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June 10, 2008

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Discussion Topic: Michigan Drops Albino Deer Ban

For the first time since the 1980s, Michigan hunters will be allowed to shoot albino deer this fall. But the backstory may be more interesting than the new regulation

In 2004, Emmet County hunter John Ingersoll shot an almost completely white deer and took some heat for it in the local papers. Eventually state wildlife officials determined that the deer was an albino but had stained parts of its fur brown by rubbing against trees and urinating on its legs, thus qualifying the deer as a piebald and therefore fair game. But Ingersoll claims he’s spent thousands of dollars trying to clear his name and isn’t going away quietly.

In short, it was a giant SNAFU, the likes of which the DNR would probably prefer to avoid—and now will.
What do you think? Good decision?

Comments

Joe

Absolutely a good decision. There's no good reason to protect albinos. The ban was silly sentimentalism to begin with.

Sexy Man

I agree with joe of course it is a good decision i mean come on if your are a TRUE hunter who hunts for the meat then it doesn't matter what color it is the meat is still good i calculated last year to show the Local Non hunters how much money i can save i shot 2 deer last year which gave me enough meat (hamburger, steaks, Etc.) to last me a whole year.( i do use a deep freezer to keep the meat good) i calculated tht it saved me about $800 in what i would have spent on tht kind of meat at the grocery store Annually now everyone's different thats only for me my wife and daughter for some Families tht kind of meat might not have lasted but with gas prices and everything else going up its a great way to save money in my opinion not to mention how fun it is..
P.S.- i butcher my own meat to save money and to make sure i get the WHOLE deer..Also we eat a lot of meat in my house thts why the $ amount is so high

Signed,
The Sexiest Man Alive!!!!

JohnR

Good decision! Albino deer are genetic defects and should be culled for the betterment of the herd. I don't understand the man's beef with DNR since he was never charged with a crime.

John Ingersoll

Excuse me but DNR biologist Cooley in writing wrote "the deer eyes were pigmented (which by definition eliminates this animal as being albino)"

The deer had brown eyes documented, brown hair the term is called piebald.

as moeggs

John Ingersoll, what is yor beef with the DNR? They checked to see if was an albino and case closed right? Fill us in.

Michigan hunter

As a longtime Michigan deer hunter, I have been following this issue for many years. The most prevalent argument against shooting albino deer always falls back to superstition. IMO, what a bunch of voo-doo BS. If you really want to stay on the good side of the "Deer Gods", never litter, never trespass, mentor a kid, and practice-practice-practice.

His eight-point buck had brown eyes and patches of brown fur, by definition a piebald deer, not an albino or all-white deer, a fact later confirmed by DNR scientists.
http://www.record-eagle.com/wednesday/local_story_156094059.html

Several days later, Ingersoll brought the deer to the Department of Natural Resources office in Indian River to verify that it was indeed a legal animal. Employees from both wildlife and law enforcement divisions inspected the buck and agreed with John that it fit the legal description of a piebald. John posed with the deer for photos that appeared in a local newspaper and dropped the animal off with a taxidermist to have a full mount done.

Examination of the samples taken from John's deer confirmed that they had not been tampered with, verifying, once again, that the deer was legal under Michigan law. The buck Ingersoll shot was also aged at 2 1/2 years old, meaning it couldn't be the albino that local people had been feeding for four years. And, in fact, the albino buck John was suspected of shooting was later seen alive.

http://www.woods-n-waternews.com/Articles-i-2008-06-01-179043.112113_Hunters_persistence_may_result_in_law_change_regarding_albino_deer.html

The Wildlife Conservation Act Order states - 3.100(2) It shall unlawful for a person to take or possess, at anytime, an albino deer, being a deer with all white or colorless hair, or a deer with a coat of all white hair similar to an albino deer. Piebald, or partially white deer, may be taken under the provisions of this order.

peter

there is NO GOOD REASON TO BAN SHOOTIN ALBINO DEER. it is retatred anybody should be able to hunt any kind of deer. at least there is no ban in PA, and now Michigan

William

It's gotta be tough to survive as an albino deer. When they're younger they don't have the best of camo to hide from natural predators. I couldn't care less if a person hunts an albino deer but I would give a full grown adult albino deer due respect for surviving that long with a pigment handicap.

John Ingersoll

This is my problem with the MDNR

To view this post with documents please go to http://www.hunting.net/forum/tm.aspx?m=2724486

Citizen loses much defending himself against MDNR misconduct!

The writing is by John Ingersoll, and the facts of the case are documented by him.

"I would like to share my experience about my unusual harvest and the problems that incurred.

I would like to start with educating others on the legal and genetic definition of albino deer, white deer and piebald deer."

Does the DNR Condone misconduct by Officers?

I have been a hunter for over 25 years, but never in my years of hunting, have I ever experienced such an unusual sight as the one I did in Emmet County on December 19, 2004.

It was an 8 point, 98 % white whitetailed deer! Now before we get off track, this deer was a legal piebald deer.

It was partially white and did not have pink eyes like an albino deer would exhibit.

