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Albino and piebald deer are both revered and cherished by hunters and non-hunters in Wisconsin, and yet there is plenty of controversy over whether or not they should be protected.

I disagree with most people who believe these deer should be protected.

I bring this up for a reason. An out of state hunter shot a piebald buck during the first few days of the gun season. There was an outcry of disappointment, anger and there were even some threats made as this made the evening news across the state.

Special report on Wisconsin's deer herd: More 'On Target?' headlines | Search deer hunting statistics | Review deer management over the past 10 years

First off, the harvesting of that deer was not only legal in Sauk County, but it would have been allowed in the rest of the state, too. Piebalds are not albinos, as they have at least a spot of brown on them and they do not have pink eyes. Secondly, even if that deer was a true albino, it would have still been perfectly legal to take in Sauk County because it's a CWD zone.

So why the uproar? Because the deer are white? Big deal. They are deer. Color shouldn't matter. Why protect them? Because they are rare? And why do the people in the Sauk County area feel entitled to tell others not to shoot these deer because they are rare?

White deer are genetically inferior animals according to wildlife biologists. Piebalds and albinos, while uncommon, are more susceptible to predators because of their inability to blend in to their surroundings (except in winter). They are also pushed around by the more common brown deer. Kind of like the runts of litters.

Despit this, both hunters and non-hunters seem to think protecting them because they are white is the correct thing to do.

I beg to differ.

White deer are rare trophies to hunters. And removing one from the herd strengthens the overall health of the herd. Harvesting a white deer prevents it from passing the recessive gene along to the next generation. What hunter wouldn't like to have a white deer mount or rug? There certainly is no difference in the meat. And for that matter, the people of Wisconsin seem to be in their own little world when it comes to white deer.

We are one of the few states that protects albinos. But protecting these deer simply because they are rare and beautiful is not a reason to shelter them. How often do non-hunters see deer as it is? Protecting them for personal entertainment is not a biologically sound reason to do so. It's the equivelant to letting a huge buck with drop tines walk because those are rare as well. Or, similarly, passing on a cinnamon colored bear, which by definition is a black bear. Nature doesn't discriminate against animals because they are certain colors, and people trying to control harvesting animals based on their fur color is irresponsible.

If you don't want to kill a white deer, then don't. But please, don't tell myself or others that we can't. Few would be harvested under any circumstances anyhow. I mean really, when was the last time you heard of one being taken, piebald or albino up until this season? I encourage people to take one when possible and where legal.

I know if I ever get the oppurtunity, I will.

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