Albino deer a 'one in a million' harvest

First let me start by saying, there may some people who feel I should have not taken this deer. I would just like to say that I am a very ethical person. I respect the environment and wildlife very much. Just think of all the animals consumed by people every day. How many other hunters would have done the same thing?

On Sunday, October 14, 2007 at about 6:30 a.m., I was on the way home from work when my brother called asking if I wanted to go deer hunting. I really didn't want to go because I was pretty tired. But I told my brother I would go for a short while.

So I went home, put on my camos, grabbed my trusty bow, and off we went. We got in the woods, which are located in between Mansfield (Ohio) and Bellville (Ohio), around 8 a.m.

I climbed up in my tree stand and got settled in. My brother was just east of me, about 100 yards. About 30 minutes later, I was dozing off. I leaned over a couple times because I was so tired.

Finally the last time, I about fell off my seat. So at that point I decided it was time to go. I looked down at my chest to undo my safety harness straps and that's when I saw him, about 25 yards from the bottom of my tree.

It was a beautiful, pure white, pink-eyed, albino buck. He walked slowly and cautiously, stopping every couple steps to take in his surroundings. He continued walking and closed in to about 20 feet.

The very first thing I noticed was his stunning pink eyes. They looked like the eyes of someone who had really bad allergies. Then I looked at his pure white body. His coat was perfect and not a mark on it. He wasn't very big, only about 180 pounds.

The last thing I noticed was his rack. It was not impressive at all. At first I thought it was a balanced 6-point rack but after further examination, I realized it was only a 5-point. But the rack did not matter because this was the most unusual animal I had ever seen.

Even though this buck was very rare and unusual, I did not want to take it because I wanted something bigger. For the past 2 years I have been trying to bag a 14-point monster buck that lives in the area. When the albino buck appeared, I immediately drew my bow to the ready position, not to take aim at him but hoping the big one was also around.

I continued to watch the albino for about 5 minutes. He never roamed more than 20 feet from my tree. During this time he continuously presented numerous opportunities for an excellent shot, but because I wanted my big one, I didn't take it.

I then remembered I had my cell phone (which takes video and pictures) in my pocket. I slowly maneuvered it into my hand and when I was ready with it, the albino drifted farther and farther away.

While walking away, he stopped and looked around. When he finally walked out of sight I wondered if I would ever see him again. I wondered if anyone would ever believe what I had just experienced. I never did get any pictures or video.

Now completely awake and alert, I scanned and listened to my surroundings, hoping to see my big buck. Just then I heard something large running through the woods behind me.

I turned only to see the albino buck was running full bore right back toward me. When he got within about 20 yards of me he stopped and nervously scanned the woods. After about a minute, he slowly walked within 10 feet of my tree. He stopped and turned, positioning his body for yet another opportunity for a perfect shot.

After all this I finally realized this must be "a sign" for me to take him. So I did. I raised my bow and positioned the sweet spot in the sights. I released and placed a pinpoint perfect shot. He ran through the woods and down a hill, crashing at the bottom. He was down and I knew he wasn't getting up.

I took a couple of deep breaths and waited about 10 minutes before unstrapping myself and climbing down. I met up with my brother and he excitingly said, "Did you see that albino deer? Did you see his pink eyes?"

When I told him I got him, he didn't believe me. He told me the buck crept up behind him and got about 15 feet of his position. When he turned to look, it got spooked and took off running, thus, explaining why he was running back toward me.

He asked me several times if I was serious about downing the buck. I reassured him and we walked out of the woods to prevent from spooking it. My brother was more excited than I was. I thought he was making a big deal of it because I had not yet realized what an awesome animal I had.

I was actually having second thoughts because now I would have to wait another year to attempt to bag the monster buck. We went back to my house, which was very close to the woods.

After about 30 minutes we proceeded back into the woods. We located the first signs of the trail that would lead to the buck. The trail got bolder and bolder. And after about 15 minutes of searching my brother yelled with excitement, "Yes, he's over here."

He was down, just about where I expected. I approached the buck and it was just as impressive as it was when I first seen it. It even had a white nose and white hooves.

I took out my camera and snapped some pictures. We prepared to move him but first I attached my deer tag, of course, because it's the law.

After preparing him we were ready to begin the drag, "over the hill and through the woods."

We pulled and pulled him about 100 yards, taking a break couple breaks in between. He sure felt like a 275-pound deer. We finally reached the edge of the woods and went into a field. After about another 100 yards, we finally reached my house. We took him in the back yard and snapped some more pictures.

We then strung him up to a tree, which was visible from the road, and I sprayed him off. While he was in the tree we had two different people drive by, turn around, and come back to see what we had.

They were in disbelief, stating they had never seen a pure white deer before. About 10 minutes later, I had three of my neighbors in my backyard because one of them had seen what we had and called the others.

It was now that I began to realize what I had. My brother and I called a couple people who are also hunters. They immediately started toward my house. They were all very impressed and amazed.

I was also told by several people to contact the game warden, Greg Wasilewski, because the Ohio Department of Natural Resources would definitely want to know about this. I did and within minutes the game warden called back (on a Sunday) stating he wanted to meet to examine the buck.

After cleaning the buck up, we loaded it up and headed for Fin-Feather-and-Fur, a sporting goods outlet located in Ashland, Ohio.

During the drive we had people following us. They were taking pictures, beeping, and giving the "thumbs-up." We even had two cars follow us from the highway to the store to get a close up view.

When we arrived, the parking lot was full of people due to a large sale. There were people heading for their cars to leave and when they observed us pull in, they turned around and followed the truck to also get a close up view.

We parked in front of the store and instantly numerous people began to flock to the truck. I would estimate about 80 to100 people gathered at the truck to look and take pictures.

I then realized without a doubt this was a special and very rare animal. And I also no longer had second thoughts about the harvest. Everyone was congratulating me.

As we were leaving, people who were pulling in were struggling to look at the buck in the back of the truck. We started back toward Mansfield to meet with the game warden. He said the buck was very impressive and that I should be very proud. He confirmed it was a 100-percent albino deer, noting the pink eyes, white nose, and white hooves.

I asked him how long he had held the position of game warden and he said "10 years." I asked him how long it had been since he had seen a pure albino deer and he stated, "I have never seen one before."

He said there have been other white deer but never 100-percent pure like mine. The other ones usually have a black nose, black hooves and without the pink eyes. We met with him in a public place and during the meeting we had seven different carloads of people stop to look at the buck. The game warden took some pictures and left.

Based on everyone's reaction and the magnitude of this extraordinary experience, I decided to have this buck made into a full body mount. I hope to eventually have it placed in a location where everyone can enjoy it for a very long time. This has definitely been an unforgettable once-in-a-lifetime experience. Based on research I have done and from what experienced people have told me, this true-albino buck is about 1 in 35,000 to see but to actually harvest one is about 1 in a million.