I would like to share my experience about my unusual harvest and the problems that incurred.

I would like to start with educating others on the legal and genetic definition of albino deer, white deer and piebald deer.

The Wildlife Conservation Act Order states - 3.100(2)

It shall unlawful for a person to take or possess, at anytime, an albino deer, being a deer with all white or colorless hair, or a deer with a coat of all white hair similar to an albino deer. Piebald, or partially white deer, may be taken under the provisions of this order.

Legal Description

• Albino – a deer with all white or colorless hair (pink eyes)

• White – a deer with all white or colorless hair similar to an albino deer. (brown eyes)

• Piebald – a partially white deer (brown eyes)
Genetic Description

• Albino

“True albinism is due to lack of pigment. A true albino deer will have all white hair, grayish hooves and pink eyes. The eyes appear to be pink because, in the absence of pigment, the blood can be seen coursing through the blood vessels.” (The deer of North America by Leonard Rue 3, pg 182)

• White

“The Seneca Army Depot in New York State has an entire herd of white deer. Although their coats are white, their eyes are brown and not pink, as in true albinism.” (The deer of North America by Leonard Rue 3, pg 182,183)

• Piebald

“Partially white, or piebald, deer are the color mutation hunters are most likely to see, being far more common than melanistic, albino or all white deer. Piebalds tend to be highly variable in color patterns, ranging from a few white spots to mostly white with a trace of brown. In albinos, none of the cells can produce melanin. In piebald’s, at least some cell can produce pigment. This causes a spotting of coat colors, with some area appearing normal and others white.” (John Ozoga’s Whitetail Intrigue, Scientific Insights for White-tailed deer hunters, pg 142,143)

Below is a time table of events regarding the unlawful action of three MDNR officers (“Lieutenant”, “Sergeant” and “CO”).

12-19-04 John Ingersoll harvested an 8 point piebald deer.

12-21-04 John Ingersoll voluntarily took the piebald deer to the MDNR Field Office in Indian River.

• Confirmed piebald deer by 3 DNR biologists

1-06-05 MDNR confiscated sections of deer hide for testing

• MDNR had no warrant

• MDNR damaged hide due to seizure

1-12-05 MDNR aged the piebald deer

• The deer was aged at the Rose Lake Lab as a 2.5 year old male.

1-20-05 MDNR testing results Necropsy Record (see below)

• The deer’s eyes were pigmented – which by definition eliminates this as being an albino deer.

2-19-05 MDNR testing results Toxicology Report (see below)

• And hair tested negative for petroleum hydrocarbons. We did not find any manmade chemicals on the skin.

7-11-06 DNR “Lieutenant” Deposition

• Testified under oath that the deer Ingersoll shot was an albino

• “Lieutenant” under oath refused to answer questions and was uncooperative

8-22-06 DNR “Sergeant” Deposition

• Testified under oath the deer Ingersoll shot was an albino

• Testified under oath that an albino deer is legal to kill under certain circumstances

• Testified under oath that John Ingersoll’s case was reviewed by the Cheboygan County Prosecutor for possible prosecution.

12-01-06 Civil Lawsuit filed by Ingersoll in Cheboygan County was dismissed

• Dismissed due to the false testimony of “Lieutenant” and “Sergeant”

Now that we have a time line of events, let’s talk about some document facts. How MDNR officers violated my Constitutional Rights, perjured themselves and obstructed justice….
__________________________*******___________________________
Constitutional Rights

I feel my Constitutional rights were violated by the MDNR due to the fact that they had no warrant to confiscate and destroy my property.

MDNR position
Their response to this allegation was MDNR has the authority to do routine inspections at any taxidermist.

My Position

Although it is correct that the DNR regulates the Taxidermist businesses and is able to inspect said Taxidermist specimens at any time. The law does not provide an avenue to confiscate ones property without a warrant. Which the DNR did not have!

It is also a severe problem that the deer was thawed out and refrozen, causing damage to the hide that was non-repairable.

This term is called slippage and is defined as hair falling out of the hide.

1. Taxidermist – Records and Inspection Law – 3. A person issued a taxidermy permit shall keep a copy of the identification tag (PR9418) for each specimen disposed of for one year after disposal of any specimen. This record and all specimens in possession of the taxidermist shall be available for inspection at any reasonable time of day by the Director, the Director’s designee or any conservation officer.

It has also been stated in a deposition that “Sergeant” told the taxidermist to destroy my documentation. Even though the law states above that he must obtain his records for one year.

MDNR Officers perjured themselves

MDNR position

“Lieutenant” testified under oath that the deer had pink eyes and was an albino deer and my case was reviewed by the Cheboygan County Prosecutor for possible prosecution.

My position

The DNR Incident Report concluded the deer was a piebald deer. Examined hands-on by two biologists and verified by a biologist at the Gaylord Operations Office.

The MDNR Necropsy Record clearly stated “The deer’s eyes were pigmented- which by definition eliminates this as being an albino deer.”

“Sergeant” testified that the deer had brown eyes.

Pictures of the deer’s eye color were taken and filed at the MDNR showing the deer’s eye color as brown.

