Kansas City, Mo. – Seeing a white color phase of a white-tail deer is rare. But Michael Utt of Sugar Creek, Mo., now has photographs of two different white deer. Utt is watching them along with other deer in a small herd on private land near Lake of the Ozarks.
“They’re neat. You can see them coming through the woods from a long ways off,” he said.
Utt lives in the Kansas City metro area but travels to the lake for hunting, fishing and boating. In the autumn of 2011, he took photographs of a female deer that is possibly an albino with white fur and pink eyes. He continues to watch that deer as well as a doe with normal color that he believes is the parent.
White or albino deer are rare, but they do occur and several are reported in Missouri annually, said Lonnie Hansen, a resource scientist for the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC). True albinos require that both the male and female parents carry the recessive albino genes. The deer photographed by Utt this spring is not a true albino, Hansen said after reviewing photographs. But for there to be more than one white deer on the land that Utt visits, there must be several deer carrying genes with white genetic traits, Hansen said.
Utt said residents and visitors to the areas where he has photographed the white deer are protective of them because they enjoy watching them.
For more information on white-tail deer in Missouri, go to mdc.mo.gov. Photos by Michael Utt.