There are rare deer types that you might have stumbled upon in your quest for hunting. Such deer types are a phenomenon when you happen to see one and raise many controversies when you kill one. Among the rare types are the all-White, piebald, and melanin deer.
Deer refers to the general name of all the mammals and species that belong to the Cervidae family. Its subspecies exist in most parts of the world except the extremely cold Antarctica. One deer marvel is their ability to grow and shed their impressive antlers every year. This article will uncover all the rare deer types, characteristics, and personalities influenced by their habitat.
The Rare Deer Types and Their Strange Personalities
What people refer to as the white deer is albino. An albino deer lacks all body pigment making it solid white with distinctive pink eyes, hooves, and nose.
Albinism in animals results from a recessive genetic trait that is missing. The gene that gives hair, skin color, and tissues its coloration is absent. One percent of whitetail deer suffers from leucism, which is also a recessive trait. Like albinism, leucism happens to most mammals.
For a fawn to be born an albino, both sets of parents must have the albino recessive trait. For example, if a buck that does not have the recessive albino gene mates with a doe that is albino, the offspring will not be an albino.
However, the offspring will carry the recessive gene trait and still maintain its normal skin pigmentation. Also, if both the buck and the doe mate and they each carry the albino gene, there is a 25 percent chance that the fawn will be an albino.
The chances of seeing an albino deer are one in every 30,000. It makes the white albino deer a rare deer type that most hunters will probably never get to see. An albino deer has so many handicaps in the wilds. Besides its visual deficiencies, the all-white color makes it visible to prey. It is extremely rare to come by a mature albino deer in the wild.
A piebald deer should not be confused with an albino. Piebalds are somehow more common to see in the wild than albino deer. Both piebalds and white deer are a result of a recessive genetic trait.
However, a piebald deer has a mix of white and brown colors. There are piebald deer that are almost all white, while others have patches of brown and white all over the body.
Both parents must carry the recessive gene for a fawn to be born as an albino or a piebald. Albino and piebald genes are nondominant, making the deer that exhibit these traits to be biologically inferior.
Studies show that piebald deer are only less than 2% of whitetails, making them fall among rare deer types. If you think seeing a piebald deer is rare, then an albino deer is the rarest and a marvel if you spot one in the wild.
Piebald and Albino Deer Management
There are many disadvantages associated with the recessive gene of piebalds and albino deer. It makes them visible to predators, including humans, shortening their lifespan.
Besides the distinct coloration, both piebald and albino deer suffer from physical deformities, including shortened jaws, deformed hooves, arched spines, and short legs.
It is illegal to hunt albino and piebald deer in some states in the United States. In Tennessee, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa are all protected zones for these rare deer types.
Though rare, there are cases where both piebald and albino deer live to old age without deformities. However, prey animals and lack of camouflage color make them stand out while other deer are out of sight.
The discussion of albino and piebald deer is often intriguing each fall as the hunting season opens up. But if you think spotting an albino deer is rare, then you are yet to see a black deer. A melanin whitetail is among the rare deer types in the world.
The odds of seeing a black deer are rare even for biologists who dwell in areas that they are likely to be present. Though not such much is known about the melanistic deer, here are some facts.
Melanistic Deer and Why Does It Occur?
A black deer is absent of any distinct coloration, such as white or brown pelage. You will find an all-black fur coat with brown or white tendencies under the tail’s ventral area for most melanin whitetail deer.
Similar to albinism and the piebald gene, the melanistic gene is also a recessive gene that allows color mutations. Melanism is random in mammals and results from the melanocortin 1 receptor gene (MC1R). Both whitetails and black deer can coexist in the same habitat.
Biological Significance of Black Deer
Melanism is rare, and a random mutation of genes across the whitetail’s population range. However, studies reveal that there are frequent sightings of black deer in other regions than others. It cannot be a coincidence or simple random mutations.
Unlike albino and piebald deer, melanism is an advantage in the wild that helps black deer blend into the habitat. The black deer’s survival rate is much higher, especially if it keeps hidden in the thick cover of the wild.
An attempt to explain the origin of melanism in deer poses it as an ancestral trait. It was perhaps instigated by conditions that favor a black deer some hundreds of years ago. But there is yet to be a definitive explanation from researchers and biologists.
Difference Between Black Deer and Blacktail Deer
A blacktail deer is a subspecies of the mule deer but smaller and darker in comparison. On the other hand, a black deer is a mutation of a whitetail deer’s skin color. Owing to its name, the blacktail deer has a stout brown or blacktop tail with a white underside.
In winter, the blacktail deer dons a brownish-gray coat and a reddish-brown coat in summer. Blacktail deer are overly sensitive as they have ears that move independently.
When a blacktail raises its tail, it reveals a white underside which communicates danger to nearby herds.
Management Implications of Rare Deer types
Hunters and deer management strategies of these rare deer types can barely work. There is no way to change the genetics of the deer population that roams freely. Whether the rare deer type is prey to other animals or human hunting has nothing to do with the anomaly. It is a personal choice to hunt or to skip hunting these unique and rare deer types.
Melanistic deer and ordinary whitetail deer have no other difference besides coat coloration. If you bag a black deer, it is safe to consume it just like whitetail venison meat.
These are the rare deer types with significant and unique traits. The ability of deer species to grow and shed its antlers every year is what unifies all deer species in the world. Also, most deer species are hunted for their meat, making them prey animals. To be clear, a piebald or albino white-tailed deer is just a genetic anomaly. It is susceptible to predators, whether humans hunt it or not.