White Deer: Understanding a Common Animal of Uncommon Color

A white deer at the Seneca Army Depot in New York. Photo © blmiers2 / Flickr through a Creative Commons license

You’re driving through your neighborhood and see the usual suburban white-tailed deer in a vacant field. You’ve been seeing these deer a lot more lately, so you hardly take notice. Then a flash of white catches your eye. A white deer.

You pull over to look at this striking, beautiful animal. It seems precious, rare. But what exactly is it?

It turns out people have been captivated by white deer for centuries, and perhaps millennia. The ghost-like appearance of these animals has attracted myth, superstition and rampant scientific misinformation for an equally long period of time.

That misinformation continues to this day. And it stands to reason that, with whitetails becoming more abundant near population centers, more people will be sharing their own tales of these unusual creatures.

Here’s the real story of the white deer.

The White Deer of Story

As a young boy, one of my earliest memories is visiting my grandparents’ home and waiting for my grandfather to return from an afternoon of hunting the nearby woods. The stories he told helped instill my lifelong love of field sports and wildlife.

One morning, he came in from a squirrel hunt with a big smile on his face. “No one is going to believe this,” he began. “But I saw something I’ve never seen today.”

He was sitting against an oak tree waiting for squirrels when a flash of white caught his eye. He looked to see a large, “albino” buck approaching him. The deer sniffed, catching his scent – but it didn’t flee. Instead, it trotted towards him, stopping just a few feet away. He stuck out his hand and the deer allowed him to scratch its forehead.

For several years, stories of this deer roaming around the woods of Snydertown, Pennsylvania were common. As a boy, I imagined encountering this mysterious beast. But decades later, with countless time spent observing and hunting deer, I have yet to see a white deer in the wild. But I still hear the stories, many of them strange or even mythical.

White deer are real, but they may not be what you think.

Albino, Leucistic or Piebald?

Most people, like my grandfather, refer to white deer as “albinos.” While deer can be albinos, it’s 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. Research suggests that albino alligators, for instance, survive on average less than 24 hours after hatching.

Leucistic squirrel. Photo © Conrad Kuiper / Flickr through a Creative Commons license
Leucistic squirrel. Photo © Conrad Kuiper / Flickr through a Creative Commons license

The same undoubtedly holds true for deer, and in fact true albino deer are rarely reported. Instead, most white deer exhibit a condition commonly known as leucism, a recessive genetic trait found in about one percent of all white-tails. 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 be 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 often known as piebald deer. (Confusingly, many deer biologists and hunters use “piebald” to describe all leucistic deer).

The nose is black, as in a “normal” deer, and eyesight is not usually affected.

Many other animals exhibit leucism. Birders often report seeing unusual white birds (rendering field guides nearly incomprehensible). White squirrels have become famous tourist attractions in several U.S. towns.

Leucistic deer generally can survive longer than albino deer. Still, they are not very well camouflaged in the forest, making them stand out to predators. In a habitat with its large predators still present, a leucistic deer’s chances of survival are slim.

As wildlife photographer and deer expert Leonard Lee Rue III notes in his recent book Whitetail Savvy (a must-read for deer nerds), “Many piebald deer also exhibit hunched backs, bowed legs, and short, rounded noses.”

Piebald whitetail deer. By U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Piebald whitetail deer. By U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Today, human hunters are the most common large predator over much of the white-tailed deer’s range. Humans bring their own selection pressures to hunting, and they’re quite different from those of wolves or mountain lions.

I’d guess that, because of that, you’re more likely to see a white deer today than at any point in the whitetail’s history.

The Curse of the White Deer

Imagine a Pleistocene hunter peering over a hill to see a white deer – something the hunter would undoubtedly never have seen before. What is this animal? It looks other-worldly: an apparition.

It is easy to see how such an animal might be viewed as sacred and off limits. That belief has informed hunting habits and even regulations to this day.

One of the most persistent legends is that a hunter killing a white deer will experience a long run of bad luck, perhaps never bagging another deer. This idea seems almost universal among hunting cultures. Hunting writer Peter Flack notes in his book Kudu that hunters across Africa believe misfortune (sometimes including death) will befall any hunter who kills a white antelope.

A piebald deer at the Seneca Army Depot in New York. Photo © blmiers2 / Flickr through a Creative Commons license
A piebald deer at the Seneca Army Depot in New York. Photo © blmiers2 / Flickr through a Creative Commons license

When game regulations were comprehensively enforced in North America in the early 1900s, conservationists believed that rare wildlife needed to be protected. White deer qualified as rare, so many state game departments prohibited hunters from killing them. This regulation remains in effect in at least three states and parts of two others.

The most interesting example of white deer protection is Seneca Army Depot in New York. The military installation was surrounded by a fence in 1941, essentially creating a 10,600-acre deer preserve.

