Check out the FIVE archery video tips below to get valuable information on how you can be sure you have an arrow that’s “Just Pass’N Through!”
Bow Hunting Tips: #1 – Bow Maintenance | Avoid Freak Accidents Like This One…
When you see this freak archery accident, you’ll want to learn what you can do to help prevent the possibility of it ever happening to you.
Bow hunting is more than just flinging arrows. bow maintenance checks in the off-season, as well as before your hunt, are an extremely important part of being sure you are able to bow hunt safely and avoiding injury.
In the first of our bow hunting tips, we’ve got details on how to do preventative bow maintenance, so you can avoid unnecessary accidents like this one when shooting your bow…
If you watched the above video, you’ll understand why bow maintenance is an important part of bow hunting.
Some of you are shooting your bow year round, but some of you put it into storage during the off season and because the temperatures can change in those environments, it’s very important to check bowstrings cables as well as your limbs before shooting.
Here are some things you should check before you shoot your bow:
Be sure before every shoot that you check your strings and your cables for any signs of wear or fraying. Anything like that can be a potential for a broken string or cable during a hunt just like in the video above.
Be sure you check your limbs very carefully. You want to be sure there’s no signs of splintering, bubbling, or cracking. Extreme temperatures and sometimes even storage can cause limbs to weaken. And, you don’t want to have one of those limbs be damaged or break during a shoot.
Be sure all your screws and any bolts are tightened properly, so that you don’t have any of your accessories loose during a shoot.
Check your cams. Be sure you don’t have any nics or cuts that would affect your string in any way, whether it be to cause a fraying or a cutting of the string, or else damage to a cam, where your string may actually even come off the track.
Be sure your rest is aligned properly.
Check cam rotation and be sure the cams are not warped and that they both reach letoff at the same exact time.
Tip #2 – Blind Bale Shooting [Improve Your Archery Technique]
In this N1 Minute archery tips video, learn how closing your eyes can be the best way to see results in your archery and bow hunting technique.
Stand back a few feet from a large target. Draw back and locate your target. Close your eyes and shoot. This drill will help grip, form, anchor point and release techniques. Put all these techniques together N1, and you’ll be seeing the results soon.
Tip #4 – Hunting Stances Can Make Or Break A Bow Hunt [So, Know Them All!]
In the below N1 Minute archery tips video, learn about various stances that can help you in all types of bow hunting scenarios.
For those of you who have bow hunted any amount of time, you know that some things can happen during a hunt that simple target practice can’t prepare you for. The video above will show you some archery tips to help you be best prepared when your moment of truth comes.
Here’s a simple tip to keep those muscles active after hunting season and all it takes is a simple exercise band.
So many hunters put away their bows, after the fall, through winter, until turkey season. With, one of these exercise bands, you can practice your draw cycle throughout the winter and make that first draw in the spring a little easier.
Simply grasp one end of the band with your front hand and with your drawing hand, pull the band back to your anchor point. Repeat this ten to fifteen times and then switch hands. This will work both your back and shoulders. A few sets of this draw cycle exercise a day, and you’ll be ready to hit the mark on your next 3D shoot or Spring turkey hunt.
Tip #6: Guessing Is Gambling [Scout Instead!]
Everyone has things going on in life. Whether it’s work, family or other obligations, sometimes it’s hard to make time to scout. Then, before you know it, deer season sneaks up on you and you find yourself scrambling to grab your bowhunting gear and get in a tree or blind.
Or, maybe you’re just tempted to get in the same stand you always hunt and hope for the best.
Sure, there’s always a story of this happening… but the reality is you need to put in the work before the season ever starts to increase your chances of taking a deer or other game.
Don’t gamble when you bowhunt. Scout prior to the hunt so you can put yourself in a position to be successful.
Basic trailcams have become much less expensive in recent years, so save your pennies and get a couple of these helpful scouting tools and place them overlooking scrapes or on know travel corridors to and from bedding and food sources. Y
Trail cam pictures can you give you insight into deer patterns and how they coincide to time of day, time of year, weather and food/water source availability. This will help you make decisions on where to hang that deer stand or blind.
As discussed in our earlier tips, having properly functioning equipment and being proficient with it is critical. However, it can all be for nothing if you don’t practice scent control.
You will be hunting deer and other animals on their home turf. They have the upper hand and their noses are a big reason why.
Not only are the deer at an advantage – but you’re bowhunting – so, you need to be able to get much closer to the animal than you would if you were rifle hunting.
So, the bottom line is that you need to smell as little like – well, YOU – as possible!
Don’t give a deer’s nose a reason to tell it to run away. Make every effort to be as scent-free as possible.
There are plenty of scent-free and scent-control soaps and detergents available at your local sporting goods store. You can also wash your clothes in baking soda. Then, store your clothes in a scent free bag or container.
