Illinois Outdoors at PrairiestateOutdoors.com
RulesIllinois Outdoors at PrairiestateOutdoors.com
Jeff Lampe
Jeff Lampe

Jeff Lampe has been outdoor writer at the Journal Star in Peoria for 12 duck seasons. He lives in Elmwood with his wife Monica, sons Henry, Victor and Walter, and Llewellin setter Hawkeye. A native of Buffalo, N.Y., he is an avid fan of the Bills and still has mental scars from four consecutive Super Bowl losses. Outside of hunting and fishing, Lampe's main passion in Illinois was Class A boys basketball (which sadly no longer exists). Former publisher of the Class A Weekly newsletter, Lampe is a co-author of "100 Years of Madness" and "Classical Madness," both books focusing on prep basketball in Illinois.

Illinois Outdoors
 

Scattershooting

A Web log by Jeff Lampe of the Journal Star

Illinois Outdoors

Would you shoot this buck?

February 05, 2008 at 07:35 AM

Would you shoot the buck pictured above?

A bowhunter named Maurice King III sent me this e-mail from Mansfield, Ohio in early January. He wrote, “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 everyday. How many other hunters would have done the same thing?”

That’s a good question, since hunters who shoot white deer are setting themselves up for controversy, even in states where white deer are fair game. Illinois is not one of those states, since lawmakers years ago passed a statute protecting all-white deer. Even more restrictive laws regarding partially white deer did not pass last year. Ohio allows hunters to bag white deer, so King did not break any laws. Lone Leaf Taxidermy in Mount Gilead, Ohio is making a full-body mount of his buck. Here, in King’s words, is his story.

“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 8:00 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 seen 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 from the bottom of the tree I was in. 

“He was a 100-percent pure white albino buck. 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 two 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 five 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 the shot. 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 further and further 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 but more than that, 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, that’s right, the albino buck was running full bore right back towards 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 pin-point 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 towards me.

“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. 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.

“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 there 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 80-100 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.

“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 one in a million.”

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