Would you pass up a piebald deer?
Every hunting season, millions of hunters enter the woods, but few will encounter deer exhibiting some stage of albinism, melanism or piebaldism. These genetic mutations make these animals stand out in the woods due to an increased amount or a total lack of pigment. As a result, they are more vulnerable to predators and hunters.
These types of colorations are uncommon in most deer populations and many hunters are presented with an interesting conundrum when a white deer walks past their stand. That's what happens in this video. YouTuber Whitetail obsession outdoors is hunting the pre rut outside of Baltimore, Maryland when an incredible-looking piebald buck walks to within bow range.
Watch the video to see how he responds to this rare opportunity and see if you agree with his decision that had many of his deer hunting social media followers expressing disbelief at this situation.
He ultimately decided to pass up this rare piebald because this was still a young buck with small antlers. There is some disagreement among hunters as how to handle whitetail deer management when the animal has mostly white or black hair. Scientifically, this is a recessive trait that causes this lack of pigmentation in the hair of these animals. It's considered an abnormality and many deer suffer physical disabilities like short legs, overbites and more. Another common feature of piebalds is a distinctive bowing of the nose, which this buck seemed to have if you looked closely.
In most instances, piebald deer with brown eyes and other normally-colored patches mixed with the white hair are much more common than albino deer, which have pink eyes. However, because of these unfavorable recessive genes, many hunters think these deer should be harvested as soon as they are seen, to keep it from spreading through the herd.
Some hunters and many Native Americans also believe it is bad luck to kill the white deer wherever they occur in nature. I once had pics of a buck like this on trail camera before the season, but another hunter got to him before I did that deer season. Personally, I would have harvested this critter. Who knows when you'll get another chance at an animal like that? In the end, the choice to harvest a white deer or not ultimately lays with each individual hunter and what is legal in his or her state.