Story by Tom Pagliaroli


No, there is no “curse” for shooting a deer dressed in a white hair coat, or even a partial white hair coat, for that matter.

In fact, there should be accolades.


Because by doing so, one is removing a recessive-gene (albinism) from the genetic pool. The only parts of a whitetail deer that is supposed to be white are the throat patch, the brisket-to-butt “undercarriage” and, of course, the inside flap of the tail that flips upward (most of the time) when the animal is fleeing, hence it’s moniker.

Long held the rumor that shooting a white or piebald (partial) deer, especially a buck, will bring bad luck to future hunts and, in these redux days of the early 90s animal “rights” anti-hunting craziness, retribution from those who hold deer in equal status with humans.

The latter aside, the hex is a hoax perpetrated by who knows how many years ago in a hunting camp up in the mountains of Sussex County, the piney woods of the Barrens, and/or the swamp and thorn thicket-infested lands stretching from Burlington to Cape May and then westwards through Camden, Salem, Cumberland and Gloucester counties.

“Shoot a white deer, doe ‘er buck, and yer never gonna see a legal buck the rest of yer life,” spat a tobacco-munching older-than-Moses drive captain to a wide-eyed and incredibly impressionable 14-year old (me) in a cabin tucked deep in the Burlington County woods many decades ago.

One of the way too many bad things will happen if you possess either the ignorance or arrogance to down a deified deer.

Rest easy. You’ll be doing the local population a service removing one of these genetic aberrations and slowing, if not halting, the spread of the recessive trait. And no harm will come your way, at least when it comes to deer and deer hunting.

You can take that to the bank, almost. Hey, I’m practical and a realist, but I also never-say-never!

Photo by Tom P
Photo by Tom P

Permit Season Strong: The permit archery deer season is going full tilt, with the rut in perfect synch. The corollary of the bucks being batty is that their movements are totally unpredictable and will be so for another week or two. Feeding and traversing habitual routes now take a far back seat to impregnating a receptive doe, the latter often leading said suitor on a latticework of nip ‘n tuck tails. Expect antlers to show at any time of day, from first to last light, i.e. be prepared to sit in a tree stand or in a blind all day.

A long sit, yes, but the rewards in terms of a rack and a full freezer, are worth it.

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