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Should Hunters Shoot Albino Deer?

September 12, 2011
Should Hunters Shoot Albino Deer? - 29

Without question, a snowy white deer sticks out in the wild like a sore thumb. When you think about it, the fact that some albino whitetails are able to make it to adulthood is quite an amazing feat. Nature on its own will usually take such rare specimens out of the herd long before they reach maturity.

This is exactly why hunters don’t typically see very many solid white deer, turkeys or squirrels under normal conditions. A high mortality rate among albino animal species is simply nature’s way of maintaining a strong and healthy balance. However, some states have issued strict restrictions that prevent hunters from harvesting albino deer, which is always a source of debate between hunters, game biologists, lawmakers and other wildlife enthusiasts.
   
On one side of the argument, some hunters and wildlife biologists feel that such restrictions are not very logical or practical. In fact, they say protecting albino whitetails actually weakens the overall health of the deer herd. These harvest restrictions fight nature’s balance by allowing inferior genes and traits to be passed on to future generations. For the most part, opponents basically believe that human emotions, personal taste and individual preferences have no place in nature or wildlife management.
   
Consequently, many supporters of these state-mandated harvest restrictions believe that special and unique deer should be protected. The belief that white deer should be left alone by hunters is by no means a new concept. In fact, many Native American cultures have always felt that albino animals are sacred and hold special powers. Many today still feel that solid white deer and other albino animals serve as an omen and bad luck will fall upon those who harm these unique creatures. Others simply like looking at the sheer beauty of albino deer. These groups often pressure politicians and state wildlife agencies to enact laws and regulations.
   
As a result, there are currently several states that strictly enforce these laws and hunters are not permitted to tag albino deer. Within some of these protected areas, there are even small pockets that hold solid numbers of white deer. At the same time, many other states and wildlife agencies encourage hunters to legally harvest albino deer in order to strengthen the health of the herd. What are your thoughts on the subject?

I am interested to see what BBZ fans think about this controversial issue so be sure to post a comment below.  

More Albino Animal Photos
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World Record Albino Catfish Pulled from the River Ebro in Spain
Albino Moose
Albino Trophies

Comments (29)

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from Mike Treschitta wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

i go to umaine and there are two albino deer almost always on campus with a group of normal white tails. one of them is halfbrown half white and the other is full white. they are pretty interesting to look at

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Treschitta wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

i go to umaine and there are two albino deer that are almost always on campus. one of them is pure white and the other is halfbrown half white. they are pretty interesting to look at

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from pznk22 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

i had the rare and wonderful experience of seeing an albino nubbin buck on several occasions during the 2001 archery season in Michigan. He would show up like a spotlight in the woods due to his brilliant white color. In Michigan, they are protected and I feel they should remain that way. Unfortunately, this little buck was shot during the gun season and left to rot. They are rare and truly unique to see...let em live.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from toroscope wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

To answer the only part of your question I can address...I live in Kentucky. So far have never seen any specific restrictions on harvested deer in the regulations other than in a few special areas, an antlered buck has to have a minimum 15 inch spread. If I am wrong or missed something I'm sure someone will respond but Kentucky is one of the states that I feel has an excellent fish and wildlife management program which works and works well. So far so good....no CWD here either.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ttfaulkner@msn.com wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

Toroscope,

An albino pheasant would have made a beautiful mount! My son smoked a white and gray turkey this past spring. We decided to mount this bird in a flying pose, which should look great!

During my young teenage years, I dropped the hammer on a piebald buck that was very unique. Unfortunately, it was only a small basket-racked buck and I decided not to mount it. If this white and brown buck would have been carrying more bone on top, I would have probably mounted the entire deer. I am glad you liked the article and thanks for your sharing your posts.

Travis Faulkner
Outdoor Life
ttfaulkner@msn.com

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from toroscope wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

Travis, I have never seen or harvested a white deer. I did get a shot at an albino pheasant when was a teen (I missed !!!) and it got away. A white rooster pheasant is a pretty sight in flight. The tail feathers were normal color. Hopefully some others will respond soon to your mid-discussion post, but think need to get this article/thread posted again in the online magazine email. Just got the "next edition" and unlike most, they didn't repeat it for another round.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Catpool9 wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

I would not shoot an albino deer just for the sake of killing, I think they are special!

