Melanistic Buck Spotted in Austin, Texas

When it comes to white-tailed deer, we all know how they are supposed to look. Most are brown and white. But occasionally in nature we get genetic abnormalities and end up with something that looks totally different — which is usually white (albino) or even more rare, black. All mammals, including white-tailed deer, can have black fur and these animals are referred to as melanistic.

They are called melanistic because their body produces too much melanin, a dark pigment that causes their hair to be very dark brown or black. This variation is obvious to even a casual observer, but I’m not sureit impacts the deer itself or if the difference is even noticed by other animals in the herd.

Melanistic white-tailed deer

Melanistic whitetails are the most rare color abnormality that deer can have — even more rare than piebald or albino deer. The photos seen here were sent to me and they allegedly came from somewhere around Austin, Texas. The photos are that of a melanistic white-tailed buck. The pictures where taken in a residential area so this rare buck may have lucked out.

Melanistic white-tailed deer Melanistic white-tailed deer


19 Replies to “Melanistic Buck Spotted in Austin, Texas”

  1. Black Deer Spotted: At 8:45 in the morning of 10/12/08, I saw a black deer about 80 yards from me. At 8:30 I had seen a white-tailed buck about 75 yards from me, just to far for my bow. I am reporting from Southwest Missouri.

  2. On the 29th of November 2008, I saw 3 does, one all black, grazing in the pasture behind my house. Ignoring the wooded area 6 feet away from them, they bounded over the barb-wire fence and crossed 600 yards of open pasture into the hills west toward Council Bluffs. I couldn’t believe it until I found websites with pictures of melanistic deer. This was in Iowa!

  3. On August 27, 2009, I spotted a black deer in Carter County Missouri at about 10:00 am. It was standing right off the county road.

  4. At about 7:30 am on September 11, 2009 a black doe crossed the road in front of me. Her color was darker than the normal winter color in the Adirondack Mountains and uniformly black. The location was the town of Keene, New York, which is located in the northeast corner of the Adirondock Park.
    Bruce

  5. My husband and myself just spotted a black buck here in Fannin County just South of Windom, Texas. It had to be about an 8 point buck.

  6. My son, 13, while on a bow hunt in Fairview, Michigan, arrowed the most beautiful 4 point melanistic buck you ever saw. I watched the shot unfold as the black deer walked the edge of the pines with 9 normal whitetail. Moments after I watched it disappeared in the pines it came charging out straight across the field at me. I thought I was going to get a shot only to have him succumb to my boys perfect lung shot.

  7. Melanistic deer are now confirmed for southern Iowa. I got a beautiful 10 point on November 6th of this year. “Black Magic” is now in the process of becoming a full body mount. Mike Kaczor

  8. I live in south Austin and I have multiple pictures of a melanistic black deer that lives in the greenbelt behind my apartment. I see him frequently because the deer feed on the plants in my back yard.

  9. Texas Parks and Wildlife will tell you that there are many melanistic whitetail in Travis and Hays counties. When these deer get in the shadows of the juniper/cedar, they are invisible. I saw a beauty of a 6 point buck this morning at 9:00 a.m. in our country “neighborhood”. They are here all of the time.

  10. There are a pretty large number of melanistic whitetail deer around the Austin area. I saw a lovely black doe grazing alongside a typical doe just this Tuesday. I’m not going to give any specifics about where to find these deer, but I will say that the one I saw was somewhere between Dripping Springs and Austin, Texas.

    Melanistic deer are seen pretty frequently around here, and they’re always being spotted throughout Austin and the surrounding areas. I wish all you fellow hunters the best of luck in bagging one of these beauties!

  11. I just found this website because I just saw a black/brown buck on Long Island, New York. I have never seen a deer like this before; I didn’t even know they existed!!

  12. I saw a melanistic deer today between Austin and San Marcos, Texas. A very young buck. It was neat, considering I passed him alongside the road in my car. I’ve never seen an atypical deer in the wild, though we do see a lot of deer in San Marcos.

  13. Saw a jet black melanistic 6 point, 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 year old on Onion Creek Country Club golf course in South Austin yesterday (10/6/12). At first I thought it was some kind of exotic that had escaped from a game ranch. Now I know what it was. Deer on the course are somewhat domesticated and he passed no more than 30 yards from me.

  14. I saw a beautiful black melanistic 6 or 8 point buck in back of my house. Second time I’ve seen them this year. Last year I saw a doe. Dripping Springs, TX area.

  15. I live near Dripping Springs, Texas (west of Austin) and we have a growing family of these black deer that come through the property. It started with a fawn in 2007. Now I know there are at least 3 does and a buck. I called Texas Parks and Wildlife back in 2007 and they said they are not all that rare. I would have to agree. I have some nice photos.

  16. I was driving to work this morning and saw a black dear in Homer Glen, Illinois. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was with another doe that was of normal coloring.

  17. September 2014. An all black melanistic deer, a young buck, lives in the area behind the town square, near Cypress Creek, in Wimberley.

  18. There are quite a few melanistic deer in Austin, TX. Apparently this area has a concentration of them, though they’re still relatively rare.

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