On the day of your hunt, avoid coming in contact with any scent that would smell unnatural to a deer’s nose. Yes, that means you might need to skip the steaming hot sausage biscuit run or the pre-hunt cigarette before the hunt.
So, if the deer or other game see, smell or hear “danger” as it goes to and/or from the magic hunting spot, they aren’t going to stick around and stand quartering away for you to put an arrow through the boiler room.
So, how can you avoid being busted on your way to and from your hunting location?
First of all, as we’ve already covered, you must do everything you can to be scent free and you must always pay attention to the wind direction. You don’t want your scent blown to where you expect the deer to be on your way in.
The same goes for exiting your hunting location. If deer bust you leaving your hunting location, they will associate that location with potential danger and you may not get another chance at them there.
So, be sure to plan your entry and exit routes so that you stay downwind of the where you know the deer or game to be. This can greatly increase your odds of slipping in and out as undetected as possible.
Taking an ethical shot is such an important part of bowhunting. Take a shot that gives you the best chance at a quick and clean kill.
This isn’t always easy when bowhunting. So, that’s why it’s so important to have followed the pre-hunt bowhunting tips in #1-5 that we covered, so that when the moment of truth comes, you know you are ready.
You don’t want the animal to suffer and you also want to be sure you are shooting at the deer or game so that you can have as quick and humane kill as possible.
We couldn’t leave out number 10, could we. After all, you’ve put in the work getting proficient with your bow and you’ve worked hard to get yourself in position to successfully take an animal. So, when you finally do it, you’ve got to celebrate the moment!
Celebrate! It’s one of the best bowhunting tips we can give you…
And, there’s no better way to do that than with family and friends.
That’s why we say here at N1 Outdoors: Where the moments happen, we’ll meet you there!
Bowhunting Tips | Final Thoughts
Happy hunting… we hope you have found our bow hunting tips to be useful in your quest to become better at your craft.
Do you have some bowhunting tips that you think would be good additions? Let us know in the comments below. It’s always great to learn from other hunters!
READY TO DIVE INTO OUR TOP 11 DEER HUNTING TIPS TO BECOMING A BETTER HUNTER?READ ON BELOW!
Deer Hunting Tip #1: Be obsessed with scent control
Never, ever underestimate the importance of wind direction and scent control when hunting whitetail deer. Their noses are sensitive defense systems that help alert them to predators… and that includes you!
A deer’s best defense mechanism is its nose. You have to figure out how to stay out of its way.(Photo by Jeff Coldwell)
If you want to increase your chances of taking a whitetail, you need to be as “invisible” to the deer as possible. This is why being obsessed with scent control is #1 on our list of deer hunting tips.
Can you just roll up into the woods with a smoldering Marlboro Red dangling from your lips, randomly pick a tree stand or blind to hunt in, and get lucky? Sure, there’s always a story. But, taking this approach is not setting you up for hunting success.
You smell good… or do you?
Let’s face it, you stink. Sure, you may practice good hygiene, but the truth is, to a whitetail, you are a foul odor!
There are a variety of products on the market that allow hunters to get clean without smelling like a perfume commercial.
Generously using a scent-free soap when you shower (before you go in the woods, not the night before), is a big step in the right direction. But wait, but there’s more you can do.
You need to be as under the radar as possible when it comes to defeating the nose of the whitetail deer. Scent control is an absolute must.
Your significant other may love that you shower and use sweet smelling soaps, but if you want a deer hunting date with destiny, you’d better be diligent with smelling, well, like nothing.
What about the towels you dry off with? Do they smell like a rose garden? How much good do you think it will do you to wash with scent-free soap if you immediately dry off with a towel that smells “mountain fresh?”
Do yourself a solid and take care of the scent on your bath towels. Your hunting success could depend on it.
A big part of scent control is making sure that you are wearing the right hunting clothes for the type of weather you are hunting in. A good rule of thumb when thinking through what hunting clothes you’re going to wear is this… don’t wear something that will make you sweat.
Whether the forecast calls for hot weather or frigid weather, when it comes to whitetail hunting, sweat is definitely not your friend.
As your skin’s bacteria begins to break down the sweat your body produces, odor occurs. And, of course we’ve already talked about how a whitetail feels about your B.O. So, why give them one more reason to bust your while you are walking into the woods or in your deer stand?
Be sure you wear appropriate clothing for the weather you are hunting in. Too little clothing and you’ll be too cold. Too much and you’ll sweat, be cold… AND smell bad!
Even if it’s cold weather, wearing too much clothing, especially on a long walk carrying hunting gear, can lead to sweating. Not only will you stink, but you’ll have a very cold day in the deer stand once your body temperature cools down.
One way to prevent sweating is to dress lightly on cold days when walking to your deer stand or permanant blind. You may be cold at first, but as you walk, your body temperature will rise. Once you get to your hunting location, you can add layers to your light clothing. If you’ve avoided sweating and can keep your head and feet warm, you’ll likely be ready for a long sit.
