I was taking advantage of the clear and warm day yesterday, finally daring to take the plow off of my tractor in my garage. As I finished I stepped out into the sunlight and looked to my right, up towards the edge of the woods about 50 feet away. I was startled by sight of a strikingly white creature standing in my sightline.
It was a small white deer along with a normally brown colored white tailed deer. It practically glowed in the sunshine, contrasting sharply with the dark background of the forest. The two of them bounded a short ways into the woods and turned to watch me. I put out a scoop of corn and went inside the studio. They immediately came back and I was able to capture a few photos before they strolled away.
I had seen a white deer once before, many years ago as my mother and I were blackberry picking on the hill behind our house. That had been an albino with pinkish eyes. This guy (although it’s more likely a gal) is not an albino. It has the normally brown eyes of the normal deer. It only lack pigmentation in its hair.
White deer are not completely unusual to this area. There is a famous herd of them at the Seneca Army Depot which is probably 30 miles to the north of us. When the Depot was built in 1941, an area of about 18000 acres was fenced off and a small herd of deer was trapped within the confines.
One or two of the deer in that herd had a mutation that displayed the lack of pigmentation and in the protected environment it was allowed to continue and grow within the herd. There are estimates that the herd of white deer there is around 250-300 in number. A small group of white deer has appeared near my home in the town of Horseheads as well, probably the result of a few deer that have their way out of the fenced area of that now retired Army Depot. I’m sure my gal here is somehow related as well.
The Native American tribes called the white deer the Ghost Deer and maintained a belief in a prophesy that a White buck and doe seen together would signal a time when all people should come together. I’m hoping my white gal will bring back a white buck.
For more info on the Seneca Depot herd, go to the Seneca White Deer site.