When the pure white buck known as Whitey was illegally shot in Bear Valley in southwest Sauk County last fall, the carcass was confiscated by the DNR. So what happens when an animal is confiscated, especially one as large and incredibly unique as Whitey?
According to Sauk County warden, Sean Neverman, salvageable meat from confiscated animals is typically sold to needy families in the county. Trophy heads and racks may end up in the DNR’s infamous “Wall of Shame”–an exhibit of illegally shot animals that is shown at outdoor events to discourage poaching. Other deer remains may be held as evidence in court trials.
There was no trial in this case and Whitey’s meat was sold to a Sauk County family. As far as a mount, Whitey could have been the star of any poaching exhibit, but the DNR had other plans.
Bear Valley resident Bill Hetzel, who knew Whitey well and runs a local taxidermy business, volunteered to do a full body mount of Whitey for free. Neighborhood residents, all extremely upset by both Whitey’s death and the circumstances of his death, chipped in $500 to cover Bill’s potential expenses. The DNR, however, did not take up Bill’s offer.
According to Sean, Whitey is currently being mounted by another taxidermist and plans are to put the mount on permanent display in a DNR building for educational purposes, either at Mirror Lake State Park, Devil’s Lake State Park, or the Sauk Prairie State Recreation Area–if and when an interpretive center is built there. Unfortunately this could be later rather than sooner, so it’s uncertain when the public will see Whitey again.
Meanwhile, an occasional flash of white is being seen on the ridge where Whitey used to hang out—a glimpse of one of Whitey’s 2016 twin offspring. An older offspring has also been sighted in the region. None of them may end up as big as Whitey (described by Bryan Walsh as a “horse”), but in one form or another, Whitey lives on.
Read the full story of Whitey’s unfortunate shooting death on Protectthewhitedeer.com, on Channel3000.com, in Outdoor News and in Madison’s Isthmus magazine. Bear Valley residents have also created a website in memory of Whitey where you can see more photos: The Big Beautiful Buck Known as Whitey.