At what point does bagging a deer become a mercy kill? For years, residents of Cape Girardeau County, Missouri had been reporting sightings of a mature albino buck in the woods. One hunter in particular had been keeping an eye on the old buck, and this year he decided to harvest the animal. According to KFVS12, bowhunter Jerry Kinnaman shot the buck on his property on Tuesday, and he said that it was probably the best way for the old deer to pass.
Laid out on the ground, the buck bore signs of past battles and old scars. It is uncommon for any albino or white deer to survive into adulthood, much less old age, but this buck seems to have weathered the years. As Kinnamen showed in a video, the deer had almost no teeth left and had small, white hooves.
“He’s probably been shot a couple times by someone with a spotlight, probably been hit by a car a time or two,” the hunter claimed.
You can see a close up of the albino buck below:
Kinnamen believes that the deer is a true albino, although some have noted that the deer appears to have some pigmentation. Albino deer suffer from numerous health defects, including deformed limbs and poor eyesight, so many deer with the condition die shortly after birth. Those that survive will have to contend with predators, which will hone in on their strange coloring. Kinnamen said that it would only be a matter of time before the buck gets pushed out of the area by younger males, and eventually fall prey to either coyotes or a car accident.
“I would say that this is probably the last year he’d probably survive, you know, in the wild,” he said in the video.
Not everyone agrees that the hunter made the right choice in harvesting the animal. Some residents said they enjoyed having the deer around and will miss it, while others have criticized Kinnamen for taking what they believe is a “rare” animal. This is not the first time that a hunter has been disparaged for taking an albino or white deer, and in other instances there have even been death threats. Kinnamen, however, stood by his decision as the right thing to do.
“This is the buck of a lifetime […] he’s not my biggest deer, but he’s definitely the oldest and most unique deer that I’ll probably ever take in my life,” the hunter said.