The white buck
On November 17, 2012, the first day of Wisconsin’s fall gun deer season, a buck was shot near Leland, Wisconsin. This was no ordinary buck though. Even more striking than its beautiful rack was its color–it was almost pure white! But few people besides the hunter were as excited about the kill.
The white buck was one of a small population of rare white deer that are admired and cherished by local residents–so much so that most people had vowed not to shoot any of the deer, especially the white buck. The hunter who took the deer was from out of town and shared neither the respect nor interest in preserving the white deer–the third white deer to be killed near Leland in five years, all by out of town hunters.
Credit: Carol Hastings
Channel 3 News in Madison, Wisconsin picked up the story of the kill, which garnered massive interest--both for the uniqueness of the deer and the controversy involved in shooting the deer. Technically, it was a legal kill, but by no means was it an ethical kill. Many Leland area residents who had watched and admired the white buck were shocked and outraged.
This website is part of an organized effort to protect the remaining white deer in the Leland area. It brings together numerous sources of information to create an accurate and complete picture of the white deer story. Most of all, it is to educate, encourage, and enable people to join the effort to affect legal change to protect the white deer.
Edgerton Article Features Leland White Deer
"Therefore, in his other moods, symbolize whatever grand or gracious thing he will by whiteness, no man can deny that in its profoundest idealized significance it calls up a peculiar apparition to the soul.” -Herman Melville, Moby Dick
So begins a November 20, 2013 article in the Edgerton Reporter, Edgerton, Wisconsin by staff reporter Jeff Brown. Jeff's positive and informative article captures the social context, the political history, and the magic of the area's white deer. Read Jeff's article here.
Nine-day Gun Season Ends With No White Deer Casualties
Nothing is for certain, but based on word of mouth and a survey of registration stations in Sauk County, it appears that no white deer were killed this gun season. Special seasons,however, including an antlerless hunt and the Holiday hunt, will continue to put the deer in jeopardy through much of December. Results so far, though, are encouraging that more and more people appreciate seeing and protecting the deer.
Photographer Mike Richard caught these white deer by his driveway. They couldn't have posed better!
"Save the White Deer" and "Protect the White Deer" signs and sweatshirts are still available at Sprecher's Tavern in Leland. We need as many signs as possible displayed on lawns and near roads to show how special the white deer are and to help protect them for all to enjoy.
Mike's new business, called "Forest and Flight Photography," also includes outstanding locally photographed eagles, cranes, and swans. Mike's work can be viewed at Sprecher's Tavern in Leland (ask Amy, since photos are not on display) and at Pamela's Fine Jewelry in downtown Spring Green, Wisconsin. A website for "Forest and Flight Photography" will be coming out shortly.
If you get to Leland, ask Amy to see the computer-stitched sequence picture of a young white deer jumping--outstanding subject, outstanding photo, and outstanding art! Hint: Any of these photos or products would also make excellent Christmas gifts!
A conversation with DNR Board Liaison, Laurie Ross, indicates that the DNR Board has decided to postpone looking a the Deer Trustee Report Proposals (which includes protection of all white deer) until their January 21/22 meeting. Again, you will need to notify Laurie by phone or email by the Friday prior to the meeting to register to speak at the meeting. See the paragraph below for the location and other details of the meeting. We will provide more info as we get it.
White Deer Statue on Display at Plain, Wisconsin Business
Hayward, Wisconsin may have its giant muskie, but Plain has its white buck. Find this not-so-elusive deer at the I-Diehl Tap, 400 Main Street in Plain, Wisconsin. The story has it that a couple of Plain residents brought it back from out West on a trailer. Be sure to stop by for pictures with the statue and to thank the owner for his "huge" support.
Public Input Needed at Wisconsin Natural Resources Board December 11 Meeting
The fact that the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board meets almost every month of the year except November was a very unfortunate irony in our last minute efforts to get protection for white deer in CWD zones. We are still going to the Board's December meeting to request protection for the deer, but a decision will only be made by the Board to put it on their agenda for a January, 2014 consideration and vote. Although we have been successful going through the WCC (Wisconsin Conservation Congress), it is an even slower process, and their recommendations are only advisory to the Board.
It is therefore very important to get as many people as possible at this meeting to testify on behalf of protecting the white deer. There is, however, a December 6, 11:00 am deadline to register to speak at the December meeting. Call or email Laurie Ross (info below) to request to speak. If you are unable to attend the meeting, you can submit written comments to Laurie instead. Request that the Board reinstate statewide protection of white deer and explain why you think this is important. For public participation guidelines, click here.
Laurie J. Ross, Board Liaison
The Board Meeting will be held Wednesday, December 11 at 1:00 at:
Rm. G09, State Natural Resources Bldg. (GEF 2)
101 S. Webster St.
Madison WI 53703
*Enter the building at the 101 S. Webster St. entrance and go down the right corridor to the reception desk.
