Turner County Buck Likely Rare Albino
Jeremy Poole, of Ashburn, killed a prize buck in Turner County on Nov. 6. Not only was this buck sporting a beautiful, symmetrical 8-point rack, but he was also a rare albino.
Charlie Killmaster, the WRD’s State Deer Biologist, said, “I usually hear of only one or two albino or leucistic deer killed out of about 275,000 annual Georgia deer harvests. Judging from the pictures, given the completely white fur with the apparent unpigmented hooves, nose and eyes, I would say Poole’s buck is an albino rather than a leucistic deer.”
Albinism is characterized by complete lack of the body’s melanin, or natural pigment, while leucism is only partial loss. Therefore, an albino deer typically has white fur, clear hooves and unpigmented nose and eyes while a leucistic deer usually has white fur but dark hooves, nose, and eyes.
This unique buck was no stranger to Jeremy.
“We have had him on our cameras for the last couple of years,” Jeremy said. “I honestly debated whether or not to shoot him this year, but I decided to since I’m only hunting about 50 acres in that spot.”
As the sun came up on Nov. 6, Jeremy was in his creek stand when he saw this unmistakable buck easing along the creek at first shooting light.
“He was the only deer I saw that morning,” Jeremy said. “I didn’t have a feeder or any corn out. I just caught him cruising on by.”
Jeremy pulled the trigger on his 7mm-08 rifle for about a 50-yard shot, and the buck took off out of sight.
“I didn’t know if I missed him or not, but I got down and easily found him a short distance away in a thicket.”
The beautiful 8-point rack was impressive enough, but Jeremy does harbor some slight regrets. “Normally, I wouldn’t have shot a buck like this; I would have let him grow another year or two, but he was so rare being an albino that I didn’t know if he would live another year.”
Killmaster surmised that there are very few old albino deer because they are easier to spot and kill by hunters. That may explain why we hardly ever hear of any really large antlers on albino deer. In actuality though, there is no effect in antler size on albino or leucistic bucks.
“Albinism and leucism only affects the body’s pigment, not the bone and antler growth,” said Killmaster. “This is unlike piebald deer which do have bone and antler deformities. Also, piebald deer are probably about 10 times more common than albino and leucistic deer in Georgia.”
Jeremy plans to honor the awesome buck by having a full body mount done by Hinman Taxidermy in Webster County.
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