The white-tailed deer proliferated and GI’s began hunting them. The hunters began noticing a few white deer around (which were leucistic, not albino). In 1951, the depot commander established a rule protecting these white deer from hunting.

A fenced reserve protecting the animals from predators, hunters targeting brown deer and inbreeding associated with an isolated population allowed this genetic condition to proliferate. Today, an estimated 200-300 of the 800 whitetails on the property are leucistic. It’s likely the largest concentration of these deer to ever exist.

The depot is closed and the future of the property – which has high development value – is uncertain. What will happen to the white deer if and when the fences come down? As has been the case throughout history, many people desperately want to save these deer, recognizing in them rarity that should be protected. The property actually is quite important to wildlife (and people) well beyond the white deer, too — The Nature Conservancy in fact is exploring options for protecting this place with other groups and stakeholders. From conservation values to community impact, tourism, and economic development, there is much to consider. The Nature Conservancy’s goal is to bring science to this conversation and consider the ways this land could best benefit nature and people in the years ahead.

White deer and "normal" colored white-tail deer at the Seneca Army Depot in New York. Photo © Devin Kennedy / Flickr through a Creative Commons license
White deer and “normal” colored white-tail deer at the Seneca Army Depot in New York. Photo © Devin Kennedy / Flickr through a Creative Commons license

It seems that hunters in many parts of the country no longer have the cultural or legal prohibitions against shooting white deer. Many hunters find them interesting trophies. But society at large feels differently.

Hunters who kill albino and leucistic deer often find themselves the targets of internet outrage and even death threats. A hunter bagging a leucistic moose set off a firestorm of social media hate. Message boards fill with comments like “What kind of sick person kills such a rare animal?”

Many white deer protectors use the language of conservation: they see a rarity that should be protected, much as we would protect a California condor or black-footed ferret. Something so rare should never be killed by humans.

Let’s be clear, here. A leucistic or piebald white-tailed deer is a genetic anomaly. It would always be susceptible to predators, whether or not it was pursued by humans. The Seneca Army Depot is known for the white deer but there are actually many other reasons to protect it. These deer may indeed have cultural and historical value to humans, but let’s not confuse them with endangered species.

I too have been fascinated by these deer since hearing those stories by my grandpa. A white deer intrigues me as a student of deer. They’re fascinating to observe and ponder. But, in this era of over-abundant whitetails – when we desperately need scientific management to protect our forests and biodiversity – we must move beyond the idea of the white deer as a sacred beast.

Join the Discussion

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  1. We recently saw a white deer passing through the neighbors yard here in Maine. What a sight! It was beautiful!

  2. The Native Americans of the plains thought the white buffalo was a sacred animal

  3. Matt
    I for one have passed this idea of conservation and protection of all animals that are outside the norm… I was raised this way at camp, it hurts nothing to look beyond so as to save the animal from our hunt and pass the possibility that someone else will see it and share there story of how they to passed up a kill for the next generation…it’s not a legend or a legacy… Just good judgment, commonsense and camp edicacy!

  4. I understand that the white deer (or any other animal is just the sum of their genetics), however, they are a bit different, a bit special. They should, of course, mate with other normal colored members of their species to keep inbreeding to a minimum and keep the species as s whole more strong and varied.
    This is not my main point, however. You ended your discussion that people need to maintain the population levels by hunting. I challenge this assumption absolutely.
    Hunters don’t behave like actual predators in the wild would (because they aren’t). Hunters go after the biggest, strongest, healthiest stock they can find, especially the males with large antlers. Real hunters, the predators go after smaller, weaker, sometimes sick members of the herd, and sometimes baby members of the herd. They take members whose genes may be inferior. They usually make the herd stronger. This is the area I constantly struggle with in terms of hunting .

    1. You are 100% correct. Hunters are not natural predators. Telling themselves that they are is infuriating .

      1. Lol….yea people have been hunting since they walked out of the sands of Africa some 100,000 years ago but they’re not natural predators….lol

    2. Trophy hunters pursue the “biggest, strongest, healthiest ” animals they can find. “Real hunters,” which have always included humans (we are not above or apart from nature), do not necessarily do so, and many of us view the trophy-seekers as misguided.

  5. On one of my first day’s on the job at TNC in Maine 13 years ago, I was driving south from Bangor, Maine back to our office in Brunswick. I glanced in the median and there stood a white deer – I honestly thought I might have mis-seen. I am glad to read that it wasn’t a ghost! -Kate Dempsey, Maine TNC

  6. In 1952 I was stationed at Sampson Air Force Base, across the road from the Seneca Arms Depot and saw the white deer many times. Sampson is now a State Park and could be used to extend the deers’ range. It would if, at least, part of the Park be allowed to become forest.

