Ethical Hunter

Should We Shoot Albinos?

albino buckThis week on D&DH TV we detail many whitetail oddities, including the life of an incredible albino buck.

In whitetail herds, there are white deer and then there are albinos. True albinos have white coats, plus pink eyes and pink noses. These deer lack the ability to produce melanin, a pigment in the skin and coat. This condition results from a recessive gene that is found in less than 1 percent of the whitetail population. It is also commonly associated with other genetic defects, including poor hearing, vision and physical disabilities.

These deer are genetically inferior, are even often shunned by other whitetails. Yet, some states, including my home state of Wisconsin, have regulations that prevent shooting albino deer.

Why?

Biologically speaking, these rules are simply illogical. Albino whitetails hurt the overall genetic health of a herd. These protections are simply born from human emotion, and they aren’t new. Many Native American cultures revered albino animals, and many still believe these animals should be protected. Yet, so much of the human/nature experience is aesthetic. And white deer have certain aesthetic appeal that can’t be denied. Despite their faults, they enrich our world.

So, IĀ ask you: Should we protect albinos?

6 thoughts on “Should We Shoot Albinos?

  1. guy milligan

    I am a native american and I understand why years ago it was considered bad medicine to kill a white deer. I have killed a pieball deer, but would probably pass on a white deer knowing that they should be removed from the herd to better the herds gene pool. I hope someone else would kill the white deer.

  2. Josh

    What doesn’t make sense to me is that even places where albino deer are protected usually do not have any rules concerning the piebald (those ugly white/brown fawns scott mentioned) trait. These deer will carry the gene for albinism, and could potentially throw a pure albino fawn. If the point is to protect the trait, they should be protected as well. I personally would love to be able to hang a trophy like the one in the pic on my wall, but I can see how others would wish to have albinos protected.

  3. Chris

    I think we should be able to shoot them. I’m in Wisconsin, and I always thought the ban doesn’t make a lot of sense. I think they’re cool, and in a sense it’s nice that they are protected, but from a biological stand point, they carry a genetic abnormality that isn’t in the specie’s best interest to have passed on. I don’t see a reason to go out of our way to kill them, but I see less reason why they should be protected.

  4. Scott

    I think they are a curse. Our area had a white(not albino) doe show up in 2008. Everyone agreed to pass on her and the next year she had 2 white doe fawns. This year we now have the 3 white does along with 4 of the ugliest white/brown fawns I’ve ever seen. We plan to harvest the fawns and leave the white does alone since everyone likes watching them.

  5. Jay Marra

    What a tough question. On one hand I think "What a unique trophy", but on the other I think I would let it walk. Did native americans consider it bad luck to kill one ? I guess I’d opt to let it walk so someone else could enjoy seeing such a rare beauty of nature. I also would not think poorly of anyone who did harvest an albino. Simply a personal choice similar to letting a yearling buck walk.

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