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Hunter in Wisconsin unknowingly shoots, kills rare albino deer

Courtesy / Amanda Seipel / WEAU

PEPIN COUNTY, Wis.—A hunter in Wisconsin claims he never saw the all-white coat of the albino deer he shot and killed Saturday morning, Nov. 18.

The hunter claimed to only see the brown on the top of its head before eventually killing the animal, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

"If it's an all-white deer—not including the head, hooves or the tarsal glands—then it's a protected animal," Wisconsin DNR conservation warden Richard Rosen said in an interview with WEAU-TV.

Albino deer are illegal to kill in two states: Illinois and Iowa. Portions of Montana, Tennessee and Wisconsin also outlaw the killing of all-white deer. John Bates, a Wisconsin naturalist and co-author of the book "White Deer: Ghost of the Forest," said albino deer are born once in about every 20,000 births. Some biologists claim only 1 in 100,000 deer is born albino, according to an article in the USA Today.

Upon realizing that he killed the rare deer, the DNR says the hunter immediately turned himself in, with the albino deer eventually being confiscated by the DNR, according to KWQC-TV.

"What he preferred was to make sure others could learn from this," Rosen said. "That we could keep that animal within the community and use it as a learning experience."

The buck was brought to a local meat processor, where the meat was taken to a local food pantry, according to WEAU-TV. The deer will then be donated to a local conservation club. The club's president says it will be used as a learning tool for other local hunters.

"What we are going to do is have a full body mount of the deer and we'll have it on display at our clubhouse and will use it for our hunter safety program," the conservation club president said. "Basically to teach hunters what not to shoot if there are questions about what is an albino deer and what isn't."

Ross Torgerson

Digital Reporter for Forum Communications. Native of Moorhead, Minn. Have a question or story idea? Email me at Follow me on Twitter @RossTorgerson