The Cheboygan County Prosecutor Office has no record of any case being reviewed by their office regarding this piebald deer.

Through a Freedom of Information request, I received the daily activity reports of both “Sergeant” and “CO”, none of these officers were even at the Cheboygan County Building in the time frame of the investigation.

MDNR position

“Sergeant” testified under oath that the deer was an albino deer and my case was reviewed by the Cheboygan County Prosecutor for possible prosecution.

Also testifying that it is legal to kill an albino deer under certain circumstances.

My position

The DNR Incident Report concluded the deer was a piebald deer.

Examined hands on by two biologists and verified by a biologist at the Gaylord Operations Office.

The MDNR Necropsy Record clearly stated “The deer’s eyes were pigmented- which by definition eliminates this as being an albino deer.”

The Cheboygan County Prosecutor Office has no record of any case being reviewed by their office regarding this piebald deer.

Through a Freedom of Information request, I received the daily activity reports of both “Sergeant” and “CO”, none of these officers were even at the Cheboygan County Building in the time frame of the investigation.

The MDNR Wildlife Conservation Act Order clearly states “It is unlawful for a person to take or possess, at anytime, an albino deer.”

MDNR Officers Obstructed Justice

Due to the direct false testimony of these DNR Officers a Civil Lawsuit filed by myself in Cheboygan County was dismissed on 12-01-06.

Honorable Judge Scott. L. Pavlich in the Cheboygan County Court based his ruling on the testimony of these DNR Officers.

This action has caused me and my family severe hardship! Due to the actions of some corrupt officers I have lost my business, spent thousands of dollars in expenses, maxed out all our credit, sold everything of value including my deer rifle and many, many sleepless nights.

I have gone though the proper channels, I have tried to resolve all the items listed above to no prevail….

Attempted Resolution of Issues

8-23-07 - Contacted the Officers directly

8-23-07 - Contacted the Officers Supervisors – Chief Alan Marble / Captain Kurt Bacon

8-23-07 Received meeting request form - Attorney Generals Office / Denise

8-23-07 Talked with Barbara Schmidt –Attorney Generals Office

8-28-07 Sent Retraction Letters to the Officers certified mail

8-31-07 Received call from - Attorney Generals Office / Barbara Schmidt

9-18-07 Contacted the Attorney Generals Office / Barbara Schmidt

9-20-07 Contacted my State Representative Gary McDowell Office / Dan

10-16-07 Met with Acting Chief of Law Enforcement / Rodney Stokes

2-5-08 Mailed meeting request to DNR Director Rebecca Humphries Office / certified mail

2-5-08 mailed meeting request to Attorney General Office / certified mail

2-20-08 Contacted my State Representative Gary McDowell / Jennifer

2-21-08 Contacted the U.S. Attorney’s Office

2-22-08 Contact Governor Granholm’s Office

2-28-08 Contacted the U.S. Attorneys Office

2-28-08 Received Correspondence from Governor Granholm’s Office

2-28-08 Contacted DNR Director Rebecca Humphries Office

2-28-08 Contacted NRC Board member/ J.R. Richardson

2-29-08 Contacted my State Representative Gary
McDowell / Dan

2-29-08 Contacted by DNR Director Rebecca Humphries Office / Mary Dunstan

3-06-08 spoke at NRC meeting in Lansing

Does the MDNR Condone misconduct by its Officers sworn to uphold the law?

How does an average citizen settle questionable unlawful actions by an officer sworn to uphold the law.

Well, at this time, I am sad to report, I do not have an answer yet!

If the tables were turned and any citizen was accused of half the stuff these officers have been accused of, immediate attention would be given.

A private citizen should not have to obtain an attorney and file a lawsuit to have their basic rights exercised.

Letter from MDNR Director
REBECCA A. HUMPHRIES
March 13, 2008

Mr. John Ingersoll
7170 Tuscarora Circle
Indian River, Michigan 49749

Dear Mr. Ingersoll:

This letter will respond to the documents received by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on February 6, 2008.

On February 28, the Governor's office forwarded your e-mail to me and asked that I respond to it on behalf of the Governor.

In both the e-mail and from the documents you have provided, I have determined that you contend the following three things: 1) your Constitutional rights were violated, 2) that DNR Law Enforcement personnel intentionally and willfully provided misleading and false testimony resulting in the dismissal of your civil action, and 3) that the DNR's role in these events damaged your reputation.

Let me establish at the beginning, that I have undertaken this review with no prejudice as to the outcome and with an open mind in an effort to provide you with a fair opinion and response to the issues you have presented.

Violation of Constitutional Rights

In your e-mail to Governor Granholm, you allege that your Constitutional rights have been violated by the DNR. In reviewing the documents pertaining to the collection of the hair and hide sample, I assume you believe that those materials were collected illegally as a violation of the 4th Amendment.

Q: "Well, don't you think that that's a 4th amendment search and seizure violation, without a warrant?"

