With wildlife biologists estimating the albino deer population at only 100,000, sightings of albino deer are rare and memorable, which makes harvesting one—especially a mature albino buck—even more so. Imagine the surprise and excitement 11-year-old Gavin Dingman of Osceola Township felt when this 12-pointer crossed his path Monday, Oct. 20, while hunting with his father, Mick. Gavin sealed the deal with one shot from his crossbow.
For some trivia, albino deer differ from white deer as white deer simply carry and exhibit the recessive gene for white coats. The albino also has a pink nose and ears and typically red eyes. Many albino deer never make it to maturity because they are so easily spotted by predators and are often born with health problems.
Some wildlife biologists encourage hunting albino deer because such coloring is often deemed undesirable among wildlife populations. Some people consider them mysterious ghosts that should not be hunted. Hunters, however, know the decision to shoot or pass on one is up to the hunter. (Note: Of course, always check the game regulations for the area where you are hunting as some states—such as Wisconsin, Tennessee and Illinois—do not permit harvesting albino deer.)
According to a report from Outdoor Hub, an online resource for outdoor news, the Dingman family has received graphic death threats, including a backlash on social media, over the buck. As hunters would expect, much of the criticism came from anti-hunters. In addition to death threats, they are using young Gavin’s deer as an opportunity to attack hunting overall. For example, when the story was reported on the Facebook page for WZZM (the ABC affiliate in Grand Rapids, Mich commentators called for a ban on hunting and even an “open season” on sportsmen.
Fortunately, many people are making comments in support of the Dingman family. One person wrote, “Great trophy! Be proud young man!” Another chimed in saying, “While I personally am not a deer hunter, I think this young hunter is being taught very well.” Another added, “This deer will make for many meals for his family and a nice memory of time spent with his father.”
No doubt Gavin, Mick and their family will relive this special hunt for years to come!