The first known photos of a hunter’s moon were taken by a man named Robert McCooey, of Santa Monica, Calif., and published in 1874. He was walking to Yosemite and found an elk guarding its young in a patch of fog, he said. He told a newspaper of his find and the photographers who visited the scene.
His photo is the highest quality photo ever taken of this dark eclipse.
There was also a picture taken from Oregon, but Mr. McCooey’s is better known. It showed a miner standing in front of a grid. He described the photo and the fog as a hunter’s moon. This is when they look for out-of-area animals to kill to satisfy their national and regional hunting licenses.
Here’s the hunter’s moon’s story from the earliest sources:
A decent hunter’s moon has never been described in literature but is regarded by foresters, hunters and foresters for their large and distinctive crescent-like moon. A good hunter’s moon is when the weather is cold or foggy. This is regarded as a valuable hunting time. Mr. McCooey talked of a fine hunter’s moon in California, but the definition of a hunter’s moon changed over the years. Mr. Thomas James appears to have a definition that does not modify Mr. McCooey’s; Mr. James’ definition is, “a hunter’s moon; a rare day when a hunter, especially a U.S. man, will be fortunate enough to hunt within three miles of his country.” There were also reports that three deer had been killed and two eagles and a cannon were flushed. The night before the hunters call “Boone on Hunter’s Moon,” on June 4, 1844.
And some of the stories related in the last 50 years:
1967: Photographer Jim Stegall, of Clovis, Calif., visited a lighthouse keeper named Thomas Dodd who reported seeing an eclipse about seven hours earlier at a transient camp. “Dodd, it is said, is an excellent hunter and had hunted 80 in California during the last two years,” Mr. Stegall reported in The Beaumont Enterprise of Oct. 4, 1967.
1966: A hunter’s moon took place on Oct. 3, 1966, between Long Beach and Long Beach State.
Nov. 11, 1969: The hunters waited until the shooting started at midnight and two deer were taken. Their report was published in The Beaumont Enterprise.
Sept. 24, 1971: More deer were killed during the darkness of “Hunter’s Moon.” It was in the Lost Coast of California.
This hunter’s moon was again known as the “Hunters’ Moon” in January.