PHOTO: New Jersey Hunter Bags Incredibly Rare 10-Point Piebald Buck

by Amy Myers
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A three-year quest surrounding a rare, piebald buck came to an end earlier this month when New Jersey hunter Robby Stenger headed out to his stand on opening day for archery season.

Back in 2019, Stenger spotted a fawn on his 3-acre property in Marlboro when it was a fawn. Immediately, the deer hunter picked up on its strange, spotted coloring and knew that this deer was special, indeed. He had even given it the name, “Casper.”

For the next two years, Stenger kept an eye on the creature as it matured, eventually sprouting ten points on its antlers. Prior to this season, the hunter spotted Casper on his trail cams, noting that while he didn’t gain any more points, his rack did appear much girthier.

“I figured he was gonna score around 130 or 135 inches, and I was contemplating not shooting him this year,” Stenger told Field and Stream. “Ideally, I could let him go one more year and he’d break 150, maybe even more with the genetics we have around here.”

Unfortunately, according to the orchard owner close to Stenger’s property, several other hunters had been eyeing the same deer. In fact, they even showed the orchardist their own photos of the piebald buck. Knowing that this season would likely be the buck’s last, Stenger wanted to be the one behind the arrow.

“That conversation happened at 7:30 a.m. An hour later, I got my first daylight photo of the buck that year,” Stenger explained. “I decided on the spot that I was going to shoot him if I could. I got in my stand around 3:30 p.m., and by 4:30 p.m. he was dead. It happened that fast.”

New Jersey Hunter Takes Down Piebald Buck at 20 Yards

Beyond the competition, Strenger also had a second obstacle that nearly took the trophy buck away from him – the wind.

“It was blowing at my back, which meant the buck might catch my scent if it dropped down into that crease where I expected him to cross. Luckily, he made a big circle and skirted me before coming in, and my scent was rising due to the afternoon thermals,” Stenger said.

Thankfully, though, luck was on Strenger’s side. The piebald buck never picked up on his scent, and the hunter dropped it at 20 yards. Though piebaldism is rare among deer, it isn’t a harmful genetic mutation for animals to have. It’s simply a lack of melanism in the genetic code that results in a speckled brown-and-white pattern.

“He’s an extremely rare and beautiful deer, with that piebald pattern and those dark, dark chocolate antlers,” Strenger said. “To see something like that is mind-blowing. It’s probably the prettiest buck I’ve ever seen in my life. And now he’s at the taxidermist, and I’ll remember it forever.”