    1. Those white deer along with the regular brownies come and go as they please. There have been many sightings in Sampson Park. Many sightings all around the Upstate region. Buffalo has a famous resident piebald that is all over the net. A small herd near Watkins Glen.

  7. Dear Matt, these beautiful creatures can also be seen in the Rocky Mountains! In fact we had a couple a Buck and Doe in my neighborhood several years ago and I do happen to live at 8000ft above sea level! ENJOY THEM BUT NEVER HUNT THEM!

  8. The very first wild deer I ever saw was a white deer. Decades ago what in retrospect was probably a yearling was frozen in the headlights, standing in a ditch.
    I assume you would still need to cull the brown deer in this area if you were to preserve it as is.

  9. Let’s see; I don’t understand your argument: the white deer MAY have cultural and historical value to humans but we need not consider them an endangered species. Then, an overabundance of white tails? Who determined what number is “over abundant” and why?? If scientific management to protect our forests and biodiversity is so important…are you aguing that the white deer need not be included in such a human directed activity??

    1. Sigh. I thought Miller covered this quite well, but his point went in one ear and out the other. To be more blunt: leucistic and albino deer are abnormal and a detriment to the deer population. Keep one as a pet if you like (please do if you can remove it from the wild population), but if we value WILDlife, then abnormal wild animals should be allowed to be killed off by predators whether animal or human, and if necessary culled. If this problem were to be allowed to grow unchecked, then in time we might find that the white-tailed deer species (please look up the meaning of “species”) had been rendered endangered by the population’s unfitness for survival. Abnormal populations are not and/or must not be protected by law or by ignorant sentiment.

  10. I understand the fence at the old Seneca army depot has been cut and a hunter has installed many lethal traps. The land is now public and no longer protected by the government. Why hunting has been allowed is a mystery. The white deer have always drawn tourist to the area. The NY DEC recently arrested 2 men and issued 12 tickets for illegal hunting. The traps were found because a girl was walking her dog in the area and her dog was killed by a trap. She had to watch her poor dog die.
    PETA recently got involved due to the inhumane nature of the trap. Pits were dug and body gripping traps were set greater than 6 inches. She had to watch her poor dog die. A recent count suggest the numbers of white deer are less than half what they used to be. The area is in need of your help.

    1. I know this story well. So many mis conceptions of these deer. Deer management was essentially started here on the Seneca Depot. Many trails of error went into that management.

  11. My adult son suggests that some of the deer could be adopted by interested people rather than killing
    Them. Surely that be a solution to part of the problem.

  12. I feel that the white deer at the Seneca Army Depot should be protected. I know that my family looks for them. when we camp across the street from the Depot at Sampson State Park which is also full of our history. These spaces are unique to New York State and should be preserved.

  13. A 10,600-acre white deer preserve?
    Where do I send my donation?

    YIS. a beaver, an eagle, and a good ol’ bear.

  14. At least they have the winter advantage of camouflage in snowy areas. Beautiful animals.

  15. I lived in Seneca County, New York for many years and would pass the Seneca Army Depot on my way to and from work daily. It was a beautiful sight to see these beautiful creatures standing just inside the fences and especially in the fog when they would look like apparitions. It would be a shame to eliminate the he herd, maybe there is somewhere else in the country that part of the herd could go and still be protected. They do not really have a fear of the world as we know it. They are special animals.

    1. Hello amy. We share the same last name. I grew up outside willard. Not sure if we are related but it is odd to find the same spelling and you lived so close to where i did.

  16. White deer should be off limits to hunters. They have enough problems already.

  17. Do you suppose that the unicorn was actually a version of the white deer? Other “mythical” animals actually genetic anomalies? Might some of these more unusual creatures actually been benefitted by their “stangeness” in not being pursued, but being avoided? Would welcome facts, ideas, possible recognitions!


  18. From what has been reported many times in this area (Rochester which is relatively near the Seneca Army Depot), piebald refers to a black and white color combination. Skewbald refers to a brown and white combination and would therefore apply to the Seneca white deer.

  19. I once saw a huge white majestic looking deer back in the 90’s in Southern NJ along the banks of the Delaware River. An awesome creature it was. I’ll never forget it.

  20. Great Story! It would be great if the Nature Conservancy gets involved: an organization with good sense, no fanatacism. We used to see small herds of white deer and some intermingled with the brown herds south of Aurora, NY. Legends abound, stories of how the white deer of Seneca Depot got around the Fingerlakes or swam across one lake or another, or crossed on ice to mix with the herds in southern Cayuga County. Thanks for a good read.

  21. I never saw a white deer tho obviously they would stand-out to be hunted by humans and other predators….can an albino reproduce?