David H.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bryan wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

I would have to agree with most of the crew on here. They are just deer. Rare and beautiful and if I ever get the chance, if it has antlers I will probably shoot it. Then I will get a full body mount and preserve it that way. I just can't see myself passing something like that.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from meesha1903 wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

I have a friend that shot an albino buck quite a few years ago. It is by no means a trophy but it tasted as good as any other deer that I've eaten. He continues to take a deer almost every year so I can't buy the bad luck idea. Personally, I would take an albino if it was a mature animal, just like any other. I don't see the point of protecting a recessive gene by law ? its not like protecting an endangered species. What's next ? No deer hunting because they are cute ?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from sego60 wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

I dont think white deer should be protected. I live in Iowa where they are protected and about 10 years ago we had a growing population of white deer. The deer herd in our area is very large and we had a population of around 20 white deer all because somehow somebody released a white doe that was a pet. She kept reproducing with the native deer and incresed the number of white deer over her lifetime. One year in fact she produced a buck fawn that grew to be probably about a 160" to 170" buck at 5 years old. We would have loved to harvest this buck but do to them being protected in Iowa we were not able to. Just recently have we discovered that the white deer population in our area in probably zero we have not seen a white deer all year. we beleive they disappeared with a number of other large bucks due to high poaching rates we have in our county.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from chadder wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

would be a really cool trophy!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from chadder wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

i think that it would depend on circumstances but normally i would just observe though i think they need not be protected. if we are predators - other predators don't mind if they're white!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ttfaulkner@msn.com wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

It's been great reading all of the comments posted by members of the BBZ Brotherhood! However, I have a few more questions for all of you: "Are there any hunters on the BBZ who have actually tagged an albino deer?" It would also be great to hear any related stories on the subject. Does anyone know of a hunter who has ever harvested an albino whitetail? Is it currently leagal in your state to tag albino deer?

Travis Faulkner
Outdoor Life
ttfaulkner@msn.com

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from blue ridge wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

Ohio wants white deer killed to keep the species from being corrupted, WV it is not allowed to shoot them. Know your states laws.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from toroscope wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

Straight up....if legal, shooting an albino deer would be beneficial to the herd.

Making the shot would and should of course be the choice of the hunter based on what his/her goal (and legal tags) is/are for the hunt.

If have doe tag and see albino, would probably be good thing because if she breeds and passes those genes on, her offspring (those the gene are passed on to) will be less likely to survive. Ultimately you would be strengthening the gene pool for that area although the immediate results would be statistically minimal.

If your goal is a B&C level Antlered deer and a nice 10 point (but not trophy quality) albino buck passes by, let it go (unless mounting a one of a kind trophy suddenly becomes more important than the original goal lol).

I don't think government should be regulating ANYTHING, including hunting, based on "skin color". We as a country have surpassed that....all are equal ! REALLY, in some areas or states, the only animals allowed to be legally killed are those of "color"?

Bahhhh...When I'm in the woods, I will abide by the regulations of the state I'm hunting in and if offered the opportunity to shoot an albino deer, will choose based on my goal for the hunt, my tag, and my feelings at the spur of the moment. Who knows, might just decide to pull out the camera and get some nice photos and/or video of the moment and finish up the serious hunting later !!!

- Toroscope (Dan - Kentucky)

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from gengberg wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

White deer and buffalo have always been sacred to Native Americans. Why shoot a rare deer that has lived so long for some reason? I'm sick of trophy hunters... We have a herd of albino deer in northern Wisconsin. Wisconsin Public television did a show on them and a book was written about these "ghosts of the night.' I bet you'd keep a 50' muskie too! walleyeking

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from www.dropjhook.com wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

I'm pretty sure natives just warned eachother about what might be the outcome if they shoot one. They never had fines, jails , court systems ect. but once these control freaks get into office they write tradtion into law for more control and less hunting. It should be if a man is willing to take a chance at bad luck for a deer then let that man take that chance. Don't tread on me & I will not tread on you :)

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from jarmstrong77 wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

@papajocu

"OK, Before I anger the hunters let me restate that "most predators are gone because of human encroachment i.e. loss of habitat, hunting, and other reasons". Not JUST because of hunting....The only reason they are showing up more these days than before is because most natural predators have been illuminated (eliminated?) by hunters."

