WHO WE ARE
We are hunters and non-hunters who would rather watch these rare white deer going about their daily living than see them lifeless hanging on a wall or in a full body mount at a big box sporting goods store. We feel these animals should remain in their natural habitat so everyone can enjoy their beauty.
Our friends group is not limited to people in the Leland area where the white buck was taken during the 2012 gun deer season. We live in areas from Appleton, Arlington, Arena, Baraboo, Belleville, Black Earth, Cross Plains, Dane, Dodgeville, Eau Claire, Edgerton, Fort Atkinson, Green Bay, Hillpoint, Hillsboro, Hyde, Janesville, La Crosse, La Valle, Lime Ridge, Lodi, Loganville, Lyndon Station, Madison, Merrimac, Middleton, Milwaukee Area, Monfort, Monroe, Mount Horeb, North Freedom, Oregon, Pardeeville, Plain, Portage, Poynette, Prairie du Sac, Reedsburg, Richland Center, Rock Springs, Roxbury, Sauk City, Spring Green, Stevens Point, Verona, Watertown, Waunakee, Wausau, Wisconsin Dells and beyond.
HISTORY AND WHY WE DECIDED TO FORM A FRIENDS GROUP
The Leland area has been blessed with the rare beauty of the white deer for approximately 14 years. The very first white deer was seen near White Mound County Park near Plain, Wisconsin. The “Old Doe” eventually wandered a little farther away where the small population began to take root.
The “Old Doe” was last seen in 2011 at the ripe old age of 13. The group formed from her offspring remained small during this 14-year period, with the largest population reaching 12 in 2012. Thanks to the caring landowners and hunters in the area, we have been able to keep these beautiful creatures here.
The Leland group of white deer is an offshoot of the Plain group. Around 2003, a white buck made his way to Natural Bridge State Park, a mile from Leland. He was a beautiful creature that drew many people nightly to the park with their lawn chairs and thermoses in hopes of seeing him. In 2004, during the archery season, he was killed by a bow hunter.
In 2005 a young buck also made his way a mile outside of Leland and was killed during the gun hunting season. Around 2009 another buck made his way to Leland and coaxed a white doe along. He could be seen daily with his five-doe entourage. Referred to as “Bucky,” “Jack,” or the “Big Buck,” he grew into a magnificent creature, sporting a 12-point rack in 2012. The 5-year-old buck finally had 3 white offspring from two brown does in 2012. The white doe, however, has only had brown offspring.
During the opening day of the gun hunting season this year “Bucky” was shot–once again by hunters from out of the area. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back. We decided enough was enough and something had to be done, especially when we were informed that the hunter immediately offered the buck up for lots of money to a local sporting goods store.
By allowing these rare and beautiful animals to be hunted for the sole purpose of becoming a “Money Buck,” what message are we sending to our children? This is why, and for many other reasons, it is so important for us to put a stop to hunting them. (expand here…gets weak)
Currently it is legal to hunt the white deer in the Leland area because they reside in a Chronic Wasting Disease control zone determined by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Although few deer in the area have tested positive for the disease, we are somewhat close to an area that does have more cases of the disease. The white deer are not allowed to be hunted in the rest of the state.
Our goal is to introduce a bill that would not allow these rare deer to be hunted in the Chronic Wasting Disease control zones either. We feel the deer are so rare, so beautiful, and so much appreciated by all who see them that their value alive far exceeds there value as just another hunting target or trophy deer.
WHAT ACTION WE HAVE TAKEN TO DATE
A proposal has been written to be introduced at the spring Wisconsin Conservation Congress in April. It will outline a law that would prevent the shooting of ALL albino (and white) deer and thus give the Leland white deer the same protection as white deer in the rest of the state.
Thanks to private donations from caring individuals, yard signs and banners have been purchased to spread our message, “Protect the Rare White Deer.” Fifty signs have already been made, distributed, and displayed in yards around the area. Donations have been collected to make more signs, which should be available shortly.
We have spoken with or written letters to state representatives and senators and the Department of Natural Resources about our concerns. We are hoping that one of the state representatives will sponsor a bill for the protection of the white deer prior to the Conservation Congress, which would be a faster and more sure route for protection of the deer. We’ve had positive feedback from some of the offices.
This website has been created to share stories and pictures of the white deer, keep you informed about the deer and our efforts to protect them, and to help you help us to accomplish our purpose. Bumper stickers and posting signs are in the works to get the word out. T-shirts and sweatshirts are also being made and will be available for sale.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP
Call, write, and/or email your state representative and your state senator. Ask them to introduce a bill to remove the albino, white, and piebald (partially white) deer from game status in the CWD zones. (See sidebar to contact your representatives.)
Sign the website petition below to show legislators how many of us care about this issue (the white deer).
Volunteer to get the word out.
Get your children involved in a project.
Put a sign up in your yard or make your own if we can’t get one to you.
If you have property on a major highway where a large sign would capture lots of attention, let us know and we’ll get a sign to you.
Offer up any other suggestions to help the cause.