The Odds of Seeing an Albino Deer

The odds of being an albino deer are low

Albino white-tailed deer may be neat to see, but did you know that a true albino occurs in only one of out of 100,000 births and very few fawns survive beyond the first year of life? It’s true. For an albino deer to live over seven years is extremely unusual — almost unheard of. And if you think about it, this makes sense for a lot of reasons. First, most of the whitetail’s range consist of habitat that is dominated by the colors green and brown–not white.

Within various wildlife species, animal coloration is based on the process of natural selection. In short, color mutations occur infrequently overall, but if the color variations were well-suited for the environment where they are found, then those “oddly” colored animals would survive to breed and pass on their genes. If the genes cause an animal to stick out, such as a white deer in a primarily green or brown environment, then the animal will be more noticable to predators, including humans. This results in the animal being depredated or harvested. In either case, the color abnormality does not benefit the white animal.      

The albino whitetail buck seen above is a true albino. In cases of true albinism, albino deer lack pigmentation in the hair, skin, and, in the case of deer, the iris of the eyes. However, eyes can be pink or blue and the hoofs a pale gray. In some areas, albino deer are even protected by law. However, most states do not protect deer with color abnormalities.

To sum up, albinos are interesting animals, and albino white-tailed deer are no different. They are genetic phenonmenons that physically don not make sense in most cases, but could under certain environmental conditions (for example, if it snowed throughout the year). So although most of us will never see a wild albino deer, if you do, just consider the odds!


40 Replies to “The Odds of Seeing an Albino Deer”

  1. We saw one this last week in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina, in the clearing behind Chick-fil-a, just off of 55/401.

  2. I saw and took a picture of an albino buck in my backyard in southwest Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It was a digital picture and didn’t come out very clear, but I saw it on October 31, 2009

  3. When I was a child my father, brother, and I saw a massive white buck that crossed the road in front of us, stopped when we stopped and looked at us for about 30 seconds before bounding away in the woods. That was in Grapeview, Washington, about 1990. My younger brother, who still lives in Grapeview saw a large 6 point white buck last night. Could this be the same deer we saw 20 years ago?

  4. Alysha, although it appears the area you refer to has genes for albinism, the buck that your brother recently saw is not the same deer. The longest living, wild white-tailed deer I have heard about lived just over 15 years. Most bucks are very lucky to live to be 6+ years of age.

  5. I have great photos of an albino deer. He or she is surrounded by 3 other very healthly looking normal pigmentation deer. Would anyone like to see the photos? They are amazing. I live in New Jersey.

  6. There are at least four albino deer living in Father Hennepin State Park, on the south shore of Lake Mille Lacs, Minnesota. They are beautiful. The white buck comes into the park during deer hunting season. Smart deer!

  7. I live in Alton, Virginia. We, my wife and son and I, have been seeing a normal color doe with two fawns. One of the fawns is an albino. We see them everyday late in the evening and have seen them as close as 200 feet away. No one hunts in the nearby woods and we are surounded by hay fields. After reading about albinos surrival chances, I only hope we get to continue to enjoy the view. I’m 52 years old and have hunted in many states. This is my very first sighting of an albino deer.

  8. I saw a doe with an albino fawn near Pecan Plantation in Hood County, Texas, last Sunday morning. This was the first albino deer I have ever seen in the wild. I’ve seen color variations in whitetails before this, but never an albino.

  9. Some say that the white stag is the protector of the forest, some sort of guardian that kept the forces of nature in balance. To see the elusive creature was rare, but to kill it was simply sacrilege and the act would stain one’s very soul. I think Hercules was tasked with taking down a similar animal. Interesting.

  10. We have had the pleasure of regular visits from “our” albino whitetail deer since we moved here to Virginia over 8 years ago.

  11. I came to this sight to research albino deer because I have had one roaming in my yard for 2 years now. I wanted to know just how rare they really are. I can’t believe the odds… guess I’m just lucky.

  12. On October 16, 2010, my buddy and I saw an albino buck enter our cut-over we were hunting at 7 o’clock in the morning. It was a once in a lifetime hunt. Not only did we see this oddity, we got the chance to harvest him as well. What a hunt!