  22. I have been camping at the park there. I ope it can turn into a protected area-not just for the deer but for people to enjoy it’s beauty.

  23. Matt, My dad worked at Seneca Army Depot when I was a kid, and my parents remember seeing the white deer. Very cool to read your blog, which I plan to share with them. Cate

  24. I have seen white deer in the wild in Virginia. Why should we have to make such a strong case for preserving such a beautiful and rare animal?

  25. I agree with Matt. We must see the larger natural picture which includes predators and prey. Once coyotes are introduced to Seneca the white deer may be targeted. There are also more many more species that need our protection. White tail deer will survive in abundance no matter what. Once man has upset the natural balance of nature it will take man to help put it back. Michael Ach

  26. There is also an artist in northern Wisconsin who has photographed many of these deer. I do not know how many live in that area, but the photographs are beautiful. I am sorry, but I don’t remember his name. We saw the photos at an art show near Tomahawk, WI.

  27. So are you suggesting that because there is an over-abundance of whitetail deer in general, you would be content if all the white ones are hunted out of existence? It is doubtful that preserving the small population(s) of white deer in and of themselves would bring such a great burden of to our forests. Other comments are quite accurate in that human hunters take down the biggest and best specimens which is a detriment to the population. This was a disappointing end to your article. And perhaps, although not “scientific” there is something to be said for the fact that most humans are inclined to instinctively preserve what we perceive as special like the white deer!

  28. seen a piebald deer on skimmer hollow rd .next to the Nature Conservancy lands , eating apples (less than 1000 ft from the land )
    never would I shoot one !
    peter brown

  29. Hi Matt,
    A white doe showed up in our back yard about two weeks ago. We live in Central New York State, approximately 50 miles from the Seneca Army Depot. Who should we contact about her? We’d like to do what it takes to protect her.
    Thank you.

  30. Just saw a leucistic deer cross hwy 28 near the Modoc boat landing turnoff today in South Carolina. Two deer crossed the road, one normal color and the second was all white except the head and ears. Is this unusual in this area or is this a common occurance here?

  31. I sent a comment just now about the doe we have been watching.

  32. I have a doe that has twins every year on my property – this year (this morning) I was able to see her progeny – one of the fawns is white! Beautiful!

  33. I saw a white deer run across the road, about 1 1/2 weeks ago. I had never seen one before and didn’t know they existed. I live in a rural town in Arizona, about the middle of the state, in the mountains. I was talking to some native Arizonans about it and they didn’t seem surprised. They had also seen White Deer in the past. They called them Albino Deer, but I don’t really know if that is correct. I didn’t see the eyes. It was too quick. Still, I considered it quite a thrill to see it.

  34. Where I live we have 1 albino adult and this year there is a set of white twins. It’s so amazing to see. Someone said one of the twins has a small patch of brown on the neck area.

  35. Not to forget that most humans in North America no longer need to hunt for food and that the killing of these rare and beautiful animals is simply for a bloodthirsty sport is disgusting. If you feel you must hunt animals, at least hunt those which are pests or in abundance, not those which are symbols of beauty and wisdom, and have done nothing to hurt humans in the slightest.

    I may be slightly biased in my opinion, as my family name means white stag, but as hard as it may be hunters need to think before they shoot.

  36. Just saw a white fawn this morning in the center devide of a highway near Spencer, NC. It looked very young. Someone in a commercial truck behind me stopped, I’m guessing, to try to save it from getting hit. The stretch of highway has four lanes on either side of the center decide. I was amazed that it hadn’t been hit already. Seeing it made me Google and thereby finding this article. Seeing a live one is a first for me.

  37. Just saw one of these deer as I was driving to work. It was part of a herd of about five, which of course made it stand out even more. I sat there in awe as they crossed the road. My fear is that these idiot hunters are going to spot it and try to claim it as a trophy or worse yet he becomes the victim of a reckless driver. Wish there was some conservation program I could contact to save him.
    Any thoughts?

  38. We had a beautiful white deer with baby in our area and has been wonderful watching them most evenings. Unfortunately, the neighbor 18 or 19 year old killed the mother this past weekend. It is bow season but think it was shot. We are upset that this deer was killed. Is it legal in New York State to kill these beautiful creatures. Baby is still in our fields. Thank you.

  39. Last Tuesday I saw two deer along HWY I-205 south bound near the Stafford exit, just south of Portland , Oregon. One had normal coloring but the other was almost all white with two large dark brown patches on its neck and shoulder. I had to do a double take to believe what I actually saw. Karl Kochendorfer

  40. call me crazy but I’m a letter carrier in Lawrenceville, NJ and today I saw 2 piebald or leucistic deer grazing with a brown deer.the 2 deer looked like small ponies. is this rare?