Contradictory statements, but on what do you base the overall claim?

As with most gov regulation these days, it's something that should be left up to the individual to decide, but big brother thinks he knows best. An albino is biologically the same as a brown deer, just a different color due to a slight hiccup in the genetics. I personally wouldn't shoot one unless it was late in the season and I hadn't filled my freezer with enough meat to make it till next year. But that doesn't mean I should push that opinion on others, eh?

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from papajocu wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

OK, Before I anger the hunters let me restate that "most predators are gone because of human encroachment i.e. loss of habitat, hunting, and other reasons". Not JUST because of hunting.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from papajocu wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

If it was a buck with a nice rack - THAT would be a real trophy on anybody's mantle. I don't see how it could "weaken" the population. As a Science teacher myself who teaches genetics: albino genes are so recessive that they rarely show up. When they do, it is even more rare for the animal to survive to adulthood because of its inability to hide from predators. The only reason they are showing up more these days than before is because most natural predators have been illuminated by hunters.

Today hunters are instrumental in properly maintaining animal populations. That puts the hunter in as a "predator". So, to make a long story short, hunting is hunting - Albino or no albino.

My biggest question is----- does it taste the same?

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from griz312000 wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

Albino deer are genetically inferior and as such should be taken out of the herd. As long as they would be legal except for their color, it should be up to the hunter to decide whether or not to harvest the animal. What's next? Outlaw the harvest of color-phase black bears? Quality game management practices should not be dictated by a few peoples' Disney-esque views.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from tovlogos wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

Seems to be a no-brainer -- it's going to die eventually.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jcarlin wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

I've heard a few guy who knew a guy, who heard of a guy who went blind after shooting an albino. Always misfortune like scratching eye on branch on way out of woods.
I'm not big on the trophy aspect, and I've taken at least one deer and a few fish that were mount worthy for my part of the world, but an albino is always an interesting mount.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from 6phunter wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

IF ole"" whitey"" has a nice rack,legal and within range he's in trouble.To give any mystical qualities to an albino is up to you and your belief/

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ishi wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

Indian lore says albino animals were a sign of prosperity and it was bad luck to shoot one.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Band-aid MT wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

I might shoot one. I don't really knoiw, but I don't agree that they should be protected. People should be able to harvest them.

I wonder what would happen to those "pockets" of Bino's if there was an natural epidemic or tough year?

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Smitty18 wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

I would not shoot an albino deer but I would shoot an albino bear, thunder chicken, squirrel, and whistlepig.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from pineywoods wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

I would be willing to go against Native American superstition and kill an albino. An albino is an aberration and a curiosity, and it should be up to the individual to make a decision---I don't think it should be a legal mandate.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from elkslayer wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

Shoot'em they're just deer

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment (200 characters or less)

from www.dropjhook.com wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

I'm pretty sure natives just warned eachother about what might be the outcome if they shoot one. They never had fines, jails , court systems ect. but once these control freaks get into office they write tradtion into law for more control and less hunting. It should be if a man is willing to take a chance at bad luck for a deer then let that man take that chance. Don't tread on me & I will not tread on you :)

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from Smitty18 wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

I would not shoot an albino deer but I would shoot an albino bear, thunder chicken, squirrel, and whistlepig.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Band-aid MT wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

I might shoot one. I don't really knoiw, but I don't agree that they should be protected. People should be able to harvest them.

I wonder what would happen to those "pockets" of Bino's if there was an natural epidemic or tough year?