Acting Law Enforcement Chief, Rodney Stokes, addresses this question in his December 13, 2007 e-mail, to which I refer in part:

"It was “Sgt” decision to obtain a small hide sample from the taxidermist shop. Since it was at a location where no expectation of privacy was expected or requested, and it was a business that is regulated under DNR laws where we do routine inspections, the DNR did not believe a search warrant was necessary."

While I do not personally have a working knowledge of the various investigative protocols in this case, the actions taken by these officers do not seem unreasonable.

The collection of the hide and hair samples proved to be instrumental in determining that the deer you harvested had naturally occurring brown spots.

This was critical in concluding that this deer could legally be harvested.

I must disagree that these actions were inappropriate, considering how they supported your assertion that this was a legal deer.

Obstruction of Justice and intentionally providing False Testimony

In the written documents you provided, and in addition to your testimony at the March 6, 2008
Natural Resources Commission meeting, you accuse two current and one former Law Enforcement officers of obstruction of justice and perjury.

Based upon the very serious nature of these allegations, I paid particular attention to the testimony given by the officers in question.

From the materials provided, which did not include the full text of each deposition, I do not agree that these officers intentionally provided false testimony.

My review of their testimony simply did not reveal this intentional and coordinated effort to mislead.

However, if you believe that these accusations can be proven, I would recommend that you notify local law enforcement or your county prosecutor's office.

These officers should have an opportunity to formally respond to these allegations.

Restoration of Your Reputation

Our officers investigated the question of whether or not your deer was a legally killed deer or an illegally killed deer.

That investigation determined that it was a legally killed deer.

You were not criminally charged, and you were not issued a citation.

The fact that you were not charged or ticketed should serve as evidence enough that you legally killed that deer.

As a matter of course, the Department does not publish otherwise legal behavior in the newspaper.

It is the duty of these officers to investigate complaints, which in this case they did, and based upon that investigation no further inquiries into the matter were made.

Again, you were not charged with a crime, nor were you issued a ticket.

If others, as a result of a media report, believed otherwise, that is unfortunate.

If you feel that you have been or are unfairly portrayed in the media, perhaps writing a letter to the editor clarifying that you were never charged nor ticketed would help put the matter to rest.

As I indicated in the previous paragraph, the fact that you were never charged with a crime or issued a citation is testimony enough to the fact that the DNR believes this was a legally killed deer.

Conclusion

Your situation has helped reveal to the Department that the rules and regulations relating to albino deer need to be changed.

Over 20 years ago, the protections for albino deer were written in statute.

As the environmental and natural resources laws were codified in the early 1990s, that law was converted to a regulation in the Wildlife Conservation Order.

I have asked our Wildlife Division to prepare an order for the Natural Resources Commission that would make the harvest of an albino deer legal in the State of Michigan.

Truly, in cases whether it is initially difficult to determine whether a deer is legal or not is burdensome to the hunter.

Moreover, there is no compelling scientific reason to protect these deer as albinism represents a mutation that is not desirable in a deer herd.

You have obviously gone to great effort to resolve this matter, and I understand the time and resources you have committed to that resolution.

The DNR has also committed a great deal of its time and resources to resolving this matter as well.

This letter represents the final determination of the Department and, from this point forward, we consider the matter closed.

I thank you for bringing the matter to my attention.

Rebecca A. Humphries
Director
517-373-2329

cc:
Governor Jennifer Granholm
Representative Gary McDowell
Natural Resources Commission
Mr. Peter Manning, Assistant Attorney General
Ms. Mindy Koch, Resource Management Deputy, DNR
Mr. Daniel Eichinger, Acting Legislative Liaison, DNR
Mr. Rodney Stokes, DNR

Timothy

I have seen a few of these white deer the other deer and have seen them as a burden to the herd. as far as John Ingersoll case he had links to his myspace page so the public could see the damage to the hide. He has been harassed by the public and even some of his peer's... over what shooting a legal Deer.. If I see one this hunting season it will go down and will be seen by all... if you like them don't shoot them... to me they are a rare trophy as well as meat.

John Ingersoll

The Michigan DNR may break my bank account, but they will never break my spirit. I will fight this injustice until it is resolved! Much more to come...................

John Ingersoll

http://collect.myspace.com/reloc.cfm?c=18&fuseaction=viewImage&imageID=14789302&friendID=171521767&id=

Tom Piper

I am glad to see the Albino rule removed. It was a dump law to begin with. The MDNR is got a winner on this one!

Rolland Stolt

Boy, Ingersoll really got screwed over by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. I hope he is able to get the officers involved prosecuted for their abuse of authority!

GO GET-EM JOHN

Walt Smith

I don't care if the deer is brown, piebald or white. If it has horns or it's a legal big doe it's going down and in the freezer!! I'll let you know if they taste any different than the rest.

John Ingersoll

The U.S. Federal Attorneys Office has received documentation rearding the allegations of DNR miscounduct and perjury charges.

Rolland Stolt

If these guys are guilty, I hope they let them have it with everything they can think of. Law Enforcement Officers are not above the law! And should get twice the punishment if found guilty. They are supposed to set an example........

John Ingersoll

Michigan Hunter files Petition to Supreme Court

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hunter files petition to Supreme Court!