  41. Just was sent a pic of a white deer from a friend of mine… first one I have ever seen… awesome
    Cincinnati, Ohio

  42. Ochlocknee River State Park in North Florida has a sizable population of piebald deer. We were camping there last weekend and, while cooking breakfast early one morning, I noticed a large white object next to one of the hiking paths. I silently cursed the idiot who dumped a trash bag there instead of walking the short distance to the dumpster…when the white object moved! She was a beautiful piebald doe with two yearlings of normal coloration. My husband and I watched her and the yearlings until they disappeared into the pines and palmettos to bed down for the day. She was stunning, and I feel so privileged to have seen her.

  43. Thank you for this post, I learned a lot! For the first time, I saw one this morning passing by in the woods where my office sits in Powell, Ohio, with three “normal” white tails with it. Such an incredible sight!

  44. January18,2017 my husband and i went for a ride in the country side on our way home at about the time it was getting dark we saw 2 white deer just standing in the woods . It was something we had never seen here in Dilley Texas.Frio county . we are still in aah!! Glad to know we are not crazy.

    1. Did you know that Texas has Black WhiteTail Deer in the southern part of your state? Much rarer that the white or even the piebald… Maluecistic

  45. I saw a white deer in back of my house in Montreat, NC yesterday late afternoon. The white deer was one of 4 deer walking together—-all female! Many deer in the area—–never have seen a white one before. Tried to get a picture, but only caught part of the deer as they walked into the deep woods.

  46. Just saw a mature doe and younger “white” doe in my backyard today! Awesome looking animal – just fear for her safety as in Michigan spring she has no natural protection. Many deer visit our yard but first time ever viewing a white doe! Rochester Hills, Michigan.

  47. When a human turns in to a animal whatch what you eat I say salad

  48. The fourteen foot sturgeon and the white deer are both white if the sturgeon is inside out with the white meat showing

  49. I was blessed to come across a small white fawn. Not an albino but the small deer was completely white and had a sibling that was normal color. I named them Casper and Jasper. I am lucky to see them at least 3 x’s a week due to the fact that they are enclosed in a cemetery that is gated at 7p.m. nightly. The herd of deer live at peace in this large area. I’ve watched them since they were 2 weeks old and they are now about 2 months old. I feel so lucky.

  50. I saw my first ever white deer today. It was awesome! I live in Virginia.

  51. How beautiful!
    Is it hungry people who kill animals? Otherwise, where is the joy in killing?

  52. We have a beautiful doe that is a piebald in our backyard. I am a lucky person and a few have been sighted in our area.

  53. 5 deer walking the street in Plainfield NJ before 5:am the 5th. was white, the person I told didn’t believe me they googled it , It was a blessing to see, I look out when it’s quiet, but I doubt if I’m that lucky.

  54. Saw a white deer this morning. It crossed the road in front of me, following a normal brown doe.w

  55. I saw a white stag in our field in Portland Oregon. It was beautiful but my dog was outside and chased the white stag away. Was a cool experience!

  56. Hi Matt,
    I live in Raleigh North Carolina and was going to Durham on 540 in very heavy traffic yesterday morning and saw a very white deer just grazing in the edge of the woods. Seemingly on affected by all this traffic. My first thought was somebody had put out a Christmas decoration on the side of the road. There is no doubt that it was a white deer .
    Very beautiful, and a really amazing sight. I grew up on a farm in eastern North Carolina, having seen a lot of wildlife, but that was really the most amazing. Thanks for writing the article! Anna

  57. On my way home last night I encountered a white deer. I was on Plum Point Rd in Elkton, Maryland. There were 4 typically colored white tail deer and the white deer. I didn’t notice the color of the nose. The left side of the deer was completely white. I was unable to see the right side.

  58. This was an informative article as I have never seen a white deer until yesterday (2-10-2018) in the woods just off my front yard. This beautiful deer was laying down and within 10-15 feet on either side were a total of 4-5 white tail deer as if protecting her. As I approached, they looked at me but did not run and I was able to take several pictures. They stayed on property for about 2 hours or so. I live just north of Sanford, NC on 3.2 acres. This was very special.

  59. Sunday, 3/4/18, 4:45 p. m.

    We just saw a leucistic deer in our backyard feeding with about six or seven normal deer. Never have seen a deer like it previously even though we see deer daily on our property. It was splotched with about equally as much white as brown patches on it. We live on High Point, NC, which is about middle of NC. How rare are leucistic deer in our area?

  60. Today, March 20, 2018, I saw a piebald deer. I was so excited as it moved along the river in north Georgia mountains (Blairsville, GA)….how wonderful to see such beauty of nature. It was with 2 more deer of natural color. They took their time wandering around my yard….loved every time of watching them.

