An 11-year-old boy is credited with hunting and killing a rare albino deer. Gavin Dingman said he was nervous during the hunt. However, he is proud of his achievement. Gavin’s parents intend to celebrate his success with a full-body mount.
The striking deer was well-known throughout the Howell, Michigan neighborhood. Gavin’s father, Mick Dingman, said “quite a few of the guys in the neighborhood were trying to get it.” Although he knows his son is a skilled hunter, he was stunned that he actually took the coveted prize.
As reported by USA Today, the 12-point buck was not Gavin’s first. However, it was certainly his most memorable. He discusses hunting the rare albino deer.
“My dad was just like, ‘Take a deep breath. Are you sure you can take the shot? If you’re not 100 percent, we don’t want to injure it’… I double-lunged it.”
Mick said his son “feels like a rock star now.” He said he has received calls from numerous hunting programs and magazines about his son’s rare kill.
Although Gavin and his family view the deer as a trophy, others have fought to protect the rare animals. Five states, including Illinois, Iowa, Montana, Tennessee, and Wisconsin, have laws in place to protect albino deer. Fines for killing a white deer range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Although Michigan previously banned hunting albino deer, the prohibition was lifted in 2009.
Daryl Ratajczak, with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, explains that white deer are not a separate species. Instead, albinism is an “extremely, extremely, rare” genetic condition. As the deer lack pigment in their skin and fur they are unable to hide from hunters and predators. Therefore, they have a lower than normal life-expectancy.
Biologists estimate only 1 in 100,000 deer are born with albinism. As they are incredibly rare, albino deer are a common theme in historical legends and myths. However, in some cultures white animals, including deer, are sacred. As reported by Protect the White Deer, “Native Americans… considered the white deer sacred and a symbol of spirit.”
Despite their cultural and spiritual significance, many hunters seek the albino deer as a prized trophy. For Gavin Dingman, hunting and killing the white deer was the achievement of a lifetime. The 11-year-old said his friends and family think “it is so cool” that he spotted and took the albino deer.
[Image via Imgur]