White Fawn Found by Morel Hunter

Their sporadic occurrence and seasonal nature make morels an elusive and prized find. But one Sauk County morel hunter found a prize far more valuable: a pure white fawn! He didn’t take home a basket of morels, but was able to take home photos and memories of an encounter more rare than the white deer themselves. He shares that experience and his photos with outdoor writer Paul Smith in this Milwaukee Sentinel article.

This is not the first white fawn found by mushroom hunters in the Sauk County area where there are a scattering of these deer. Fawning time (late May and early June) is when local residents wait anxiously to hear about new white fawns–a time when hikers and farmers accidentally stumble upon the rarest of the rare: a fawn that is essentially “all” spots and no brown.

It has been another anxious year, as several prized white deer have been lost, including one white buck that was killed in a car collision and another that was found dead and believed to have been shot by a hunter. It is spring that brings renewal and hope for another generation of these mythical white beauties.

Whitetail does keep fawns hidden during the day and return at dusk and dawn to feed them. At three weeks the fawns follow mom around and can soon outrun most predators. The common “wisdom” is that white fawns are more easily seen by predators and do not survive long, but Mike Richard, who has watched and photographed Leland’s white deer for years, says he has not seen any difference in survival rates.

The genes for white coat color are recessive, so the little guy in the article got one white gene from each of his parents. Since most deer have twin fawns, it is also likely that there was another fawn hidden nearby. Was it also white? Not necessarily, since siblings may not share the same genes or even the same father!

A cautionary note is in order… If you do find a fawn in the woods, leave it alone. Approaching any fawn is still risky because of the chance of introducing a smell that could draw in predators. If you see one, crank up the camera zoom, stay back, appreciate, enjoy, and then move on. Consider yourself one of the very lucky few to have found something far more valuable than even a morel.