Indian River resident John Ingersoll has filed a petition for Application for Leave to Appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court in Pro Per (representing himself). This decision could affect all sportsmen and women throughout the state of Michigan. Ingersoll’s opinion is a hunter should be able to hunt legally without harassment and being accused of criminal activity. We must stand-up for our god given right to hunt and fish in our state.

This lawsuit arose because of Defendants’ false and defamatory statements that turned many members of the community against the Ingersoll, seriously damaging his reputation. The Defendants wrote letters-to-the-editor of local newspapers that accused Ingersoll, a deer hunter, of killing an 8-point albino buck that was a neighborhood pet that the Defendants had been feeding for four years. Ingersoll’s buck was a 2½ year-old piebald, not an albino, and was taken several miles from Defendants’ neighborhood. Ingersoll demanded retractions of Defendants’ false statement but they refused.

On December 19, 2004, Ingersoll was legally deer hunting on private land in Emmet County, Michigan. It is undisputed that he had permission to hunt the property, was properly licensed, was wearing the required amount of hunter orange, was using the proper firearm, was hunting during the legal hours, and was using legally-prescribed hunting methods.

Late in the afternoon he saw a buck emerge from the woods about 200 yards away. The buck appeared to have an 8-point rack, but its coat was white, not the normal brownish coloration of whitetail deer. He studied the deer through his binoculars but did not observe pink eyes which are a distinguishing characteristic of an albino. He did observe distinct patches of dark hair on its head and hocks against the white coat which distinguished the deer as a piebald.

At the time this action was filed, The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has enacted a clear and simple hunting regulation regarding the taking of albino deer. (However, Ingersoll’s situation reversed the law when the Natural Resources Commission repealed the provision on the DNR Order 3.100(2), effective June 6, 2008 and it is therefore no longer unlawful to hunt albino deer in Michigan):

MDNR ORDER 3.100 (2) It shall be unlawful for a person to take or possess, at any time, an albino deer, being a deer with all white or colorless hair, or a deer with a coat of all white or colorless hair similar to an albino deer. Piebald, or partially white deer, may be taken under the provisions of this order.

Knowing that the deer was legal quarry he killed the buck, tagged it and took it home. Realizing the large amount of white hair may present a legal question, on December 21, 2004 Ingersoll took the buck to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Field Office in Indian River. Two DNR wildlife biologists, a wildlife technician and a conservation officer thoroughly inspected and photographed the deer. They concluded that the deer was not an albino or white deer; it was a piebald buck that was legal to take.

Ingersoll took the deer to several locations where deer hunters congregated where additional photographs were taken, newspapers published photographs of Ingersoll and his buck, along with several letters-to-the-editor that accused Ingersoll of shooting the “neighborhood’s pet Albino deer.

Neighbors upset by killing of “albino” deer
Who killed our friend for a trophy? Please be advised that on Monday, December 20, 2004, someone from Indian River shot and killed the neighborhood’s pet “Albino” deer. We have been lovingly feeding this pretty animal for four years. The DNR said it was a legal kill – but having been as close as 10 feet from this pet deer one of us was unable to see any brown markings. The stain observed by DNR was quite possibly a discharge from hind quarters and the small stain on forehead could be from tree rubbing. The neighbors and surrounding friends are very, very upset over the killing for a “trophy.” Saddened and broken hearted.............

Deer should have been protected
I would like to know what the law is, or how the DNR stands with killing an albino deer. Webster’s dictionary defines albino as: a person, animal, or plant lacking normal coloration. I was told the white buck that lived in the Burt Lake area was shot by a hunter and killed. This news has saddened myself and others. If the law doesn’t protect these animals, who will? I know the people in the area tried – even hunters wouldn’t shoot him if he came into their bait pile. I come from a family of hunters, but some living beautiful animals should be protected...........


Sad to hear white deer was killed
After receiving the sad news on Christmas eve about someone shooting the white deer near Alanson, I felt I needed to let people know how sad it really is. As a relative of people who watched this young buck grow and blossom since birth and then to watch them be so broken hearted over his death, I feel the people who live in Northern Michigan and appreciate its miracles and beauty should know that a young man looking for a “trophy” shot and killed the most beautiful sight I have ever seen! It’s just so sad...........


These statements triggered an avalanche of negative public sentiment against Ingersoll , convincing them that Ingersoll: 1) committed an illegal act by killing an albino deer, and 2) committed an immoral, reprehensible, repugnant act by killing a deer that was the “neighborhood’s pet.” Ingersoll attempted to correct the misconception explaining the true facts, showing photographs of his deer, and even having the deer mounted so he could display it to prove he did not shoot the “neighborhood’s pet albino deer.” His attempts to clarify the facts did not correct the impact of the untrue statements about Ingersoll in the letters-to-the-editor.

Then, on January 18, 2005, a letter-to-the-editor from another Defendant appeared in the newspaper that incited further community outrage:

Beautiful deer slain
To say that your article and the picture of the Albino deer that was killed near Alanson saddened us would not be the correct choice of words. I also believe that the referring to Mr. Ingersoll as a hunter would not be correct. I am but one of the many residents of the area who have enjoyed viewing this deer over the past years. I have both movies and pictures of this beautiful animal.

