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October 20, 2008

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Bourjaily: Weird and White

Andy Fielder of Junction City, Oregon sent these pictures in asking for help in ID-ing this white goose. He shot it out of a flock of similar-sized western Canadas during Oregon’s early Canada season. He thinks it’s a pure albino Canada and his taxidermist agrees. Any ideas?  Whatever it turns out to be, at the young age of 19 he’s already bagged the waterfowling trophy of a lifetime.


Me, I have never shot anything all white, although there used to be a white squirrel that lived in a grove across the gravel road from my old house. I figured it had enough problems dodging hawks and other predators without me bothering it, too. My barber has a half-white wild rooster pheasant on the wall of his shop, but I’ve never seen one myself. Anybody out there shoot anything all white, all black or just plain weird? 


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jersey pig

once i shot a pure white pheasant on a hunting preserve in nj (roosters or hens my be shot on private preserves in nj).

didnt get it taxidermied cause it was a stocked bird and it just didnt feel right to brag about it. tasted nice though. with the coyotes, foxes, and other assorted predators there is precious little natural game in nj so an albino in the field is highly improbable. damn cool looking though

Dr. Ralph

I've shot thousands of Crows and blackbirds which are pretty much all black, but I don't think that's what you're looking for. As far as weird I've shot a lot of bats in Grandpa's barn with a pistol and ratshot just because one bit my cousin when we were stacking hay...


Phil, you should visit Olney IL, they have a large colony of white squirrels.

In some places, it is ilegal to take a white deer.


A few years back I lived in eastern Pennsylvania, and we had quite a few white deer, I only saw white does though.



I have taken several black or melanistic (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/melanistic)Gray Squirrels over the years. They tend to be fairly common in my area. Have also taken a red or erythristic (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/erythristic)Eastern Wild Turkey Gobbler. Have also taken several mature, long beard turkey gobblers without spurs (no visible buds at all) and one completely without a beard which had 1 1/4 spurs. No sign of scarring where a beard should have been. I have seen plenty of turkey heans with beards.

Del in KS

A few years ago there was a white wild turkey hen living on the North side of Melvern lake in Kansas. I saw her at least 2 times. She was not snow white but had some feathers that appeared to be grey mixed with white. In the last 4 years I've bagged 3 Toms with multiple beards. One had 5 beards totaling 35 inches in length. The other 2 birds each had 3 beards.

Del in KS

My hunting buddy Dan Snowbarger is a Taxidermist. Last year He picked up roadkilled Coyote and a Skunk that was almost totally white. He one first prize in a contest with them. Mounted the skunk spraying the 'yote in the face.

Del in KS


Tell that guy to hide the thing. That's the AFLAC duck.haha


Well, it's not a snow goose or a swan.

Here in the Finger Lakes of Western New York the lake people released domestic ducks on the lakes that bred and bred with wild ducks. As a result we have some real mongrel waterfowl roaming around our conservation dept wants shot. However, there's no guidance as to how these mongrel ducks fit into a game bag, if there's a limit, etc. Our Conservation LO's say shoot all we can.

BTW pheasant season is on and my take is dismal again. The pup has put ten birds up and I've only put one in the freezer.

This afternoon: three-flushes. five-shells. Never touched a feather!!!!


I seem to recall there is a military reservation with a sizable population of albino white tails. It might be Ft. Dix, but I distinctly remember reading about the "ghost deer" and how their numbers had multiplied on the base without civilian hunters having access to thin the ranks by hunting. Aparently most are not pure white but sort of dappled or piebald in coloration.

Bernie Kuntz

Dammit, Mark-1, I wish someone could help you with those roosters. You are definitely doing something wrong. Is your head down on the stock? Are you completing your swing? Or are you lifting your head and stopping the gun? See the bird, swing the gun through the rooster, and fire. Don't aim the shotgun like a rifle. Instead, swing quickly and fire.

Karl Bechtel

I shot an all white doe in 2001. It was a true albino.



It's likely all the above. I went through a period like this before. I shoot A-class skeet even now in my age.

Tough shots though. The habitat was more like as person find grouse, not pheasants. BTW these are Manchurian birds. Much more sporting than the Szus'an.

One bird I thought I nailed. Me and the pup got within four-feet of the spot I figured the bird dropped when I got a big cackle and a flush. MY gun was empty!!!!

Same situation at another place me and a fellow w/two setters emptied our guns to compared notes and dogs. Our dogs put up three birds while we stared with empty guns.