  61. Want a wonderful afternoon…..saw a piebald deer at the river which runs through my yard…I feel so special to have seen this beauty of nature. This deer was with 2 brown deer just taking their time as they moved along. I am not sure if any people in our area ( Blairsville, GA) in the North Georgia Mountains has seen one.

  62. I grew up 3 miles from the southwest corner of the depot. It was open then. Good article. These Deer Go Outside The fence All The Time. It Is Not Like THey Are Stuck In A Cage. Sometimes People Think Deer Cant Jump An 8ft Fence.

  63. A truly fascinating and informative article. I lived in the UP of Michigan for a few years and was walking the bike path around Marquette two summers ago when a stark white doe stepped out several feet in front of me, followed shortly by two normal spotted fawns. Struck mute and unable to move, I watched as she lightly stomped the paved path while continuing to stare at me. Time literally stood still as the three stood still there until the ‘babies’ sauntered off into the foliage on the other side. Mama watched me a long time, nose twitching, eyelashes pale in the sun. I never will forget how she finally just casually stepped off of the path and into the dense brush. As I continued on my walk, I saw her looking at me still through the relative safety of the trees. I never will forget that strange and beautiful encounter.

  64. Just found your article. At noon today, June 26, I spotted a completely white fawn in the suburbs of St. Louis. It crossed the street in front of me and joined a normal spotted fawn. I was not able to get a photograph. Now I wonder wether or not it was a true albino. It was pure white and the eyes were quite pink. It was a beautiful site as they met Nose to Nose.

  65. I worked at the Seneca Army depot as a the visual information manager and photographer. I spent many hours observing the deer herd there. The Army had a controlled hunt every year and a certain amount of white deer could be taken. The fences remain since the depot closure. However, there are place where the fences are not as controlled as they once were. Seneca White Deer is trying to preserve the herd through bus rides for tourists. I hope they succeed.

  66. .Good afternoon. I live in the Scottish highlands and have been hunting deer for 15 years .I come across the white deer.Trust me it does not act like other deer.It does not run but holds it ground .and will always look at you.Know lots of old hunters here and they all speak of the white deer.Not all story’s are good. Thought you might be interested.

  67. We had a 2 pt. white tailed buck in our backyard that had mottled white and light brown fur and pink behind ears and pink skin around the eyes. Would it be a piebald (not like a spotted cow) or Leucism (not white either) deer? Certainly not like the normal cinnamon and white deer this time of year. How would you identify this deer?

  68. I have one that visits my back yard almost every day. I live in Montgomery County, PA not far from Philadelphia.

  69. On 300 acres we are surrounded by other properties owned by people who hunt .
    They simply see a “deer” to kill and eat or mount on a wall.
    T hey also see deer that have been run over by a car.
    Being a “trophy hunter” fills a need I have never understood, because a deer has never done anything to hurt them.
    Over the years, 2 herds of deer have learned that they can “come home” here and be safe.
    When they are wounded by a bow they come here to go in our lake to die….We help them to do that
    This year a white buck showed up with his sister. They come every night between 7;30 and 8pm with 11 other friends and graze with our 3 horses.
    Your information has helped me to pursue the information I need to learn more.
    Thank you

  70. ok then tell me how it is that i have video of solid white reindear in my yard.
    Id like send the video Rockport TX

  71. We have a albino deer in our yard Beautiful it was still feeding on its mother we noticed the other deer brothers or sisters to this deer seem to be mean to it like kicking it or running into it ?
    Are they playing ? The other deer seem to stick together and play without the white deer . We named it Cotton I wish I could keep it for a pet it’s so sweet my family enjoys seeing this deer in the yard for visits
    What is good to put out for Cotton to eat ?

  72. We live in Huntingdon Valley, Pa. 19006 and have seen an albino deer two times recently. The first siting three weeks ago and the 2nd siting just behind our home which borders a natural wooded park.
    Quite amazing and beautiful.

  73. All deer are sacred beasts! Let nature take care of its own.

  74. “I too have been fascinated by these deer since hearing those stories by my grandpa. A white deer intrigues me as a student of deer. They’re fascinating to observe and ponder. But, in this era of over-abundant whitetails – when we desperately need scientific management to protect our forests and biodiversity – we must move beyond the idea of the white deer as a sacred beast.” I couldn’t agree more with this statement. And the leucistic herd at the former Seneca Army depot has decreased over the years to less than 40. Maybe less than 25.

    1. Those numbers are severely inaccurate.
      Last census on the depot was 4 fawnings ago, about 80 white deer counted when our president Dennis money went up to count. We are hoping for a good window of weather this year to get a current count.

  75. My wife and I saw a white deer today 8/26/2019. In Newfane New York.

  76. My Wife and I saw a white deer today a fawn with 3 other brown deer in Newfane New York, Niagara County. Beautiful animal!