Last Ditch Effort to get Legislative Protection for White Deer Prior to 2013 Gun Season
We received this letter from Andrew Farrar, legislative aide to Rep. Fred Clark, regarding efforts to suspend hunting of white deer yet this month:
"I am sending you this e-mail to inform you that Representative Clark and Representative Brooks sent a joint letter to the Co-Chairs of the Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules (JCRAR) yesterday requesting a public hearing to consider the Administrative Rule pertaining to protection of white deer (Section NR 10.02 (3) Wis. Administrative Code) in CWD zones. This request is the first step in the administrative rules suspension process. The goal would be to have this consideration heard tomorrow (11/7) at the JCRAR’s public hearing and then subsequently voted on in the executive session. We are currently awaiting a response from the committee’s Co-Chairs, Representative LeMahieu and Senator Vukmir. I have attached the letter to this e-mail and encourage you to share it."
We are very grateful again for all of Rep. Clark's efforts on our behalf and for the added support from Rep. Ed Brooks. Here is a copy of their letter to the JCRAR (Joint Committe for Review of Administrative Rules). Click here.
Although details are not known yet, news was received on November 1, 2013 that a young, six-point white buck was killed south of Mazomanie, Wisconsin. He was apparently shot by a bow hunter and found later some distance away by a Mazomanie area farmer. The carcass had been partially eaten by coyotes. We are trying to get more information on the kill and get the story public. This underscores how crucial it is to get protection for the white deer prior to the 2013 gun season, which starts November 23.
A letter from Amy Sprecher to all concerned about the white deer: WE NEED YOUR HELP!!!
Since online comments carry equal weight to public comments when the Deer Trustee Report Committee makes their final decision on white deer legislation, it is vitally important that as many people as possible respond to the DTR's survey. If you did not or cannot attend any of the public hearings on the committee proposals, you can still make online comments or send in a paper survey. Amy Sprecher gives further details on what to do:
"I spoke with Eric Lobner, the DNR coordinator of the Deer Trustee process, today to find out if the survey results were going to be the primary driver to the final decisions being made on these questions. The answer was yes. I stated the following concern - that the Board will only look at the results of the Deer Trustee Report survey and base their decision on the survey results. Even though the bulk of our 2000 signatures on our petition are hunters, most people (especially non-hunters) are not aware that the white deer protection is part of the Deer Trustee meetings or the survey and their concern to protect the deer will not be known.
Therefore, I am asking you to get the word out and have everyone you know go to the DNR’s website (dnr.wi.gov), click on the Deer Trustee Report (under the YouTube video), and complete the survey. White deer protection is Section 7, question 19; you’ll want to check the “support” line. Also, at the bottom of the Trustee page you can also make a comment – a valuable step to the process to let them know how you really feel about their protection. If you know people without computers, you can print out a copy of the survey and they can mail it in. SURVEYS MUST BE COMPLETED BY NOVEMBER 8!"
Deer Trustee Report webpage: http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/
Survey page: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/
Rep. Fred Clark gave this recent update on white deer protection: “In response to the many passionate calls, letters, and e-mails that I received, I asked DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp to consider restoring the statewide protection of albino and white deer in CWD management zones. I am pleased to announce that this consideration has been adopted in the DNR rules package.”
Rep. Clark also noted that "restoration of the ban on harvesting white and albino deer has yet to receive final approval." Although gun deer season is rapidly approaching, we are counting on emergency legislation to protect the deer. Public input on the new rules package is extremely important, so please try to attend! The meetings will take place at the following times and locations:
Tuesday, October 22: Richland County Courthouse Board Room 181 W. Seminary St. 6-8pm
New photos are up! See the latest white deer pictures and some new spring fawns--white enough to star in any detergent commercial and twice as fun to watch. The fawns and the photos are just super!! Click here to see the brightest, the whitest, and the cutest.
Representative Ed Brooks held a listening session on April 22 at the La Valle Town Hall for residents of Assembly District 50, which includes the Loganville and Reedsburg areas. Leland residents talked with Rep. Brooks about the white deer issue. To see pictures with Rep. Brooks on his facebook page or go to the Preservation Efforts page of this website (bottom of page).
Petition: Help show your support for the white deer by signing our online petition!
Baraboo News Republic poll: Results of the paper's weekly poll were published in the Saturday (April 13) issue. When asked if readers favored protecting the white deer, an overwhelming majority showed their support: Yes--200 (70%), No--65 (23%), I don't know--7 (2%), I don't care--13 (5%).
