit periods (Moon Overhead or Moon Underfoot) can be productive, especially when they are within an hour or so of a Sunrise or Sunset. Here is one example: It has been windy from 12am until 12 noon. The Forecast says the morning is the best time. There is a MoonTransit at 6pm and the Sunset is at 6:30pm. If you were smart and skipped the morning, went out in a decent area at 5pm, you could expect good productive action. So remember, if the weather is bad when the Forecast Success is the best, later or earlier periods, including Moonset and/or Moonrise periods (which can last an hour or more before and after they occur) can prove to be very productive as well. If and when we find relatively good realtime weather information that is affordable, it will be incorporated into the Success Forecasts. Our research has included professional weather gathering and monitoring for several years. Until then, use the weather resources we have provided, especially the 3 Hour Detail.

Your site could be nicer looking. Why isn't it? It was designed to be an informational tool with snappy response times and requiring little work from the user to get that information. From the Servers Operating System to what you see, a lot of effort is spent on keeping it accurate, responsive, and simple to use.

It says Moon is only 98% Illuminated but there is a Full Moon Today. Why the difference? When someone enters a Zip Code or City, State the system does all the calculations and stores them in a database so it only has to be done once per day, then anyone else who selects the same Zip or City, State just reads from the database. This is done for server load and performance reasons as the formulas to obtain this data are quite involved. Depending on the exact time the calculations were performed, Moon Illuminated will reflect it's state at that time of day.

What is Waxing/Waning and how is it used? When you see the Moon getting bigger in the night sky you are seeing more and more of its illuminated surface. This growing Moon is called a Waxing Moon. When the Moon is getting darker it is called a Waning Moon.

How is it used?
They are displayed for informational purposes to let you know the Moon is getting brighter or darker. Since USPrimetimes uses a Numerical Decision Engine, Waxing or Waning are not directly considered during the decision process; how much or little it is illuminated is. Illumination along with other Moon state variables are put through several formulas with the results having a strong weight on the day's overall forecast. This is because it has a fundamental effect on everything including the ocean tides.

What is Moon Overhead and Moon Underfoot? Or MoonMinor? Moon Overhead is when the Moon is over your position in the sky when its up (ie. the angle to yours is 180 degrees). Moon Underfoot, under your position when its down. Both these are also called Major Moon Transits or just a Moon Transit. The Major refers to major feeding periods for Fish and Game. Minor Overhead and Minor Underfoot are minor feeding periods that generally occur approximately 6 1/2 and 11 1/2 to 12 hours after a Moon Overhead. Minor periods are not as strong as nor last as long as Moon Overhead/Underfoot transits. Minor Overhead and Minor Underfoot are also referred to as Moon Minor Transits or MoonMinor in the Detail Chart.

Are there any cool pictures of animals or your research hut? Yes there are, some that are quite funny too. Though they are not posted since they may reveal research technologies, locations, or other information.

What is with all the different Weather Forecasts, What are they? The Weather Forecasts are gathered from, what I think, two of the most respected forecasters, NOAA and the National Weather Service(NWS). A link for the Accuweather is used for current conditions. (Note: Weather Underground was a much better site before changing hands a few years ago but is still more helpful than most) The reason is to give you the best available information and allow you to easily compare between them. Then make your own decision. As noted elsewhere, Weather is the single most important factor in determining how you will do afield.

The first forecast you will see is the 6 Day Forecast, and is generally pretty accurate.

The second forecast or Zone Forecasts are detailed text of the expected conditions for the week, important notices, and warnings. You are shown counties in your selected area to choose from, you should select the one which is closest to where you will be.

The third, 3 Hour Detail Weather Forecast is probably the most accurate Weather Forecast you will see. If it is available for the area you plan on going to, I would recommend it as your guide over all others, at least that is my experience. This is incorporated into the Day Detail Graph as a Overlay and is very useful. The Line Chart is useful for a quick idea, especially for wind, but I find the text very useful for details, such as changing Wind Direction. Click on the Blue Legend items (such as Temp) to display the Text over the Line in the Day Detail Graph.

Will you add other Timezones in the future? Because of other projects and user base limitations no new Timezones will be added at this time. Timezones for Alaska, New Zealand, Africa, and a few others may be added in the future.

What do you store in your Cookies? Cookies are used only for making sure you get the data (for the entered zip or City, State) you requested, and not someone elses, and does not contain any personal or other tracking information. See our Privacy policy for more information.

Locations Computed Today? The number reflects the total Solunar reports generated and stored for users. A Computation for an active zip code is done once each day and then stored for other requests for the same zip code. So if five users enter five different zip codes that have not been stored already the count would increase by five. If four of the five enter a zip code previously entered that day, it would increase by one.

It does not reflect:

A) For each day in a thirty day forecast hundreds of computations are done.