  77. When I was about 8 a white deer showed up in our suburban Long Island (NY) neighborhood. I had nevver seen ANY deer around there! A bunch of us kids started following it…for maybe 5 miles! When I got home and my mother asked what I had been up to, I told her. She flatly did not believe me. I was very pleased when there was a photo of the deer in the local paper the next day!

  78. I see a young white deer everyday where I take my morning run with its mother nearby in a county park. It has brown ears and eyes. Very special!

  79. I am an Ambassador for the Seneca White Deer. I would like to have a conversation with the gentlemen that wrote this article. The more I search for data on the subject, the more I realize the info put out is either partially correct, correct with a few hiccups or, just plain inaccurate. I find this article well written with maybe a couple of hiccups. My mission is to correctly put forth the info on these rare White Tails.
    So many things have happened since this article, enough for perhaps a follow up article. I will leave my email here -kellybiery@ymail.com– and hope to hear from you Mr. Miller.

  80. My wife and I saw a white deer in our subdivision in Woodstock, GA today (12/5/2019) around 4:00pm. It was female or a very young male and was standing in a neighbors yard just a few feet from the street. We stopped and were completely amazed as we didn’t know such a thing existed. It slowly walked away and hopefully went back into the woods.

  81. My Father just saw three white deer in a small herd a few weeks ago. His first sighting of white deer. I believe it was near his home in Irons Michigan.

  82. On Christmas Day 2019 as we were driving to my daughters house, along side the road my husband and I saw a white deer with a black spot over its left eye. It looked like maybe a yearling, not as large as most does we see. It just stood there on the shoulder about 10-15 feet from the road. This is in Leon County, Florida. We almost turned around to go back to take its picture but I figured it would be gone by then.

  83. I have a baby albino deer that I feed in my back yard each day. Quite relaxing.

  84. My name is Fred Neely……I have seen a albino deer in my community… it is stark white with black eyes an 3 spots on its neck an right shoulder..it is the most phenomenal thing I have ever seen……I live in greensboro NC…..I completely understand that this is a rare sighting and unusal freak in nature…this deer looks to be about 9 months old…….If you want to observe this albino deer in the wild call me at 202-423-5369..I am located in greensboro NC..THIS DEER IS NOT LIKE YOUR NORMAL DEER…….it seems to be un-afraid of human presence…….please call me an explain this quality an would you like an invitation to observe this unusual behavior……fred neely……..CALL ME………

  85. Matthew,
    We have a solid white fawn in the woods behind our home. Does anyone try to track these beautiful animals ? Today I got great pictures in our back yard. No spots I could see.

  86. I have a young deer hanging out with another young deer but this one young deer is more like the color of a Australian cattle dog killer not kill or healer It’s tail straight up from behind is solid black with a total white inside the whole body is kind of a grayish was a lot so white freckles everywhere have you ever seen such a thing or heard of one

  87. Thanks, Matthew. I saw this post when looking for scientific info about white deer. I just saw one in my local wood, in the north of Kent, England. It was dusk and I was the only person there. The deer appeared out of nowhere. We both stopped and stared at each other. Then it jumped into the woods. I felt so privileged.
    It didn’t look as white as in the photos in your post, but white all over and not an albino.

  88. I recently saw a white deer with darker markings on its face. As we were driving down the highway near Parry Sound, Ontario, we were unable to stop and get a picture. Was I correct in believing this was indeed a deer? I have never heard of a white deer before.

    1. Hi Mary,
      Thanks for your question. It does sound like you saw a deer. As the article points out, deer can be white with dark colors (what is called a “piebald” deer. Hope you get to see it again.

      Matt Miller
      Editor, Cool Green Science

  89. Hi Mathew
    I live in rural Ottawa And for the last couple of days There has been a young white buck at the back of my property so far I have been unable to get a picture as he is always in the sun I have lived here 20 years and until this week I have only seen brown does

  90. I saw and touched a white deer on my friends land. He had payed a lot of money for one. It was one of the most magnificent experience. I know this sounds weird but at that time I felt I was one with God. They pampered that deer. It seems the other deers had nothing to do with her. Unfortunately, this past year they found her in the field dead. There were no teeth marks so I guess they came to the conclusion something was wrong with her that took her life. The whole experience was amazing and I am so glad I witness her beauty.

  91. I hope no one kills this special animal. I live in Smyrna TN as well as my daughter. Her property Is located near the Army Reserve Facility in the rear of her home and a large fenced area one mile away. It is full of deer wild turkeys and so much wild life that is protected. It’s wonderful to see these beautiful animals and know they are safe.