"Ultimate Outdoors" hears about the white deer: Host Terry Frey of WTSO's "Ultimate Outdoors," a very popular Madison area outdoor radio program, interviewed Amy Sprecher about the white deer. WTSO has a 2.5 million listener base in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois, including Milwaukee, Madison, and Chicago.
The interview was broadcast during the Saturday, April 20th show, 8:00 am to 8:30 am, on WTSO 1070 AM. Here is an archived podcast of the show (Amy is second on the agenda): http://www.thebig1070.com/player/?mid=23117577&station=WTSO-AM&program_id=ultimateoutdoorsradio.xml&program_name=podcast
New PBS show visits Boulder Junction and their white deer: "The Private Life of Deer" aired on the "Nature" show on May 8 on public television. A segment of the show was called "The Ghost Deer" and featured Jeff Richter and John Bates who wrote the book White Deer: Ghosts of the Forest.
White "deer' in 4th of July parade! A float of white "deer" traveled Witwen's main street in the area's biggest 4th of July event. A sign at the back of the float read: "Sauk County's Hidden Treasure," a reminder to parade-goers of the importance of the white deer and the need to protect them. A stand near the parade route offered info, shirts, yard signs, and photos for those interested in learning and doing more. Click here to see additional photos.
Wisconsin Conservation Congress Hearing
Many thanks to all the people who attended the Monday night WCC meeting. It was a good show, with about 20 people wearing "Protect the White Deer" shirts and even more supporters in "plain clothes." People new to a WCC meeting really learned a lot about the organization and the process.
Note: In the Channel 3 interview taken at the Wisconsin Conservation Congress meeting, the white deer were inadvertently referred to as a species. They are not a species; just a form of white-tailed deer caused by a very rare recessive gene. See the White Deer Q&A page for a full explanation of this color phenomenon.
An impressive show of support!
Official vote count in
2013 Wisconsin Conservation Congress citizen resolution results are up! Click here to see results by county or by title.
Letter from Rep. Clark to DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp
Rep. Ed Brooks listens to Leland residents about the white deer
Motorcycle fans sign petition
DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp Responds to Rep. Fred Clark's letter
Good news from the HH/CWD Action Team!
WCC Deer & Elk Study Committee Meeting brings mixed results
Having to drop parts of the proposal that we considered very important to the issue was disappointing, but not all resolutions passed at the meeting, so this may have been a political trade-off that we had to make. The resolution will go on next to the Executive Council of the WCC for final review and approval.
Herd Health/CWD Action Team proposal to protect white deer
Four teams, representing different aspects of deer management, have been working since March to come up with proposals for implementing Dr. Kroll's (the "Deer Czar's") recommendations for whitetail deer management in Wisconsin. The DNR will use these proposals to draft rules for the 2014 deer hunting season. Public hearings on the rules will be in late October and November.
The Action Team proposal to return protection of white deer in CWD zones is a very positive statement of support by the committee and the hunting community. Click here to read the full report.
Legislative update on white deer protection
Brad Hasheider, a member of the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, sent this email with current information on proposed legislative changes to protect white deer in CWD zones:
Attached is a copy of the DTR (Deer Trustee Report) Action Team Final Report which will be released later today. This document reflects the efforts of the four Action Teams that worked through seven meetings starting in March and wrapped up on July 20th. As a next step in the process, this information, along with the original DTR Report and public feedback that has been received through the process, will be used to help draft a rule proposal package for the public to consider during public hearings held the last two weeks of October. Following the formal hearings, public comments will be evaluated and potentially changes will be occurring to the final rules package. (Deer Trustee Report--refer to pg. 113 for white deer proposal.)
Rep. Fred Clark news release about DNR rule package to protect white deer
October 2, 2013
Rep. Fred Clark released the following article to local newspapers with information on the final Deer Trustee Report Committee's recommendations to restore protection to white deer in CWD zones. See article.
Rep. Clark states in his release:
“In response to the many passionate calls, letters, and e-mails that I received, I asked DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp to consider restoring the statewide protection of albino and white deer in CWD management zones. I am pleased to announce that this consideration has been adopted in the DNR rules package.”
“This first step is a victory for the people of the Sauk County community and all other communities who value our unique wildlife populations and the rules that enforce our hunting ethics.” (bold added)
It is important to note that the restoration of the ban on harvesting white and albino deer has yet to receive final approval. If you would like to attend one of the local hearings about these rules, please refer to the dates and locations below.
Tuesday, October 22: Richland County Courthouse Board Room 181 W. Seminary St. 6-8pm
Thursday, October 24: Portage Law Enforcement Center 711 East Cook St. 6-8pm
Thursday, October 24: Mauston H.S. Auditorium 800 Grayside Ave. 7-9pm
Wednesday, October 30: Dodgeville DNR Service Center 1500 N. Johns St. 6-8pm