Reports are that the deer had a small brown spot near its back foot. I would like to know how Mr. Ingersoll could see such a spot with the amount of snow that we had on the ground on the day that he killed this animal. This deer has been cared for by the residents of this area for years and was almost as tame as our house pets.

Many of us wonder how Mr. Ingersoll dispatched the animal: did he use his pocketknife or just a stick that he picked up off the ground? I have been a deer hunter for more than 50 years and have never needed a deer bad enough to end the life of such a beautiful animal. I am very happy to say that I know of no real hunter who feels any different than I.

When the community read Defendant’s assertion that “This deer has been cared for by the residents of this area for years and was almost as tame as our house pets” the reputation and image of Ingersoll was further degraded. People made disparaging and hostile remarks to Ingersoll and his family when they were in restaurants and other public places and some even threatened to come to Plaintiff’s house and shoot his dogs. Students and teachers who held Ingersoll in low esteem because of the letters to the newspapers harassed Ingersoll’s teenage daughter at school, and Ingersoll’s wife received a hostile telephone call from a Defendant, one of the authors of a defamatory letter to the editor, resulting in a complaint to the Tuscarora Township Police Department.

On January 7, 2005, DNR Conservation Officer Michael Feagan wrote an Incident Report, reviewed by his supervisor DNR Sgt. Greg Drogowski, where he reported that DNR wildlife experts agreed that Ingersoll’s deer was not an albino.

The deer was examined at the Indian River Field Office by retired Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Biologist Doug Whitcome, Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Technician Greg Whittaker, and me. There was obvious brown coloring on the head of the deer and on the inside of both rear hocks. It was determined by all involved that the deer met the legal requirements to be considered a piebald.

Photos of the brown coloration on the deer were taken and e-mailed to Lieutenant Gaither who presented them to wildlife biologist at the Gaylord Operations Office. They confirmed from the photos that the deer was a piebald.

Because some of the Defendants accused Ingersoll of fraudulently coloring the hair of his piebald buck, the DNR initiated a criminal investigation of the legality of the deer.

A He commented that Mrs. Defendant and Mr. -- Mrs. Defendant - not Mister -- were at his place of business, and he told me they were there for approximately three to five hours, and they came with an 18-inch stack of Polaroid pictures of a deer since birth, and ranting and raved that -- this was in his words -- and stayed there. And then the DNR officer stopped by. He didn't say -- he didn't give me a name of which one. And he commented how Mrs. Defendant and Mrs. Defendant chewed the DNR officer out, and told him they weren't doing their job, and the deer was illegal, and so on and so forth, and that he needed to do his job. And apparently he went back and somebody cut some holes in the hide.

DNR Sgt. Greg Drogowski testified in his deposition that this was a criminal investigation.

Q Now, is there any reason why you didn't contact
Mr. Ingersoll to ask if you could --
A Yes.
Q -- take samples?
A Yes.
Q And why not?
A Because in criminal investigations, if I would have done
that, it's a possibility the deer hide would disappear
before a sample could be taken.

DNR Pathologist Thomas Cooley received the hair samples at the DNR’s Wildlife Disease Laboratory in Lansing where he made the following determination:

The eyes were pigmented (which by definition eliminates this as being an albino animal), but there was a question regarding the staining of the fur in the two areas as to whether they were stained naturally or by the hunter through painting or staining the areas with some type of petroleum product.

Pathologist Cooley then sent the hair samples to the Michigan State University OCPAH for further testing by toxicologist Wilson K. Rumbeiha who concluded:

HISTORY: The animal was reportedly seen earlier in the summer and fall with a pure white coat. When harvested, the animal had brown on the head and torsal area. Because albino deer are protected by law, there is a question as to whether or not the stain on the fur was due to the hunter painting or staining the hair with some type of petroleum product.

TEST COMMENT: Skin and hair tested negative for petroleum hydrocarbons. We did not find any manmade chemicals on the skin.

Ingersoll had submitted the head of his buck to the DNR for aging and testing for bovine tuberculosis. DNR Wildlife Veterinarian Stephen M. Schmitt mailed the results, which stated:

Your deer, TB Tag #258627, submitted on 12/28/04 was aged at the Rose Lake Lab as a 2.5 year old male. No evidence of tuberculosis was found in this deer.

On May 15, 2005, Ingersoll sent certified letters to Defendants demanding that each of them retract their false assertions that led the public to believe that Ingersoll killed their “neighborhood’s pet albino deer,” which, if true, constituted a criminal act.

After allowing seven months to pass without seeing a retraction or receiving a response from any of the Defendants, Ingersoll filed a defamation lawsuit on December 29, 2005 against the seven individuals who wrote defamatory letters-to-the-editor. The fact that they asserted, or imputed that the Plaintiff committed a crime constitutes defamation per se.

MCL 600.2911 (1) Words imputing a lack of chastity to any female or male are actionable in themselves and subject the person who uttered or published them to a civil action for the slander in the same manner as the uttering or publishing of words imputing the commission of a criminal offense.