  13. We have a family group living in the forest beside our house and have seen a young albino 3 or 4 times now. I just saw them cruise through in broad daylight with the albino young one. Located in the western suburbs of Pennsylvania.

  14. My wife and I recently saw a herd of white deer and a buck grazing in the front yard of a home near Bastrop, Texas. There were about 6 or 7 does and a buck. The buck was about an 8 point or more. They appeared to have longer tails than the normal whitetail deer. We did get several photos before they spooked and ran off.

    It was amazing and exciting to see them. We are going to go back to the location and see if we can find them again. Is there any agency that would be interested in our find?

  15. Saw one tonight in the tree line along Route 476 in Pennsylvania. Always see a lot there, but NEVER in my life had I ever seen an albino. Just may stake it out to get some pics!

  16. Just saw 2 fawns. One was normal and the other a solid white one. Gainesville, Georgia, Hall County, Lake Lanier area. Wow!

  17. I saw a white buck grazing in my backyard in North Raleigh on Oct. 30, 2011! Must be the same guy that Claudia saw on the 28th! He was beautiful!

  18. Tonight we a saw an albino buck behind our new apartment in the Pantops area in Charlottesville, Virginia. We were less that 20 feet away.Very neat.

  19. I just saw a doe with three young fawns – one was an albino! Very cute in Gainesville, GA located on the last cove located on the North West side of Lake Lanier. 7-18-1.

  20. every mornin i go outside on the front porch and theres a huge field across the road and theres always a 5 point albino buck out there. i have been seeing him for 2 years

  21. Not all white whitetails are albino. There is a rare, but dominant gene, causing white fur, but not albinism. Where I grew up we had a pocket of the gene proliferate as the deer were protected (and the gene able to replicate) inside the fences of a large army depot. Very cool.

  22. I have photos of white fawn in my back yard taken on Dec.24, 2012, in Parker Colorado. Not sure if albino or just solid white deer? Part of herd of 8-10 normal deer. Also not sure if white tail deer or mule deer??

  23. Saw an albino in Indianapolis, Indiana on 5/24/2013. It was in a well populated area of town.

  24. Just saw one of this evening on Slater Rd, near Morrisville, NC. I’m here on business and I was stunned when I saw the white deer standing beside the road. As it saw my vehicle approach it took off along side the road, then jumped a silt fence near some construction. A very large rack and an amazing sight!

  25. See them all the time just south of Guthrie, Oklahoma. They are protected there, and closely watched by wildlife and game department.

  26. Two-thirds of the deer population in subdivision are white/albino. I live in Midlothian, Virginia. One white deer was at my back sliding glass door, and one light brown one in my front yard. We see the white one every other day and or evening. Is very cool to see.

  27. Just saw an albino deer today in the same location, the Creedmore exit off 540, west bound. Pretty awesome!

  28. I saw a white doe in our backyard (off of Sunset Lake Rd-Fuquay) about sundown last night. Beautiful creature. She was eating under the bird feeder, heard us and stopped. Before we could snap a picture she disappeared.

  29. Saw 5 deer eating apples that had fallen to the ground near graham Washington Oct. 1, 2016. One of the deer was 90% white, 1 was 75% white, 1 was 50% white and 50% brown and the other 2 looked like normal whitetail deer. We saw 3 eating the apples when the other 2 that were mostly white ran across a field at a good paced run to meet the others at the apple tree. This was at just about sunset, and it looked amazing, literally mystical to see them running across the field. They let us take several pictures and simply continued to eat the apples while we watched.

  30. Today, I saw a white dear with brown sports on Edgerton Road in North Royalton, Ohio. What a great thing to see!
    Sue

  31. I saw an albino deer last night. I think it’s the same one mentioned above by Ryan and Bunnie. She was close to 540 around Creedmore Road. So beautiful.

  32. Saw a pair of small, white deer in coachman’s trail, not too far from 540 and Creedmoor Rd. Stopped and took photo and video, but it was pretty dark (around 11:30pm). They didn’t startle or bolt. Looked like a pair of goats at first.

  33. November 24, 2017 – I saw a large all white doe between Creedmoor Road and Leesville Road exits off of 540 (Raleigh, NC). She was calmly grazing just a few feet from the wooded area there. She was amazing!

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