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from 6phunter wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

IF ole"" whitey"" has a nice rack,legal and within range he's in trouble.To give any mystical qualities to an albino is up to you and your belief/

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from jcarlin wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

I've heard a few guy who knew a guy, who heard of a guy who went blind after shooting an albino. Always misfortune like scratching eye on branch on way out of woods.
I'm not big on the trophy aspect, and I've taken at least one deer and a few fish that were mount worthy for my part of the world, but an albino is always an interesting mount.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from papajocu wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

If it was a buck with a nice rack - THAT would be a real trophy on anybody's mantle. I don't see how it could "weaken" the population. As a Science teacher myself who teaches genetics: albino genes are so recessive that they rarely show up. When they do, it is even more rare for the animal to survive to adulthood because of its inability to hide from predators. The only reason they are showing up more these days than before is because most natural predators have been illuminated by hunters.

Today hunters are instrumental in properly maintaining animal populations. That puts the hunter in as a "predator". So, to make a long story short, hunting is hunting - Albino or no albino.

My biggest question is----- does it taste the same?

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from jarmstrong77 wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

@papajocu

"OK, Before I anger the hunters let me restate that "most predators are gone because of human encroachment i.e. loss of habitat, hunting, and other reasons". Not JUST because of hunting....The only reason they are showing up more these days than before is because most natural predators have been illuminated (eliminated?) by hunters."

Contradictory statements, but on what do you base the overall claim?

As with most gov regulation these days, it's something that should be left up to the individual to decide, but big brother thinks he knows best. An albino is biologically the same as a brown deer, just a different color due to a slight hiccup in the genetics. I personally wouldn't shoot one unless it was late in the season and I hadn't filled my freezer with enough meat to make it till next year. But that doesn't mean I should push that opinion on others, eh?

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from gengberg wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

White deer and buffalo have always been sacred to Native Americans. Why shoot a rare deer that has lived so long for some reason? I'm sick of trophy hunters... We have a herd of albino deer in northern Wisconsin. Wisconsin Public television did a show on them and a book was written about these "ghosts of the night.' I bet you'd keep a 50' muskie too! walleyeking

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from toroscope wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

Straight up....if legal, shooting an albino deer would be beneficial to the herd.

Making the shot would and should of course be the choice of the hunter based on what his/her goal (and legal tags) is/are for the hunt.

If have doe tag and see albino, would probably be good thing because if she breeds and passes those genes on, her offspring (those the gene are passed on to) will be less likely to survive. Ultimately you would be strengthening the gene pool for that area although the immediate results would be statistically minimal.

If your goal is a B&C level Antlered deer and a nice 10 point (but not trophy quality) albino buck passes by, let it go (unless mounting a one of a kind trophy suddenly becomes more important than the original goal lol).

I don't think government should be regulating ANYTHING, including hunting, based on "skin color". We as a country have surpassed that....all are equal ! REALLY, in some areas or states, the only animals allowed to be legally killed are those of "color"?

Bahhhh...When I'm in the woods, I will abide by the regulations of the state I'm hunting in and if offered the opportunity to shoot an albino deer, will choose based on my goal for the hunt, my tag, and my feelings at the spur of the moment. Who knows, might just decide to pull out the camera and get some nice photos and/or video of the moment and finish up the serious hunting later !!!

- Toroscope (Dan - Kentucky)

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Catpool9 wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

I would not shoot an albino deer just for the sake of killing, I think they are special!

David H.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from ttfaulkner@msn.com wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

Toroscope,

An albino pheasant would have made a beautiful mount! My son smoked a white and gray turkey this past spring. We decided to mount this bird in a flying pose, which should look great!

During my young teenage years, I dropped the hammer on a piebald buck that was very unique. Unfortunately, it was only a small basket-racked buck and I decided not to mount it. If this white and brown buck would have been carrying more bone on top, I would have probably mounted the entire deer. I am glad you liked the article and thanks for your sharing your posts.

