Man harvests piebald deer with bow near Crane Pond

Keith O’Connor, pictured above, took this piebald buck with a bow Oct. 10.

Keith O’Connor, pictured above, took this piebald buck with a bow Oct. 10.

Keith O’Connor, a veteran bowhunter who has taken 23 bucks over the past 33 years with a bow, harvested his first piebald deer on Oct. 10.

O’Connor said he was amazed to see the buck coming down the runway at Antwine Hill behind Crane Pond and nearly missed his opportunity for a shot out of excitement and sheer amazement at the sight of the multi-colored buck. But he calmed himself and stopped him in a shooting lane he had brushed out earlier in the summer, and dropped the buck with a well-placed shot.

The piebald condition is caused by a genetic defect that occurs in less than 1 percent of the deer population. It is characterized by brown and white spots, similar to a pinto horse.

Some deer, like Ethan’s, are nearly all white.

In comparison, albinism is the condition where an animal has no pigmentation at all.

A true albino can be told from a totally white pie-bald deer, because its eyes will be pink. This is because — with no pigmentation — the eye color comes from the blood vessels in and behind the eye.

In wild populations approximately 1 in 50,000 whitetail deer are born albinos. Given the population in New York of about 1 million animals, that would mean only about 20 albinos exist in the wild.

At a frequency of less than 1 percent of the herd, piebald deer makeup about 9,000 or 10,000 animals of the 1 million deer in New York State.

According to DEC spokesman Dave Winchell, DEC receives reports of one or two piebald deer being taken by hunters in the Adirondacks each year.

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