Spotting a rare white deer in the woods may startle some to think they’ve just encountered a ghost from deer season past, but hunter Sam Hogan of Georgia knew he had just seen a (possibly) albino deer that was itching for him to punch his tag. The Tift County resident said he spotted this deer a few weeks ago, and came back to the location in hopes of spotting him again, this time with a clear shot.
Image via: WALB
As many hunters know, there is a distinct difference between albino and white deer. Albino animals of any kind carry a recessive trait that turns fur white, ears and nose pink, and eyes red. In deer, albino traits also turn antlers a pink shade early in the year. For white deer, the case is entirely different. Where albinos carry a recessive trait, white deer have a genetic abnormality that causes their pelt to grow in white while keeping their eyes and nose a normal color. The small distinction does not keep the confusion between the two at bay though, as most will interchange the use of “albino” and “white” when describing a deer that matches either of the above descriptions.
In some states, it is actually illegal to hunt white/albino deer. States like Wisconsin and Illinois have long had this law on the books, and many claim that it is out of pure superstition rather than for any biological/hunting cause. It has been noted that white deer not only come with the disadvantage of having such a stark coat while living in the wild, but also that many have poor eye sight or other functional issues, which contributes to the debate that these animals should not be protected.
Image via: WALB
Regardless of the distinction, the 140-pound deer is said to be rare in any state, and has ruffled the feathers of some who claim it may be linked to an old Native American prophecy, which states that an encounter with an all-white animal in the wild is a sign of major changes in the future.
Whether or not that may be true, we know that Sam has some major changes coming soon to his living room, as he plans to take his prize to the taxidermist to have it mounted. You can view his interview with local news station WALB here.
Have you ever encountered an albino animal in the wild? Share your thoughts in the comments below.