Just came across this picture on Facebook of an albino white-tail posted by a hunter in West Virginia. No, he did not shoot it, and did not give out any specifics on the location out of fear someone not so appreciative of how rare albino deer are would kill it for a trophy. The young one was still with its mother.
According to John Bates, Wisconsin naturalist and co-author of White Deer: Ghosts of the Forest, the chances of an albino deer being born are about 1 in 20,000. Other sources say the odds are closer to 1 in 30,000.
I saw an albino white-tail about 15 years ago while walking the Appalachian Trail in Middletown, MD. I just caught a glimpse between the trees as it rain through the woods with two other deer. I was so taken by surprise that it took me a few moments to process what I had seen.
The severity of our winters has a direct impact on the wildlife population. Last year’s mild winter meant that insects, nuts, berries and other food sources for wildlife were abundant. As a result of the mild temps and the rich food supply, the deer and rabbit numbers on the farm have exploded. Every morning and evening we see lots of rabbits, young and old, grazing in the yard and along the edges of the lane. The deer browse the fields (checking on the ripeness of the blackberries and wineberries, no doubt) before bedding down for the night in the tall grass.
We don’t hunt so regular visitors like this young white-tailed deer are brave enough to come to the salt block behind the house, usually in the cool of the evening. She had a fawn with her, but it remained well hidden in the underbrush.
The dogs love the excitement and it makes for a lively time when they catch the scent of anything furry. The three of them race around the porch barking (except for Noah, who is mute) like we’re under siege from Bigfoot and a few of his relatives. You would think they would get used to the deer visiting, but no, it’s fresh and exciting every time. It’s gonna be a long summer.