Albino Deer Hit by Motorist In Arkansas

12 01 2008

This poor guy was the victim of a automobile collision (though the car owner may feel a bit of a victim also) on highway 365 near Little Rock, Arkansas.

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To Shoot or Not to Shoot Albino Deer – Minnesota vs. Wisconsin

11 01 2008

From Whitetail 365: What is little known about Buffalo Co. Wis. is that albino deer are fairly common there. In fact it’s entirely possible—after talking to the right people—to drive around some summer evening and see a pretty good wad of white deer feeding in soybean and alfalfa fields. While there’s no such thing as an ugly deer, albinos are a pretty darn special sight. The people of Wisconsin think they’re so special that you can get into big trouble for shooting one.

Of course, right across the Mississippi River from there is my home state of Minnesota. Kill a white deer here and you’ll get your picture in the paper, and not in the “district court report” section.  Protecting albinos is an interesting thing. Most of us know by now that these are genetically inferior deer that in most cases are poorly equipped to survive in the wild. Indeed, some of my Wisconsin friends have found albino bucks dying in the middle of summer from any of a host of diseases they’re susceptible to. Naturally, there are exceptions. About five years ago, I was hunting Buffalo and rattled in a 3-1/2 year old albino buck with an 8-point rack. That deer is still alive. He is now a monstrous 10-point with candelabra antlers that appear anything but genetically inferior.  People drive for miles to check him out, lining up along his favorite fields with spotting scopes sprouting from their truck windows. 

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Gray area found with white buck

2 01 2008

From The Columbus Dispatch 

Maurice A. King III of Mansfield poses with the albino buck he killed in Richland County.A man in Boulder Junction, Wis., once took a photograph of three albino deer standing together. The odds of doing so, according to one unidentified math whiz, are an astronomical 1 in 79 billion.

How such numerical guesswork — or claptrap — is contrived must remain a mystery. Assuming the three whitetails actually were pigment-challenged albinos and not unusually white specimens, the mathematical probabilities lean on the prevalence, or the nonprevalence, of albinism in the deer population.

On that matter exists no easily verifiable scientific agreement, although the figure 1 in 30,000 is bandied about at various Google-aided landings in cyberspace as if it were the true and final word.

Better and more reliably sampled, however, are the brown-and-white piebalds that Ohio hunters take in tiny numbers almost every deer season.

“Bottom line, probably less than 1 percent of wild deer are piebalds,” wrote Ohio Division of Wildlife biologist Mike Tonkovich in response to an e-mail inquiry. “What does this have to do with incidence of true albinos in the population? Everything. We know that true albinistic deer are even more rare than piebalds in wild populations!”

Precisely how rare, though, Tonkovich was unable to say.

Casey Watterson, who operates Lone Leaf Custom Taxidermy near Mount Gilead in Morrow County, had not beheld an albino whitetail until recently.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” he said. “A hunter sees one, and it’s like hitting the lottery.”

On Oct. 14, Maurice A. King III of Mansfield held what must have felt like the lone winning ticket. That Sunday morning, King, a Bellville police officer, not only saw an albino buck, he killed it.

The ghost-white deer isn’t what King, 31, was after as he sat in his tree stand in a Richland County woods between Mansfield and Bellville. The buck that King had been chasing for two seasons carried 14 antler points but was otherwise normal.

“When the albino buck appeared, I immediately drew my bow to the ready position,” King said, “not to take aim at him, but hoping the big one also was around.”

If the big one was around, King couldn’t see it.

What kept drawing his utmost attention, however, was the wondrously pallid buck.

“The very first thing I noticed was his stunning pink eyes,” King said. “They looked like the eyes of someone who had real bad allergies. Then I looked at his pure-white body. His coat was perfect, and not a mark on it.”

King resisted putting his mark on that perfect, pure-white coat.

The deer appeared, ran off, then tantalizingly reappeared. The antlers at 5 or 6 points weren’t built to impress, and the body weight of perhaps 150 or 160 pounds wouldn’t feed a pack of coyotes for long. Still, the whiteness of the deer registered the way a floating apparition might. And at 20 yards distant, the pink-eyed specter was close. It kept getting closer.

“He slowly walked within 10 feet of my tree. He stopped and turned, positioning his body for yet another opportunity for a perfect shot,” King said. “After all this, I finally realized this must be ‘a sign’ for me to take him, so I did.”

The arrowed deer ran down a hill and crashed at the bottom, the hunter said, and didn’t get up.

King wondered again and for a while after whether he should have taken the white deer. He acknowledges that some people might wish he hadn’t. Other hunters, though, have shown great interest in King’s albino buck.

The pats on the back from hunters who’ve heard the whitetail story have assuaged some of the guilt, but public kicks in the derriere from animal lovers have had a different effect. Ambivalence about killing the once-in-a-lifetime deer perhaps is being demonstrated by King’s plans to “share” the deer with others.

Watterson last week began crafting a full-body mount of the albino deer, an expensive project for which compensation is yet to be determined. The mount likely will be finished by the end of January, the taxidermist said. The plan is to display the animal during the Deer & Turkey Expo in March.

“It should be a real draw,” Watterson said. “Hunters will want to see an albino deer.”

After that, it would be nice if the mount could be displayed in a local store for kids and others to see, King said.

The hope for next deer season, he said, is to kill the 14-pointer he passed up this time around. Odds are, though, the plan will be subject to change.





Authors dig into state’s history of albino deer

28 12 2007

 BOULDER JUNCTION WIS.— I still remember the first albino deer I ever saw. Several decades ago, while driving backroads near St. Germain in Vilas County, I braked abruptly upon spotting a white shape in the midst of a logging trail.

Verifying it was a deer, I grabbed my nearby camera, stepped out of the car and commenced taking photos. With each snap of the lens, I moved closer, expecting the animal would bolt at any moment.

With each advance — and the deer showing no signs of concern — I offered self-congratulations on my stalking prowess.

Ultimately, as I continued to edge stealthily forward, the deer came and thrust its nose in my lens, as if to say, “What took you so long to get here?”

That equanimity, as I recently learned through a newly published book “White Deer — Ghosts of the Forest” is part of northern Wisconsin’s unique, long-term relationship with albino deer.

“Because of their protected status in some states and the abundance of backyard feeders, many (white deer) exhibited a tolerance of humans not evident in their hunted brethren,” writes Mercer resident Jeff Richter, who provides the book’s interesting and award-winning photographs. He shares writing credits with John Bates of Mercer, a well-known outdoors writer and naturalist.

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