Running with the White Deer

Last month 342 athletes converged on Boulder Junction in Vilas County to run, bike, and paddle in the city’s 3rd annual White Deer Triathlon. In this unique race the typical triathlon swimming leg has been replaced with a paddling segment over Boulder Lake. There is also something else unique about this race–you just might see a white deer!

The triathlon is named for a small but long-time population of white deer in the Boulder Junction area. Some of the finest white deer photos and videos in the state (and maybe anywhere) have been taken in the Boulder Junction area. [See Mike and Marshia Crowley (Life in the North Woods), and Jeff Richter, author of White Deer: Ghosts of the Forest (Nature”s Press).]

For some contestants in this May 20 event a prize was in order for their winning effort in the triathlon. But for one photographer the prize was an encounter with a white deer as she was leaving the city after the race. Pamela Muenzner snapped the above photo, which was included in an article on the triathlon by Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

According to the Boulder Junction Chamber of Commerce, people frequently come to the area to see the white deer and it is one of their most frequent requests for information. Their website features two articles on the white deer:Ghosts in the North Woods and The Great White Wonder.” You can also pick up a map at the Chamber Center showing where you are most likely to see the deer.

Any community that has some white deer is not only very rare, it is also very lucky, since locals and visitors alike love to see and photograph the deer. Considering the great popularity of white deer, it only makes sense, like Boulder Junction has done, to promote them as a community resource.  It is a good way to make a good thing even better.