  92. Apparently there was a white deer Killed here in north Canon City, Co The deer was tagged. Someone shot it, and gave the tag to a park ranger.. Sad

  93. Me and my friend saw a white doe in our lovely countryside … it was amazing..our first time to see a white doe .. we wanted to get a picture but she ran off .. we are hoping to go back tomorrow evening.
    Also we saw some more younger doe’s must have been 26 of them , then saw a young buck on the side of the road and he was looking lovely had white spots on him, wanted a picture but he ran off too.

  94. A white or almost totally white deer was in the area I hunt in. It was distinctive insofar as it was normal coloured on its right front quarter. One of the resident of the area first saw it as a fawn and it frequently fed in the field beside his house. She had at least one fawn every year. Her last year she appeared in this field one spring would lie down for a while get up move a few feet and lie down again, finally ahe made it back to the bush and was not seen again. the neighbour measured her age by the fact the year he first saw her was also the year one of the otherneighbours grand sons was born that year. When she disappeared/died it was her 18th year. Yes eighteen! She was larger than a normal coloured deer, I do have a picture of her with a normal deer. Usually in the fall during deer season she would be accompanied by any where up to 7 other does.

  95. I’m from PA retired AF and have lived all over the US & hunted wherever I lived. When I turned 12 & got my 1st shotgun, I hunted deer all over the county & farms where I lived and never have seen a white or spotted deer. The story of the “piebal” was extremely interesting. I’ll sure be looking for one now!

  96. I saw a piebald buck today he was beautiful all my years of hunting and living in the boondocks sure hope nobody kills him this year

  97. Hi my name is Teresa I was driving to get my granddaughter from work one morning and these deer came out on me and all of a sudden one white one never seen that in my whole life it was the most beautiful thing in the world.

  98. To think the white tails or full white bucks should be hunted and not reverend for their beauty is pure ignorance just humans destroying something else in this world because really all you care about is taking the land even if it means killing them all it’s people like you that are the real evil !!

  99. We live in northern Greenville county in SC. My husband has spotted a white deer several times in our area. He took a picture of it. It is truly a beautiful creature of God. I hope to see it myself someday.

  100. Have some pinebalds on my street we’ve been here 41 years and never seen one. We live in northern Conn. Yes, protect them!

  101. Me and my husband this evening just saw a white deer pink nose on our way to my mothers house… We live in southern il on outskirts of Carbondale il..it was beautiful..it was only about 4ft away from…never saw one until now.. Im 43..

  102. At About 16:30 on March 30, 2022, my daughter Nancy and I, observed a white deer, at the below location. Likely a piebald, it seemed to have some brown on the head. We couldn’t tell if it was a buck or a doe as it was about 300 metres from us at the time of sighting.

    By the time we stopped and I got my camera ready, it and 5 other deer, went into the bush, but I expect there may be more chances as this is local to our home. This is in the Rockburn, Québec area.

    Gordon Clark

    Gord in Rockburn QC

    1. Hi Gordon,
      Thanks for reporting your sighting. It sounds like a great sighting. I have removed the GPS coordinates before posting your comment, as the exact location could be used by poachers or others. It is generally not a good idea to list exact locations of wildlife online.


  103. My wife and I moved to Whidbey Island in the Puget Sound region. Piebald and leucistic fawns show up on our property every other years so far. Some of the does will have multiple fawns with one being standard color and the other leucistic. Last year two does had triplets with one leucistic fawn in the mix of six that slowly grazed the empty lot next to our home. Still have a cell phone photo of that mini-herd.
    The small community of 1,800 or so people that is about a mile away from our house has quite a few deer ambling across streets and stopping traffic (willingly). And the leucistic fawns and yearlings collect a crowd (herd?) of cars stopping to take cell phone photos. Wildlife on Whidbey is amazing.

  104. I live on an island in Puget Sound. We have had a population of leucistic deer mixed in with the general population for a very long time. They arent rare, but the lack of genetic variation and semi isolation might make them more populous here.

  105. Been living in NC for 40 years. Been on this property for 15 years. Just today saw a mom and her white fawn. It is a rural community so I hope no one shoots the fawn. I hope one of my trail cams has taken a picture of the fawn. Beautiful and so rare a sight.

  106. Hello. I know piebald deer have health problems but I’m wondering if albino deer also have problems Thank you enjoyed the article!

  107. Yesterday I was driving home from a trail and in the woods near Wisconsin Rapids, WI, and by the road was a white deer grazing. I jumped out of my truck and walked up to the deer within 5 feet. It looked at me several times and continued to graze. I spoke to the deer for a few minutes while it was trying to flick the flies from its face and back, and then I left. It did have pink eyes and a pink nose and no markings. I’ve grown up in the woods and always been able to get close to wild animals but the fact that the deer had no fear of me whatsoever seems odd. I conclude that this was a rare and beautiful moment or someone is feeding this beauty.