In response to the lawsuit, Defendants hired four attorneys. The four opposing attorneys immediately launched a rigorous barrage of discovery requests, and Ingersoll provided extensive and detailed answers, including a list of some 60 witnesses, including their addresses and descriptions of the subjects upon which they may be called to testify. Ingersoll provided exhibits supporting his contention that the deer he took was not the four-year old albino that the Defendants had been feeding in their backyards. This issue has been in contentious dispute from the outset, the subject of numerous depositions and resulting in the submission of an extensive array of documents, photographs and videos.

The case was dismissed form Cheboygan Circuit Court on November 20, 2006, a final order was filed with the Court on December 4, 2006.

On March 16, 2007 Ingersoll / Appellant filed a Claim of Appeal in the Michigan Court of Appeals along with all the proper documents. On July 18, 2007, Fred Trost, Ingersoll / Appellants Attorney, suddenly died. Ingersoll retained new council and a Notice of Appearance was filed on October 31, 2007.

On September 9, 2008 Oral Arguments were heard at the Michigan Court of Appeals.

It is from the Court of Appeals on September 16, 2008 affirming the granting of summary disposition to Defendant’s Renewed Motion for Summary Disposition under MCR 2.116(C)(8) and (10), which the Court granted as relief to all Defendants on all issues, that this appeal is taken.

View the Michigan Court of Appeals decision here http://coa.courts.mi.gov/docum.....28.opn.pdf

On October 28, 2008 Ingersoll filed an Application for Leave to Appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court, Brief in support of Application, Notice of Hearing and Proof of Service.

Several sporting magazines and articles have appeared throughout the State, regarding this situation and the repeal of the provision on the DNR Order 3.100(2.

John Ingersoll

Traverse City Record Eagle

“INDIAN RIVER -- John Ingersoll had no idea that shooting a rare "piebald" deer would lead to years of battles with state wildlife officials and some of his neighbors.

The Indian River resident's case is the catalyst for a proposed change in Michigan hunting laws that would remove protection for albino and other genetically mutated all-white deer.
The Natural Resources Commission will consider the proposal Thursday in Lansing.

The state's about-face is good policy, Ingersoll believes, but it doesn't go far enough, and doesn't account for the thousands of dollars he lost in a lawsuit he hoped would clear his name.
"I feel the reason they changed the law is to throw me a bone and hope that I'll go away," he said.

In December 2004, Ingersoll shot a predominantly white deer while hunting in Emmet County and took it to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources field office in Indian River.
His eight-point buck had brown eyes and patches of brown fur, by definition a piebald deer, not an albino or all-white deer, a fact later confirmed by DNR scientists.

Not everyone would kill a white deer, Ingersoll acknowledged, but he believed he had the legal right to do so and he wanted the trophy. A full body mount of the animal resides at an in-law's house.

News of Ingersoll's kill quickly spread, and the loss of the unusual creature distressed some local folks. Some wrote letters to newspapers to complain about him killing an albino deer.
And in Michigan it's a crime to kill an albino deer -- unless state wildlife officials agree to the law change this week.

The allegations that he'd killed a protected deer prompted Ingersoll to file a defamation lawsuit in Cheboygan County against seven area residents who publicly made that accusation.
Two DNR officials -- retired Lt. Jeff Gaither and Sgt. Greg Drogowski -- testified in lawsuit depositions that Ingersoll killed an albino, after all.

Ingersoll's lawsuit then was thrown out of court, and he was ordered to pay the defendants' legal costs. He since spent thousands more trying to prove he didn't commit a crime.

Ingersoll wants DNR officials charged with perjury, obstruction of justice and violating his constitutional rights, he said.

Drogowski said there's a biological explanation for the situation and why the state didn't charge Ingersoll with a crime for killing a protected albino deer.

The deer was albino at one point, proven by earlier photographs that showed the deer with the same antler configuration. During the rut, the animal stained portions of its fur brown by rubbing trees and urinating on its legs, making it piebald when Ingersoll shot it, Drogowski said.

"We believe that was an albino or an all-white deer, but because it was stained brown, it made it legal for him to shoot," he said.
Ingersoll is appealing the dismissal of his defamation lawsuit, said his Traverse City attorney, Jonathan Moothart.”

The Michigan DNR should be proud that they employ talented individuals such as Sgt. Greg Drogowski who along with his cronies convinced a Cheboygan County Circuit Court Judge and the Michigan Court of Appeals of their fictional fairy tails is nothing short of miracle. Drogowski stated in the Traverse City Record Eagle on June 4, 2008 “The deer was albino at one point” then after waving his magic wand, it became a “piebald when Ingersoll shot it”

Many things changed throughout the proceedings of this situation. On May 27, 2008 Ingersoll personally sent a letter to Governor Jennifer Granholm stating “I have tried my best to resolve this issue on my own through the proper channels. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources Director reviewed my situation. I don’t feel this was proper, due to the fact that she has no Law Enforcement background. She may have reviewed this information with Acting Chief of Law Enforcement Rodney Stokes, appointed after Alan Marble retired because the Copeland-Morgan issue. Once again Rodney Stokes has no Law Enforcement background. The Michigan DNR does not have an Internal Affairs department either. Basically they are unregulated, which when a citizen has a legitimate complaint, they have now way to obtain an investigation under the guidelines of this agency.

