I have been hunting for about 12 years now and truly enjoy every minute of it. Whether it is squirrel hunting, rabbit hunting, deer hunting or even mushroom hunting, I love it all. I am a self-taught hunter. I've learned a lot by just going out and doing it. I find that hunting gives me the opportunity to get away from everyday stress and provide food for my family at the same time.
I have been hunting this albino buck since last year, seeing him only four times and shooting at him three. The first time was last year during gun season. I was sitting on the ground in a pretty open area in the woods, half asleep. When I looked up, I saw what looked like a goat lying on the ground about 100 yards from me. I picked up my camera and was trying to zoom in on it when he hopped up and started walking away. I got a couple pictures that didn't really turn out very well, but you could kind of tell what it was.
When I realized what he actually was, I started into the usual panic mode of reaching for my rifle and trying to get a shot. From the distance I was away from him, you couldn't tell whether he had antlers or not, but I knew it was a deer and it was definitely albino. I pulled up and took a shoot at him and thought I had hit him because of the way he ran off, but when I went to look for him all I found was a puff of white hair on the ground and no blood. I didn't see him the rest of the season and only heard tell of him out by the road a few times by a fellow coworker that travels the area frequently.
The second time I had an encounter with him was the beginning of bow season, just before dark. I was sitting by a pond in the forest in my tree stand when a six-point buck came out of the woods grunting and heading for a drink of water. I really wasn't interested in shooting him because it was early in the deer hunting season, and I was hoping for a big buck this year. I watched him for a while and even took video of him stomping around in the shallow pond. As he was leaving the pond area, he showed interest in something off in the woods but then just walked off out of sight.
About 10 minutes later, as I sat listening to some crows making noise in an oak tree next to me, I turned back to the pond to see what looked like a six-point albino buck getting ready to get him a drink. So now in panic mode, I pulled my bow up and realized I had little to no shot at him. There was a large branch sticking out in front of me, and to get my shot, I had to shoot between some limbs while stretching out as far as I could without falling 20 feet to the ground. I took the shot only to see him jump up and run off into the woods. I hopped down to search for my arrow only to find it stuck in the mud next to the pond. I was disappointed in myself for missing him due to the fact he was so close, and if I had waited just a little longer, I might have had an opportunity for a better shot. It’s very unlikely to get two chances at a deer like this, and at this point, I had blown both of them.
The third time I saw him was almost a month later while I was just scouting the woods for new scrapes and rubs in the area. I just topped a large hill when I came across five or six large piles of sandstone rocks that seemed out of place, especially that far back in the forest. As I was looking around, I noticed a little doe had spotted me and was trying to determine if I was friend or foe. I watched her for a bit stomping her foot at me trying to get me to move while raising and lowering her head trying to trick me.
Then I heard a noise in the woods about 30 yards away and turned to look, only to find the albino buck courting a large doe. In panic mode for the third time, I made ready with my bow, trying to creep up on them without the smaller doe seeing me. I made it about 10 feet or so, and the smaller doe ruined everything. She got down wind of me, and that was it. The larger doe and buck took off jumping, tails waving in the air out of sight. At this point, I knew I'd never get a fourth shot but I wasn't giving up. I scouted around for a good place to set up for the next day’s hunt and went home to regroup.
The fourth and final time I saw him was two days later. I had just climbed up in my tree stand and was removing some dead hanging limbs out of the way to make sure I would have a good shot at a deer. As I was breaking the limbs away, I looked to my left to see a large white albino buck making his way up the ridge through a bunch of pawpaw trees, coming right for me. Now in full panic mode, I reached for my bow and loaded it and pulled up just as he got through the trees into the clearing.
As I stood in my stand, he looked like a 12-point buck the size of a horse. My heart beating out of my chest, I squeezed my release and let her fly. The buck jumped up and ran out of sight through the pawpaws like he had only been spooked. At this point, I thought I had missed him due to the fact that usually when you stick one they haul rear-end out of dodge. As I stood in my tree stand, disappointed in myself for blowing a fourth chance at the big white unicorn of a deer, I decided to hop down and find my arrow.
I looked around for a while for my arrow and had no luck, so I thought maybe I did hit him and started looking for blood. I walked about 20 yards or so looking, but there was no blood to be seen. So I started back to the scene of the shot to check again for my arrow – still, no arrow.
At this point, I was dumbfounded and came to the conclusion I must have stuck him and the arrow stayed in. Kind of excited at this new thought, I started looking for blood again, and about 10 feet from where I stopped looking for blood the first time – EUREKA – I found some.
I followed the trail for about 100 yards and spotted him lying just beyond some pawpaws on the hill side. I made my way up to him very slowly so that he wouldn't jump up and run off if he wasn't dead yet. As I walked up on him, his white coat shined in the autumn leaves with a rose red splatter of blood on his side. At this point I was so proud of myself; I couldn't believe I finally got him.
I sat beside him for awhile, admiring his beauty, when I noticed a large spot of hair missing from his chest. I thought to myself, “Could this be where I shot him last season?” Upon further examination, I found a cut just above his shoulders on his neck. Could this be where I thought I missed him at the pond the second sighting? The cut matched up perfectly with the direction of shot and where I found the arrow in the mud. I do know that if these are wounds from me – he was one lucky buck and now I'm one lucky hunter.
Now all there was left to do is make the half-mile drag out of the woods and check in my prize buck. I'd like to thank a real good buddy Jay Morris for his contribution to the dragging operation.
by Randall Gerkin, Bass Pro 1Source member