HomeOutdoorsNewsRare Piebald Deer Spotted in South Dakota

Rare Piebald Deer Spotted in South Dakota

by Megan Molseed
(Getty Images/ luvemakphoto)

When Mitchell South Dakota resident, Fred Bailey spotted a unique multi-colored deer earlier this week, he didn’t think the animal was real. But then, it moved and the South Dakota man soon realized he was looking at something very rare and very amazing.

“It was on North Ohlman almost to Lake Mitchell,” Bailey relates.

“It was in a shelterbelt, and I drove by it and thought it was a decoy when it was standing sideways like that,” the South Dakota man continues.

“I had to back up to take the picture because I didn’t think it was real,” he remembers. “It was that close to town.”

Bailey Moved Quickly, Capturing Pics

The deer Fred Bailey spotted that day was a rare Piebald white-tail. This Piebald deer is distinguished from the typical white-tailed deer by its patches of white. These patches are mixed with the more traditional brown fur seen in most white-tailed deer.

As the Mitchell, South Dakota man snapped a couple of pics of the deer, he noticed that the animal appeared to be in the company of another deer. This deer, however, appears to be sporting the typical hide color of this type of animal. Though Bailey didn’t get an up-close look at the deer, he believes the Piebald animal is a white-tailed doe, specifically.

“I’m pretty sure it’s a white tail,” he relates noting that he saw the tail when the animal “turned and trotted off.”

“I’ve seen a lot of them over the years,” Bailey says. “And it’s definitely a white-tailed, not a mule deer or anything like that.”

The Piebald Coloring Is A Mix Of Genetics And Partial Albinism

The unusual coloring found on a Piebald deer stems from genetics and is thought to be a partial albinism. This coloring occurs in around one or two percent of whitetail deer. However, some experts believe the coloring is even rarer than that.

Experts note that the color difference in these deer has no health effects on the animal. And, they remain legal to hunt. Even despite their rare occurrence.

“It is obviously very rare,” notes Jeremy Roe. Roe works as a South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks conservation officer regional supervisor out of Sioux Falls.

“We don’t see very many,” Roe explains.

“We’ll see some white spots and some unique stuff,” he adds. “But not the big white patches that you see on TV or in magazines.”

In fact, the expert adds, the sight is so rare that even Roe couldn’t remember the last time he spotted an animal with this type of marking.

“It’s been years,” Roe relates.

“I want to say we saw a picture of one five or six years ago that made it online,” he says. “But I don’t even know if that one was confirmed.”