You might be asking yourself, “wait, I thought Whitetail Deer were common to Ohio?” You’re right, they are but they have some uncommon mutations that create quite the stir. Whitetail deer that have coat or antler mutations draw in quite a bit of attention, and for good reason. They stand our pretty easily. White coats, piebald coats, and antler mutations are the most three mutations seen most often, so let’s take a closer look at what makes them unique.
Deer who are born with white coats are often referred to as albino, but that isn’t always the case. True albino deer are characterized by pink nose, eyes, hooves and of course the white coat. Deer who have a white coat mutation will still have black hooves and nose, and dark colored eyes. The white coat is a genetic, recessive trait that causes the color mutation. Both parents have to carry the gene, and if only one does the fawn will have normal coat coloring. This is part of what makes is such a rarity.
Piebald deer are slightly more common. They are characterized by spots of white throughout their brown fur. The white could be as much as most of the body, or as little as just a few patches. They, like normal whitetails, will have dark noses, hooves, and eyes. Deer who have solid whitecoats are also often referred to as piebald in the scientific community. Although white and piebald spotted whitetails are rare, deer who have melanism are even rarer. Melanism makes a deer have a much darker, muddy or even black coat. Strangely enough, they still have white antlers which creates quite the contrast. There have only been 29 documented cases of a melanistic deer in The States, with Texas being the top spot to find one.
Whitetail bucks can also carry traits that cause antler mutations leading to an unusual rack. Rack shape and tine length are genetically influenced, but the mutations can be caused from a range of reasons. Deer who have one antler with an unusual look means that there was some form of outside cause such as trauma, whereas if both antlers are affected it is most likely a mutation in the genes. Bumps, tines growing from other tines, and drop tines are the most commonly seen antler deformities. Non-typical whitetails can also be bred on farms.
Carrying a mutation trait, especially ones that influence coat color, can also lead of other deformities and birth defects. The gene that controls coat coloration also often face skeletal issues. Shortened and crooked legs, misformed hooves, vision issues, and spine positioning are just a few of most seen piebald deer deformities. Between the risk of a physical mutations, and coat abnormalities these deer tend to become a larger target. Coat coloring makes them stand out to hunters and predators alike. Hunters having the chance to shoot a piebald deer makes for the chance of a lifetime, and one most won’t pass up. Predators can easily spot a deer with alternative coloring, or a physical deformity making them easy prey. Whitetails that fall in the genetic mutation category tend to create quite the stir, and we understand why. Hidden Hollow Whitetail Ranch is lucky enough to be home to a few of these rare animals. Schedule your hunt for your shot at a non-typical rack, or unusual coat today. Who knows… maybe you’ll be a lucky hunter that gets both!