For the Few who have Albino Deer Superstitions, They’re No Joke
In our February 6, 2019 National Deer Alliance members’ poll, we asked several questions about albino deer. In addition to asking if members ever saw an albino in the wild, we also asked about their willingness to shoot an albino deer if given an opportunity in states where it is legal. In short, only one in four respondents ever saw a true albino, and a little over half indicated they would shoot one. Just for fun, we asked about superstitions related to shooting albino deer, and whether that would influence the decision to shoot or not. While almost 90% indicated that a superstition would not keep them from pulling the trigger, many hunters in the small group that said it would keep them from shooting shared their stories.
Several told stories of hunters who shot albinos meeting an untimely demise shortly thereafter. “I have been told on numerous occasions that my grandfather's friend shot an albino deer in the 70's or 80's. He died less than six months later,” wrote one person. Another wrote, “Near where I live, a man shot an albino deer in the fall, and less than a mile from where he shot it, he lost his life in a vehicle accident the following year. After that, nobody around here would ever consider shooting an albino.”
Many respondents suggested that albino deer receive special consideration in Native American culture. We learned from Protect the White Deer that in Native American mythology there is the Chickasaw legend, Ghost of the White Deer. There is also a Lenape legend about white deer that predicts that when a pair of all-white deer is seen together, it is a sign that the indigenous peoples of the Dawnland will all come together and lead the world with their wisdom.
Most who responded talked of general bad luck when deer hunting after shooting an albino, and that was the most popular response. One person took the bad luck theory a different direction by writing, “I hear it’s bad luck to shoot one, and I agree because every person I’ve heard of who did got endlessly harassed by everyone who disagreed with it. We can thank social media for that.”
One person wrote to say that for him, passing on an albino led to his fortune in the deer woods. As he put it, “Like owls, I'd always considered seeing an albino deer would be a gift to measure a hunter's heart. Hunting is much, much more than the taking of game. The true albino doe that I saw (and only 100% pure white deer I've ever seen) was legal, but I was floored by her beauty. Talk about a real ghost of the woods! I watched her for some time and gave thanks for the privilege. Within minutes of her leaving, a nice buck showed up and I shot him. Nothing else in all my years of hunting has come close to matching this.”