Thanks to legislation signed last week by Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, hunters in The Sooner State no longer need special permission to shoot white or piebald deer during the regular hunting seasons.
Since 1998, Oklahoma hunters were required by law to obtainwritten permission from the state wildlife director before harvesting an albino, white or piebald (brown with white patches) white-tailed deer.
Like with many decidedly obscure hunting regulations across the country, Oklahoma’s “white deer rule” was not widely known and understood among sportsmen, which led to an embarrassing situation for a former state lawmaker a couple of years ago—and eventually to the passage of House Bill 1314 this year.
During the 2010 Oklahoma rifle deer season, state Representative Terry Harrison was so excited about the piebald deer he shot that he submitted a photo of himself posed with the unique specimen to the "McAlester News-Capital," where it appeared on the front page of the sports section. Shortly thereafter, the newspaper—and Rep. Harrison—began receiving calls questioning whether he had obtained the proper permit to kill a piebald deer. He had not.
As a result, Harrison was fined $296, issued a public apology and said he hoped other hunters “can learn from my mistake.”
With this month’s official repeal of the prohibition and special permit, white and piebald deer are now fair game for Oklahoma hunters. In 2008, responding to similar confusion among hunters and game wardens, the Michigan Natural Resources Commission voted to drop that state’s longtime regulation that prohibited hunting albino or all-white deer.
However, some states continue to prohibit hunters from taking pure albino deer, but allow the harvest of piebald animals. At last check, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Tennessee and Wisconsin do not allow hunters to take albinos.
And in Iowa, deer that are more than 50-percent white are strictly protected. Just imagine doing the math while in a treestand, bearing down on a big buck!
Would you shoot a white deer? Comment below.