The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is investigating the death of an albino deer taken near Gordon in Douglas County. The deer was found dead by a hunter several days ago, said Mike Zeckmeister, DNR northern district wildlife supervisor at Spooner.
“We believe it happened prior to the nine-day gun deer opener (Saturday) based on the fact that that the hair was starting to slip (fall out) and it was bloated,” Zeckmeister said.
It has been illegal since 1940 to shoot an albino deer in Wisconsin. The penalty for shooting such a deer is $303, said Dave Zebro, DNR regional conservation warden at Spooner.
The deer is being kept in a freezer at Spooner while the investigation is underway.
“We have no leads,” Zeckmeister said. “We don’t know if it was shot by gun or bow.”
The buck apparently has been in the Gordon area for several years, Zeckmeister said. An individual who provided trail-camera photos of the buck has photos of the same animal from several years starting in 2011, Zeckmeister said.
Anyone with information about the buck is asked to call the DNR’s tip line at (800) TIP-WDNR or (800) 847-9367.
The Douglas County incident is the second case of an albino deer being shot in Wisconsin this month.
A hunter in western Wisconsin’s Pepin County shot an albino deer last Saturday, telling authorities he only saw the brown on the top of its head when he took his shot.
The hunter self-reported the incident and was given a warning, WEAU-TV reported; the deer was confiscated by the DNR. The meat was donated to a food shelf and the hide will be donated to a local conservation club.
Albinism, caused by a genetic mutation, is rare among deer, occurring in about one in 20,000 to one in 30,000 deer, Zeckmeister said.