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.