Piebald deer are beautiful creatures, seeing one on a game camera photo is always an exciting surprise. To see one in real life, even better!
On our hunting property, for years we have always seen piebald deer. Both in game camera photos and even catching glimpses of them during the day as well. They are all so unique looking and stick out like a sore thumb in the fall with no leaves on the trees!
Since we have so many in my area, I did a little research as to why that might be. According to
Upon further digging, I figured out why. The piebald gene is recessive, meaning both parents have to carry it, even if they are normal color deer themselves. Commonly it occurs in populations of deer that are isolated. The Hyde farm is on a peninsula of land. The deer on our property cross back and forth from the county park across the street and onto our property. Due to the overdevelopment of this area and loss of habitat, I would definitely consider our deer population one that would be considered isolated. This would explain why it seems we see more of these awesome looking deer than a lot of other hunters. Even hunters that are hunting on larger more rural properties.
Unfortunately, since they often occur due to inbreeding, they have been known to have certain abnormalities. Things like Roman noses, overbites, shorter than average legs, an arched spine and sometimes even deformed internal organs.
Under these natural conditions that tend to come along with piebaldism, they tend to not survive or reproduce as well as normal whitetail deer.
Hunters have differing opinions about killing piebald deer. Native American tradition says that if you kill an albino or piebald deer you will never kill another deer ever again.
Other hunters, would jump at the chance to take one. We have been watching a few piebalds on our property for a while now. Last year, on January 13, my boyfriend took one, a decent size doe. He killed another deer later in the season, so evidently, it didn’t bring him bad luck!
Even though they are only 1% of the whitetail deer population here in Maryland, they have been spotted all over, including Baltimore city. Can you imagine the traffic that would cause downtown?
I feel privileged to have the property we do and the opportunity to set game cameras, letting us get a look at what we have on our property. The only thing more exciting to see in a photo than a mature buck is a piebald deer. We are lucky we have seen quite a few!
Have you ever seen a piebald deer? Would you be superstitious about killing one? I’d love to hear stories of other hunters and their encounters with them!