Big Piebald Deer Shot by a Hunter

I received these pictures in my email with no story attached, but they are pretty cool. I’ve never seen a piebald deer myself, but I once saw an albino whitetail doe in Northern Idaho.

piebald buckMany folks feel that albino deer and any piebald deer should be protected from hunting. I think they make a great trophy, plus by harvesting them, we get inferior animals out of the population. Biologists say that protecting albinos, piebald deer and melanistic deer from hunting would have no biological impact and probably would not result in an increase of these traits. What do you think?

What is a Piebald Deer?

A piebald deer has a spotting pattern of large asymmetrical white and black or brown patches. A genetic variation (defect) produces the piebald condition in whitetail deer, not parasites or diseases. In addition to the odd coloration, many individuals have some of the following observable conditions: bowing of the nose (Roman nose), short legs, arching spine (Scoliosis), and short lower jaws. This genetic condition is rare with typically less than one percent of all whitetails being affected.

The origin of the word “piebald” comes from “pie” meaning “mixed up”, and “bald” meaning “having a white spot”.

There is an old wive’s tale that says that it is bad luck to kill a piebald deer or any albino deer for that matter. It goes on to say that the hunter will go many years before having any luck while deer hunting.

Melanistic: Melanistic deer are very dark sometimes even black. Melanism results from overproduction of pigment and is less common than albinism. Hunters see dark deer with some frequency but to actually see a Melanistic deer is rare.

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  1. Allen says

    My grandfather killed a piebald in Florida many years ago. It certainly wasn’t the trophy this one is. Nevertheless, it was a prized trophy to an avid hunter.

    Weighing in: If the gene is not going to be passed on and it creates an inferior herd, why not harvest them and enjoy them?! If it was typical in color and had unique horns at the age of this particular deer, wouldn’t it be harvested for its uniqueness?

    I’m just jealous that I can’t enjoy whitetail hunting in Hawaii. :)

    Congrats to the hunter!

  2. Tom Sorenson says

    There used to be one of those black deer where we hunted in Oregon – grew to be a nice 4 point and then we stopped seeing it. I never did see it, but my cousin saw it as a forky and passed on it because of its size – a few years later he saw it as a four point and the next year another relative saw it as a nice four point – none of them ever got close enough for a shot. I’ve never heard of it getting killed by a hunter, though – always have wondered what happened to it. I’m for shooting them – maybe I’ll be ridiculed for sayin’ this, but a deer is a deer is a deer.

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