Solid White Buck From Calhoun County

John Trussell | September 14, 2021

Back in June, Tara Jackson went fishing at a Calhoun County pond and saw something that she had never seen before. As a buck ran across a field, she said to her boyfriend Bryan Spivey, “Oh my goodness, that’s a totally white deer!”

They were both amazed and hoped the buck would still be around during deer season, and she credits Bryan with helping her get set up to hunt the buck.

Tara Jackson with Allen Barrett and Lilly, the hound that helped track the buck.

Soon after spotting the buck, she had trail cams out, trying to capture the buck in photos. The trail cams verified that it really was in fact a white buck, and he was hanging out in the soybean field and around her supplemental feeder. She talked to her family whose land she was hunting and some neighbors, and no one had ever seen the white deer before. Those first photos really got her excited about the upcoming deer season, and in late June, she saw the buck again crossing a head of woods near the pond.

On Wednesday Sept. 8, Tara got some fresh trail-cam photos showing the buck was still there and it was beginning to shed its velvet. With deer season quickly approaching, she had been steadily practicing with her Ravin crossbow and was punching the target full of holes in the kill area consistently.

On Sept. 11, Tara was in the stand early but saw nothing. Not deterred, she was back in the stand at 6:45 a.m. on Sept. 12 and saw several deer and another buck, but she had her sights set on the white buck and patiently waited. Soon the white buck appeared, and she steadied her aim and took the shot. However, as soon as the bolt was released, she saw it fly over the top of the buck’s back. Thinking she had just missed her chance at taking the buck of a lifetime, she was certainly disappointed… but this encounter wasn’t over yet.

The buck ran off, but a short time later, it circled back around and walked right underneath her stand. It ambled around and walked over to the feeder, offering an even better shot. This time she took her time and hit the buck with her Rage, two blade, 125-grain expanding broadhead, and the buck quickly disappeared into the woods. Knowing that it might take a while for the buck to expire, she decided to head back to the house and eat a little well-earned breakfast and gather up some tracking assistance.

Soon she had Bryan back with her looking for the buck, but the blood trail was very tough to follow. A friend brought over a tracking dog, but it soon overheated and was out of the job. It was time to bring in Lilly, a dependable bloodhound with a great tracking nose that is handled by Allen Barrett.

Allen is the assistant fire chief in Richland and runs an auto parts store there. He also enjoys helping friends and neighbors track down their wounded deer. Allen said Lilly is a 9-year-old bloodhound cross and does a great job of slow trailing wounded deer.

He said the first tracking dog probably jumped the white buck and pushed it a long distance before it bedded down again. It took several hours and about a half mile of slow tracking to finally locate the buck in a soybean field. The giveaway that Lilly, who normally silently tracks, had found the buck was that the GPS on the dog’s collar had quit moving, said Allen, and sure enough they walked over to the dog and the dead deer was next to it.

He said the buck had just died because it had not started to stiffen up and had been shot through the brisket area and eventually bled to death. He didn’t find the buck until 5:45 p.m., and they were lucky to find it. Allen tracks deer in Stewart, Sumter, Quitman and Terrell counties and can be reached at 229.942.3353.

Tara Jackson with her boyfriend Bryan Spivey.

Those on social media who have seen Tara’s buck wondered if her white deer was albino or leucistic (piebald).

While some people refer to white deer as “albinos,” that condition is exceedingly rare. Albinism is a congenital condition defined by the absence of pigment, resulting in an all-white appearance and pink eyes. Many plant and animal species exhibit albinism (including humans). It’s difficult to accurately determine how frequently this condition exists in wild animals because albino animals tend not to survive long. They have poor eyesight and are conspicuous, making them easy prey.

Most white deer exhibit a condition commonly known as leucistic, a recessive genetic trait found in about 1% of all whitetails. As with albinism, leucism can be found in nearly all mammals.

Leucistic animals lack pigment over all or part of their bodies. Leucistic deer can have varying levels of white—some contain white splotches, some are half brown and half white, some appear nearly all white. Mixed brown and white animals are leucistic and are often known as piebald deer.

On piebald deer, the nose is black as in a “normal” deer, and eyesight is not usually affected. Tara’s buck had a black nose and black hooves, with just a small spot of brown in its tail. Otherwise, it was totally white and had normal, dark-colored eyes.

Based on that, Tara’s buck was a piebald, although a very white one, and it is truly the buck of a lifetime that she plans on having mounted. Congratulations on an amazing buck!

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  1. jack on January 7, 2022 at 2:20 pm

    thats awsome congratulations

  2. Mlm1300 on December 29, 2021 at 4:27 pm

    Why would anyone want to kill a deer that rare? She should have been satisfied with trail camera pictures.

    • jack on January 7, 2022 at 2:19 pm

      if your to weak to handle the truth get off this website

  3. freddyd on September 15, 2021 at 4:33 pm

    Congratulations! Great story, determination and great Hound!

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