A Golden Goose That’s White

What do you do if you have a population of white deer in your community? 

An animal that occurs only once in an estimated 1 in 20,000 deer?  An animal so striking cars screech to a halt so driver’s can get a better look.  An animal so gorgeous it wows observers. An animal so unusual photos and stories make national headlines.  An animal so special it was considered sacred by Native Americans.

Well, you put up a sign to welcome the tourists, of course!  You will definitely have a “trademark” that is unique.  It might bring some revenue into the community, but best of all, it will make a whole lot of observers and photographers really, really happy.

Here are some examples of communities or groups that recognized the value of their unique residents and made the most of it.  In short, they took a golden goose and made a nest box.

This 2020 billboard was photographed along Hwy. 51 near Woodruff and showcases a white deer to promote tourism in Boulder Junction, Wisconsin.  The area’s longtime population of white deer have often drawn tourists to the area and brought inquiries to the city’s chamber of commerce.  According to chamber executive director, Dina Casso, the white deer remain “a high point of interest with visitors.”  Learn more about Boulder Junction’s white deer from the city’s website, from this great article, and from this very popular website (lifeinthenorthwoods).  Photo by T’xer Zhon Kha  

This sign greeted visitors to a corner of a decommissioned army depot near Seneca Falls, New York from 2017-2019.  The fenced facility allowed a population of white deer to increase and flourish.  A local group, Seneca White Deer, Inc worked to preserve the deer, promote them, and provide access to the public with a Welcome Center and bus tours–a program that hosted more than 15,000 visitors over two years.  Photo from Seneca White Deer.

Here is a poster promoting the Seneca white deer herd (world’s largest!) and the white deer tours.  Unfortunately, the tours ended at the end of 2019 because of issues with a property lease agreement.  The organization still has its website up which provides general information on the Depot, white deer, photos, and history.  Photo from Seneca White Deer

The Seneca Welcome Center and tours are now operating under a new organization and name:  Deer Haven Park.  After reorganization and two years of devastating shutdowns, white deer fans are hoping to rebuild the popularity of this tourist destination and preserve.  According to operation manager, Truman Bells (in photo), food plots are continuing to be planted for the deer and the white deer numbers are on the rise.  Photo credit:  Syracuse.com | The Post-Standard | David Figura (Story:  https://www.newyorkupstate.com/outdoors/2021/05/white-deer-tours-at-former-seneca-army-depot-continue-despite-some-hard-feelings-and-the-pandemic.html)