White deer are white-tailed deer with white coats, but normal colored eyes, nose, and hooves. Albino deer lack most or all color pigment in their body, resulting in white coats, pink noses, pink hooves, and pink or blue eyes. There are many color variations in between. White or albino deer with some brown coat color are called piebalds. “White deer” is used in a general sense for all deer that are primarily white in color.
White and albino deer are not allowed to be hunted in the rest of Wisconsin and have a very long history (73 years) of protection in the state. However, an exclusion to that protection was made in recent years in Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) management zones on the theory that “white deer are just as apt to get the disease as any other deer.”
That is true. However, few deer in Sauk County (where Leland is located) and virtually none in the immediate area have tested positive for CWD. Leland has the misfortune of being somewhat close to counties across the Wisconsin River where there have been more cases of the disease.
Since management goals are only to reduce deer herd size and not to eliminate all deer in CWD zones, opening up hunting on a very small population of white and albino deer is not necessary.
Our goal is to change the current law so that white deer, even in CWD control zones, are once again given equal status with white and albino deer in the rest of the state. The white deer are so rare, so beautiful, and so much appreciated by all who see them that their value alive far exceeds their value as just another venison steak, trophy deer, or sporting goods commodity.