B) For each thirty days, more days are computed in the background for anomaly checking and correction.

C) Forty to fifty percent of the time more than one user uses the same zip code, for many twenty or more do.

Related Notes:
A simple example of how just a Underfoot time is computed for a single day: From our own library fundmental positional data is computed for the Moon, your location, and time of day - some really big formulas. Then several variables from these formulas are used to zero in on the Underfoot time while staying within reasonable distances of other variables. Finally, if an absolute azimuth occurs we have an Underfoot. If an absolute azimuth does not occur comparisons are made do see if other variables are within ranges of even more variables. This determines if an Underfoot really occured or not and at what time.
This was one of the processes that was re-coded for AstroSauce 3.x to produce consistent results for all locations. Great Falls, MT March 2016 is one of many that can cause Solunar Forecasts to show multiple Overhead/Underfoot times in a row not occurring.

When transitioning between Day Light Savings (DST) and Standard Time or visa versa our system does the switch over at 12:00am on the specific days (Sundays for the U.S. and Mexico) and not the 2am time. This is for any supported country and their respective DST start and end periods.

Non-U.S. Zip Codes are made up by us to seamlessly integrate into the system. For instance, Mexico related Zip Codes are six digits. Future International additions will follow this same format allowing for many to be plug and play. So use the Live Search, Google Maps, or Select from List to find your location easily.

What is Running mean at bottom of What's New Page? These are Versions of the Backend Software that were Developed for the site. The first one 3.28-AstroSauce is the Computation and Decision Engine, it generates all the prediction data for the site, Graphs inclusive. The second one currently called 3.5c-BearCreek is a Controller which does internal direction and input verification. The third Powered-By: USPrimetimes/2.0.1 does some lower level Network functions and other stuff for background processes. While uspte is the HTTP Server Software that is currently sending you all the stuff.

If you have a problem providing this information can be helpful when contacting us.

Not including the Data or Images USPrimetimes total code base is around 60 Megabtyes. Most of which is for stuff that happens in the background -- it pretty much runs itself.

Field Results and Pattern Matching? The Pattern Matching Process is a somewhat specific use case for our purpose. Below is an overview of how it is done:

1) Each Day Detail Chart (Survey Samples and the Zip Code you are Viewing) are split into Morning, Afternoon, and Dusk periods. Then the ratings numbers for the graphs are transformed into percentages of the numbers next to each other. This creates the pattern to be matched.

These Patterns mostly provide helpful feedback but do have some draw backs such as finding matches that may be partially inverted because the values are within a percentage range, plus or minus. Finding exact matches only would be faster and more helpful but would require many more Survey Samples. So try to fill them out, more Morning and Afternoon time periods would be helpful. As more Field Results are filled out the windows for matches will be narrowed resulting in more helpful observations throughout the day.

2) The Survey Sample is compared against the Zip Code you are using to see if their size is reasonably comparable. Meaning: If a Morning Sample taken in the middle of Winter in Montana has 2 Hours of plots and your Zip Code has 7 Hours in middle of Summer in Florida or vice versa. A match would probably not be useful more often than not. An example: Montana Sample was at First Light and the Florida match was mid-morning.

3) Finally, the Survey Sample Reported Time Period* and your Zip Code are compared using the shift method.

* Survey Sample Reported Time Period: Time of Event indicated on Survey. It is converted to Morning, Afternoon, or Dusk then compared against the same period for your Zip Code.

Pattern Matching Usage

The Around X:XXam on 85132's Graph is a very close alignment or perspective on your Graph to the same time the observation was made.

85132's Dusk Forecast is +22% Higher compared to Observations near Powderhorn, CO
The above means your Ratings are 22 percent better than the conditions commented on. A -22% would mean your conditions are worse than those commented on. An exact match is explicitly stated as one. Clicking on the City, State of the Observations (ie. Powderhorn, CO) will show you the Graph that was matched against yours. Remember these results are supposed to give you someone elses first hand experiences under similar circumstances. If they don't send us some Feedback to let us know why you think it is - Clicking on the Envelop ✉ in the Matched Result will create a useful subject name for your feedback.

Shown above the Bar when a Match is found:

  • M = Morning
  • A = Afternoon
  • D = Dusk
  • 2 = Two Period Matches
  • 3 = All Periods Matched

You can Disable this feature by clicking on the Hide Field Results Link below the 30 Day Graph.

Remember that just because the Research Team or anyone else reported something at a specific time does not mean the Fish or Wildlife were not feeding or moving around sooner or later somewhere else nearby.

1) When enough user Field Reports are completed match windows will be narrowed.
2) Entered Survey Reports are stored, reviewed, and made visible monthly. Sooner if many useful results are shared.

Back to 30 Day Solunar Graph  • Back to Solunar Field Results

Something missing or have a question not answered here? Please contact me so we can add it.