The DNR Organizational Chart lists you Governor Granholm as the head of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Please do not make other citizens go through what myself and my family has endured for several years of our lives. This situation has been brought before Director Humphries only after your office forced her to do so! Does Michigan have any accountability in this agency?”

Ten days later on June 2, 2008 The Michigan DNR announced that Gary Hagler of Flint has been named the Chief of the department's Law Enforcement Division. Hagler most recently served as the chief of police of the Flint Police Department, where he was a 22-year veteran of the force. Hagler will start as the DNR Law Enforcement Division Chief today.

DNR Retired Lt. Jeffery Gaither, Sgt. Greg Drogowski and Officer Michael Feagan were investigated by the State of Michigan Attorney Generals Criminal Division, the Michigan State Police, the Otsego County Prosecutor, Cheboygan County Prosecutor and the U.S. Federal Attorneys Office for perjury, obstruction of justice and violation of ones Constitutional Rights. The DNR Officers were exonerated from any wrongdoing by all agencies.

Then of course, on June 5th, 2008 the Natural Resources Commission lifted the prohibition on shooting all white or albino deer. Why after almost 20 years, this can be answered in a letter received by Ingersoll from DNR Director Rebecca Humphries which states “Your situation has helped reveal to the Department that the rules and regulations relating to albino deer need to be changed. Over 20 years ago, the protections for albino deer were written in statute. As the environmental and natural resources laws were codified in the early 1990s, that law was converted to a regulation in the Wildlife Conservation Order.” Ingersoll would like to point out that as seen above, one person can make a difference.

It has been a long time since Ingersoll pulled the trigger on the piebald deer back on December 19, 2004. Ingersoll hopes the Supreme Court will bring closure to this situation, but then comes the aftermath, the huge tab for standing up for hunting legally in the State of Michigan and the personal attack on my family from area residents. This will bring severe hardship to me and my family for years to come. But at some point sportsmen and women must take a stand for our right to hunt and fish in our state. The Michigan DNR has made it so we are to feel privileged to enjoy our sport rather than it being our God given right.

Ingersoll would like thank all those who have supported him through this tough battle, with cards of encouragement, financial help and moral support. Anyone who is grateful for his efforts and would like to help him get out of the financial he is in can send contributions to John Ingersoll at 7170 Tuscarora Circle, Indian River, MI 49749.

tracy

Mr. Ingersol, It is hard for me to believe that the people of the community would be that upset over someone else's opinion of what you did (shoot a piebald deer, that out of the rut was an albino). The deer you shot resided in close proximaty to the state highway M-68, which is a thurough fair for a large percentage of people going to and from work. Are you sure that these alleged people, who stopped coming in for work to be performed and who were so rude to you had not seen this same animal along the road and made a decision on their own to disagree with the harvesting of this particular deer! There are many piebald deer in northern michigan I'm sure, but with the same antler configuration and within the same location? Who are you trying to fool? I have been keeping track of your fight with authorities and defendants, I'm here to say, let it be. You have spent thousands because you can not let this go. People still talk because of you, not anyone or anything else! What the DNR agents did was perfectly legal. Why would they want to jepordise their investigation by alerting you, and they have full access to the taxidermy business and their work. Are you not leaving out one important aspect of this story, did you not take this deer to a taxidermist first who refused to touch the deer until it was cleared by the DNR? As far as killing piebalds and albino's, I agree that it causes a lot of confusion. The State of Michigan has worked diligently in the past 20+ years to increase the deer numbers and having bucks and does around with undesirable malacies are harmful towards that effort. Here's to hunters everywhere!!!

John Ingersoll

Tracy, you sure have quite a bit of inside information. As stated in his deposition the taxidermist has a memory problem that he is seeking medical attention for. So I would not put my weight into any of his statements. I have sent pictures of my mounted deer antler configuration and the alleged other deer, they are different. The DNR has these picture with a retraction notice.
We will let the Michigan Supreme Court Settle the rest!

John Ingersoll

Bruce Crossing hunter shoots a rarity.

Thursday, November 20, 2008 at 5:49 p.m.


BRUCE CROSSING -- It's a six-point buck with an 18-inch spread, and it weighed 180 pounds at field dressing.

A pretty impressive deer, but nothing special, right?

Wrong. It was an albino deer that was shot on Tuesday in the Bruce Crossing area by a Bruce Crossing man who asked TV6 not to use his name.

The hunter esitmates the deer was between four and five years old.

He plans to mount the entire body somewhere in town for everyone to see. He's open to suggestions.

How rare are albino deer? Biologists estimate they occur in about one in every 30,000 births. And unfortunately, most albino fawns don't survive to adulthood.


http://wluctv6.com/news/news_story.aspx?id=225326




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