Travis Faulkner
Outdoor Life
ttfaulkner@msn.com

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from pineywoods wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

I would be willing to go against Native American superstition and kill an albino. An albino is an aberration and a curiosity, and it should be up to the individual to make a decision---I don't think it should be a legal mandate.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ishi wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

Indian lore says albino animals were a sign of prosperity and it was bad luck to shoot one.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from griz312000 wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

Albino deer are genetically inferior and as such should be taken out of the herd. As long as they would be legal except for their color, it should be up to the hunter to decide whether or not to harvest the animal. What's next? Outlaw the harvest of color-phase black bears? Quality game management practices should not be dictated by a few peoples' Disney-esque views.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from papajocu wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

OK, Before I anger the hunters let me restate that "most predators are gone because of human encroachment i.e. loss of habitat, hunting, and other reasons". Not JUST because of hunting.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from ttfaulkner@msn.com wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

It's been great reading all of the comments posted by members of the BBZ Brotherhood! However, I have a few more questions for all of you: "Are there any hunters on the BBZ who have actually tagged an albino deer?" It would also be great to hear any related stories on the subject. Does anyone know of a hunter who has ever harvested an albino whitetail? Is it currently leagal in your state to tag albino deer?

Travis Faulkner
Outdoor Life
ttfaulkner@msn.com

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bryan wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

I would have to agree with most of the crew on here. They are just deer. Rare and beautiful and if I ever get the chance, if it has antlers I will probably shoot it. Then I will get a full body mount and preserve it that way. I just can't see myself passing something like that.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from tovlogos wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

Seems to be a no-brainer -- it's going to die eventually.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from blue ridge wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

Ohio wants white deer killed to keep the species from being corrupted, WV it is not allowed to shoot them. Know your states laws.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from chadder wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

i think that it would depend on circumstances but normally i would just observe though i think they need not be protected. if we are predators - other predators don't mind if they're white!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from chadder wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

would be a really cool trophy!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from sego60 wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

I dont think white deer should be protected. I live in Iowa where they are protected and about 10 years ago we had a growing population of white deer. The deer herd in our area is very large and we had a population of around 20 white deer all because somehow somebody released a white doe that was a pet. She kept reproducing with the native deer and incresed the number of white deer over her lifetime. One year in fact she produced a buck fawn that grew to be probably about a 160" to 170" buck at 5 years old. We would have loved to harvest this buck but do to them being protected in Iowa we were not able to. Just recently have we discovered that the white deer population in our area in probably zero we have not seen a white deer all year. we beleive they disappeared with a number of other large bucks due to high poaching rates we have in our county.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from meesha1903 wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

I have a friend that shot an albino buck quite a few years ago. It is by no means a trophy but it tasted as good as any other deer that I've eaten. He continues to take a deer almost every year so I can't buy the bad luck idea. Personally, I would take an albino if it was a mature animal, just like any other. I don't see the point of protecting a recessive gene by law ? its not like protecting an endangered species. What's next ? No deer hunting because they are cute ?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from toroscope wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

Travis, I have never seen or harvested a white deer. I did get a shot at an albino pheasant when was a teen (I missed !!!) and it got away. A white rooster pheasant is a pretty sight in flight. The tail feathers were normal color. Hopefully some others will respond soon to your mid-discussion post, but think need to get this article/thread posted again in the online magazine email. Just got the "next edition" and unlike most, they didn't repeat it for another round.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from toroscope wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

To answer the only part of your question I can address...I live in Kentucky. So far have never seen any specific restrictions on harvested deer in the regulations other than in a few special areas, an antlered buck has to have a minimum 15 inch spread. If I am wrong or missed something I'm sure someone will respond but Kentucky is one of the states that I feel has an excellent fish and wildlife management program which works and works well. So far so good....no CWD here either.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from elkslayer wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

Shoot'em they're just deer

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from pznk22 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

i had the rare and wonderful experience of seeing an albino nubbin buck on several occasions during the 2001 archery season in Michigan. He would show up like a spotlight in the woods due to his brilliant white color. In Michigan, they are protected and I feel they should remain that way. Unfortunately, this little buck was shot during the gun season and left to rot. They are rare and truly unique to see...let em live.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Treschitta wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

i go to umaine and there are two albino deer that are almost always on campus. one of them is pure white and the other is halfbrown half white. they are pretty interesting to look at

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Treschitta wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

i go to umaine and there are two albino deer almost always on campus with a group of normal white tails. one of them is halfbrown half white and the other is full white. they are pretty interesting to look at

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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