By 09/13/2014 Read More →

A White-Tailed Piebald Surprise!

Ed and I went to watch Drew, our nephew, play baseball one day in July.  It was a good game and Drew’s team won.  We decided to take the long way home since it was such a pleasant summer evening.  We took the back road which winds its way along the Juniata RPiebald July 23iver for awhile and then along fields of corn and soybeans.  We planned on driving up the mountain to the power line that overlooks our hunting grounds to see if we could see any deer.  Ed was driving and I was looking around when I spotted some deer in a soybean field.  All of a sudden I noticed a little white shimmer in the field and I yelled at Ed to stop the truck.  He stopped and then we saw a white-tailed piebald surprise!  There were four deer, two does and two fawns, and the one fawn was covered with white fur.  We watched them feed in the soybean field until a car came and we had to move.  We turned around and drove back to the field so that I could take a few pictures of this rare piebald surprise.  I’ve seen a lot of deer during my years, but this was only the fourth piebald that I have ever observed in the wild.  This fawn had more white in its hide than the other piebalds that I have seen in the wild.  I watched in awe as this white-tailed piebald surprise grazed on soybeans for dinner.  July 23rd proved to be an extremely lucky day to take the long way home!

A Few Facts About Piebalds

Here are a few facts about piebalds in case if you are not familiar with them.  A genetic defect in white-tailed deer can produce brown and white spotted deer known as piebalds.  Studies show that less than one percent of white-tailed deer herds are piebald.  Piebalds may also have deformities such as short legs, arching of the back, bowing of the nose, and short lower jaws.  White-tailed deer with the piebald gene have a tough time surviving in the wild.  Deformities can make it hard to survive and they are also an easy target for predators without their natural brown camouflage.  Most hunters will live their lives and never see a piebald deer in the wild.

Looking for “Shimmer”

I have become fascinated with this white-tailed piebald surprise.  “Shimmer” is the name that I have been calling the fawn.  Looking for “Shimmer” is my favorite evening activity on weekends. We make the drive to that particular soybean field often to look for that small piebald fawn that has won a spot in my heart.  We have seen it five times now, and I have bPiebald August 9een able to take pictures four times.  The pictures do not always turn out very well because they are usually 100 to 200 yards away from the road.  I added the two best pictures that I took to this article so you can see this piebald fawn.  Two of our three grandchildren have seen their first piebald deer when we took them on a ride looking for “Shimmer” during a weekend visit.  We did not see that group of deer last weekend,  August 25th was the last time we saw the little piebald fawn.  I think about “Shimmer” often and I hope that it is safe with the rest of the group.  They were in a different field the one evening when we saw them so they may have moved to a different area, and I do my best to remain optimistic about seeing that little white piebald surprise again!  I hope that you are lucky enough to observe a  piebald deer during your time in the woods.  Thanks for reading and happy hunting to you all!

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Amy Sward

About the Author:

Hello, my name is Amy and I have lived in Central Pennsylvania all of my life. I was born into a family of outdoorsmen, hunting and fishing have always been part of my life. My dad started taking me hunting with him when I was a little girl. He also taught me how to fish for trout in local creeks. The first day of deer season and the first day of trout season were like holidays in our household. My grandfather enjoyed trapping and as a teenager I often went along with him to check the traps. Raccoons, red fox, and grey fox were harvested from the traps in the woods and muskrats were harvested from the traps by the Juniata River. I have many fond memories of trapping with my grandfather. I have enjoyed hunting small game and hunting whitetail deer in rifle season over the years. This year I am branching out and trying some new things. I went duck hunting in January and enjoyed it very much. I went spring gobbler hunting in May and loved it! I purchased a crossbow and will be entering the woods for white-tailed deer during archery season for the first time in October. I enjoy sharing my love of the outdoors with my family. Camping and kayaking are popular activities. I love to hunt and fish with my three nephews and my grandson. My two granddaughters enjoy fishing and hopefully they will show interest in hunting in the future. They love to go spotlighting for deer, and hopefully someday they will love to go hunting for them also.
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