The hunt gods are messing with me!!

jersey pig


i remember hearing about the albino herd on a base too. can't remember which 1 but i know its not fort dix. i'm within 50 miles of dix and no word of any albinos. unless its a national security secret


I jumped a pond several years back and shot the one lonely duck that was sitting on it. That darn thing just wouldn't fly off the water. I hooped, hollered, waved, and thought that bird was deaf or blind. Growing more and more irritated, I shot it on the water. Turns out it had a genetic defect: one wing. The other wing was just a small stump and never fully developed.

Duck Creek Dick

Off topic, but if young Andy works on that drill rig in the background, he has a tough career ahead of him. About 7 years of the mud, noise, grease, and graveyard shifts out in the rain was enough for me. Use a tag-line, Andy, and watch out for your fingers!


Never saw one myself but have heard stories of White Tail Deer around here that were white patched and some almost all white but not true albino, which is a total lack of pigment. I'm in N.Central PA BTW.
Have seen Black Squirrels on occasion, never lucky enough to be hunting when I saw them though.
Have seen Pure Black (as far as I could tell from a reasonable distance anyway) Skunks around here.
Did shoot a deer once that I swear was a Doe when I pulled the trigger but sprouted a set of antlers before I got to it, Honest!


Mark-1, A friend of mine had a similar problem. After a dissapointing small game season he took up trap shooting. Following year his hunting party would make him wait. After they all missed he would down the birds. He had to lose at poker just to let them feel better about themselves. ;))


The closed army post that is chock full of white deer is also in the finger lakes of upstate ny. Romulus army depot and it is still closed to hunting. we have had numerous deer in the area that were pibald. maybe a hole in the fence?

Steve S



I used to drive by this on the way to Cornell University. It is pretty cool. Ive seen up to 50 white deer in one passing.


Can't see all the head, but it might be a Trumpeter Swan. Protected species.

As for shooting all white things, how about these guys?



"I jumped a pond several years back and shot the one lonely duck that was sitting on it. That darn thing just wouldn't fly off the water. I hooped, hollered, waved, and thought that bird was deaf or blind. Growing more and more irritated, I shot it on the water. Turns out it had a genetic defect: one wing. The other wing was just a small stump and never fully developed." - Embarrassed

Thought you were going to say it was a decoy! :))))


Shooting albino deer is illegal here in Tennessee.

Happy Myles

Early one morning in 1950 while scouting for Mule deer preseason in northeastern California I came upon a normal colored doe with two black fawns. I was in fairly open timber and was able to observe them for some time. The doe feeding and the fawns goofing off. A truly special experience.

A year or so later, hunting opening weekend in the same area, I spotted a coal black forked horn standing broad side 30 yards away. Regulations required three points per side, so I enjoyed the sight, and let him go. I imagine he was one of the two fawns all grown up. A week later I found him dead about a mile away. Someone had killed the melanistic buck, looked the body over, and left it to rot. 58 years later I remember it like yesterday. Someone had no shame, nor conscience, and was a criminal as well


You have no idea how much I wish I'd shot something wierd...

I started hunting at near "mid-life" and so had to learn outright many things that others simply picked up through osmosis as they grew up. By my third year I was no longer dabbling but working hard on a strict budget to get skillful. I was spending time in the woods and I was reading all the hunting magazines trying figure out how to "get good" at hunting.

One principle that came through loud an clear from many articles and many sources was, "the ethical hunter only attempts the shot he knows he can make".

The day before deer season I was preparing a blind off an old logging road in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest (not really the best deer tactic in this area...). As I was dragging poles and brush through the forest, 75 yards out a "grey / gray", no matter how you spell it a "black and white mixed together = GREY" cougar stepped out of the brush and looked as if to say, "what the heck is making that racket in my woods?!?!?" My cougar tag was in my pocket but since deer season opened the following day, my rifle was in the truck. I drew my 357 sidearm, cocked it and heard the still small voice say, "the ethical hunter only takes the shot he knows he can make!"

I'd never planned to hunt with a revolver, just shoot an attacking bear / cougar in a pinch, so I'd never shot the 357 past 25 yards. "Where would the bullet land at 75 yards?!?!"

The cougar was obviously not hungry (which is why I didn't do any good shooting a deer that weekend) and so it would have nothing of my overture at a closer encounter. As I made an advance, it lost its curiosity, turned and disappeared into the thick brush, and up the near vertical mountainside.

You have no idea how much I wish the 357 bullet would drop at 75 yards. It would be nice if it dropped like, 2 feet or something. Or maybe would fly erratically at that distance. But no. It's right in the "pie plate" at 75 yards just like it is at 25.

This week I've been out in the same area. I've had fun hunting with my 14 year old but no cougar and no deer until after shooting light. Black Tail are a whole lot smarter than whitetail and a lot harder to take! Even the hunting magazines say so.

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