Would You Shoot an Albino Game Animal?

By Tom McIntyre Some hunters believe that unusually colored animals are too rare to shoot, or that it's unsporting to hunt an animal that stands out so dramatically (in Scotland, deer stalkers don't shoot white stags because they make the herds easier to spot on the hills). Other hunters believe these animals are legitimate trophies, no different from a non-typical deer. Take a look at the animals in this gallery of odd-colored game, then let us know what you would do if you saw one of them while you were hunting. To shoot, or not to shoot? That is the question. A note on coloration: Besides their normal colors, animals can be albino (lacking color pigment in the hair, feathers, skin, and/or eyes), leucistic (white haired or feathered), melanistic (black haired or feathered), or "erythristic" (having unusual reddish pigmentation in the hair, feathers, or skin). This "black" bear, photographed in June of this year, is an example of albinism.Greg Doggett
Greg Doggett
Marion Jacobs
Marion Jacobs
Marion Jacobs
Marion Jacobs
In the woods around Boulder, Wisconsin, is a well known herd of albino white-tailed deer. These deer get through the fall because Wisconsin is one of at least a dozen states in which it is illegal to take an albino or white deer, even though biologists would classify them as genetic "maladaptions" -- whiteness is a rare quality in deer because it makes them too visible, and inviting, a target for natural predators. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Richter, from the book White Deer: Ghosts of the Forest, www.naturespressbooks.com)Jeff Richter
This leucistic (white) mule deer buck was the most famous deer around Meeker, Colorado, from the time it was a fawn. In the fall of 2005 it was frequently seen from Highway 64 when it took up semi-permanent residence in a field west of the town. It was safe from hunting there, not just because it was on private land, but because locals had an unwritten agreement to leave it alone. In the fall of 2006, when it was 4½, the buck moved farther northeast near, ironically, the local cemetery, where it was found dead following hunting season. No one had shot it, nor had it been struck by a vehicle; a limited necropsy performed by the wildlife department revealed that it likely died of injuries sustained in fighting with other bucks during the rut. (Photo Courtesy of Dona Hilkey, www.adamslodge.com, www.pbase.com/dhilkey)Dona Hilkey
Dona Hilkey
The head was saved and mounted and now hangs in the local office of the Colorado Department of Wildlife.Dona Hilkey
Looks like the buck may have bred before it died.Dona Hilkey
Following the death of the white buck in the fall of 2006, this light colored fawn, seen with its normal colored twin, appeared in the spring of 2007 around Meeker, Colorado; but by the next winter it had disappeared.Dona Hilkey
This is a black, or "melanistic," coyote trapped in the winter of 2005 in southeastern Michigan by Douglas Moore. In 54 years of trapping, this is the only black coyote Moore ever caught. It was a large dog coyote, but not huge; and its eyes, according to Moore, were particularly light yellow.Brian Moore
Brian Moore
Dan Hanson was a student at North Dakota State College of Science in the spring of 2005 when he received permission to hunt turkey on a farm in Hankinson, North Dakota. Opening morning, he and a friend spotted this erythristic (red) Eastern turkey, but didn't get a shot. Hanson came back a few days later, after college classes, to scout some more and came on the bird. He got a shot at it, but the bird got away. He hunted the farm for the remaining weeks of the season; and with only three days left, he found the bird again and this time made a perfect 40 yard shot and folded up the 20 pound bird. It had 1.5-inch spurs and a 10.5-inch jet black beard.Steve Hanson
Steve Hanson
Steve Hanson
Steve Hanson
These are a pair of great looking bulls, of whatever color. The photos of them have been around on the internet for some time, and the photographer doesn't seem to be known, nor where the photos were taken. Maybe somebody out there knows. But the real question remains--Would you, or wouldn't you, take one of these rare white elk if you had the chance?none

Check out these photos of unusual-colored game animals. Would you shoot one if you saw it in the woods?