Many of the nicknames for each month’s full moons are obvious; others require a bit of deciphering to understand their origins and meanings. October’s hunter’s moon is one of the more easily understood, and it’s likely because it comes from the time of year when hunting traditionally took place in advance of the long winter ahead.
The earliest use of the term “hunter’s moon,” dates to 1710 in the Oxford English Dictionary, and doesn’t have a specific origin; it likely dates back to Eastern U.S. Native American groups as many of the other full moon nicknames do.
Other nicknames for the hunter’s moon — or the first full moon after the harvest moon — include drying rice moon, a Dakota name describing the process of preparing rice for winter; the falling leaves moon, from the Anishinaabe people, which highlights the transition between summer and fall; the freezing moon (Ojibwe people) or ice moon (Haida people), both of which refer to the increasingly cold temperatures as winter approaches; and the migrating moon name, the Cree people use to refer to the time when birds begin to fly south to warmer climates.