Your deer hunting success – or lack thereof – is often tied to your attention to detail when it comes to scent control.
Remember, a quick stop at a fast food restaurant before your deer hunt may curb the hunger pains, but it could also undo all the painstaking scent control preparation you’ve done leading up to this point.
Hot sausage biscuit smell is not a scent that is natural to the deer woods. So, as good as that greasy goodness may sound to you early on hunting day, try an apple, banana or granola bar instead.
Final scent control steps
So, you’ve been careful to eliminate as much human scent as possible prior to walking to your deer stand or blind… but, you’re not done yet! Scent control clothing is another layer of detection protection against a deer’s nose.
There are plenty of scent control clothing items, suits, etc on the market, so it won’t be hard for you to find some options here. It’s important to not only cover your body, but also your head and face, when possible. Remember, the goal is to have as little of your scent floating through the air or left on the ground as possible.
In addition, you can also use scent eliminator sprays to spray down your hunting clothing, boots, etc before walking to your hunting location. Again, there are many available on the market to choose from.
So, you’ve been careful to remove and keep as much human scent off you as possible prior to the hunt. But, that’s only a part of a good scent control hunting strategy.
It’s imperative that you pay attention to wind direction each and every time you prepare to hunt. Ignoring wind direction is one of the biggest mistakes you can make as a hunter. That’s why wind direction makes our list of deer hunting tips. And, it goes hand in hand with scent control.
The whitetail not only sees movement extremely well, it has a nose that is made to smell trouble. If you expect to harvest a mature buck, you had better not ignore the wind.
As we’ve already mentioned, a deer’s nose is a defense mechanism. If it smells you, it smells danger. So, you don’t want your scent blowing over areas that are holding deer (the last thing you want to hear is a deer blowing because it smelled you).
It’s important, whenever possible, to be familiar with deer patterns on the property you’ll be hunting. Know where the bedding and feeding areas are, as well as the travel routes that deer take between the two.
Being “upwind” of the deer means you’re above, or upward, of their location. So, that means if the wind blows over you, everything below you would potentially be detecting your scent.
That’s not what you want.
Being “downwind” of the deer means that you are below their location as it pertains to the wind. This is what you want. You want to be downwind of the deer so that when the wind blows, it does not blow toward the deer you are hunting.
Being “downwind” of the deer you are hunting is critical to your hunting success.
If you know where deer typically bed down and feed, an easy way to remember how to stay downwind is to try to always have the wind blowing in your face as you approach those locations. This will keep your scent downwind of the deer your are hunting. Remember, you don’t want a deer’s nose to detect you while you are hunting in the stand or in the blind, but you also don’t want them to smell you when you leave. If they do, they could pattern you and of course, avoid those locations, which means less deer for you to potentially see and kill. So, be sure that your exit route is downwind of where the deer are as well. This takes careful planning.
And then there’s the dreaded cough. Do everything you can NOT to cough, but certainly try to muffle the sound as much as possible if a cough is unavoidable. You might should stay home and rest rather than educate the deer to your presence.
Every hunter fantasizes about that perfect hunting scenario… There you are in your favorite hunting location. Out walks the buck of a lifetime. If you’re a bowhunter, maybe you imagine him walking 15 yards upwind of your stand.
Then, he magically turns broadside, presenting the perfect shot for a clean pass-through. He stands there, looking the other direction, as you stand, draw, put the pin on him and release the perfect shot, at the perfect time, on the perfect buck.
Can scenarios like that happen? Sure they can. But, what is more likely, is that there will be a lot of things that factor into whether or not you get the chance to take the deer. Are you going to be prepared for those factors?
It may be virtually impossible to think just like a deer, but hunters need to use their imagination to try and pre-determine all the possible scenarios that can happen during a whitetail hunt… and practice for them!
While rifle or archery target practice is an important part of honing your hunting skills, you also need to be prepared for the things that can happen during a hunt that you can’t control.
For example, can you shoot your bow effectively from varying stances? Are you as accurate standing up as well as sitting down? Have you practiced shooting at varying heights and angles and in different types of weather?
Use your imagination and dream up all the possible scenarios that could happen during a hunt. Rely on past experiences as well. Chances are, something is going to happen on a hunt that you didn’t expect… unless of course, you’re ready for it!
It’s not enough to know where the deer are on your hunting property and simply hang a lock-on stand or to use a climbing stand. Be sure what that stand placement will look like during the time of day you are hunting.
Be sure that your stand placement doesn’t create silhoetting or shadowing that will get you busted.
You might have picked a location for your deer stand that is covered up with scrapes, licking branches, rubs and other deer sign. You may have even imagined what the deer you’re going to shoot looks like. But, you also need to imagine what you’re going to look like to the deer while you’re in that stand.
Let’s say you find a great location to hunt. So, you pick a tree for your stand placement, but it has no other trees or cover around it. And, let’s say you will be hunting that stand at a time of day when the sun will be behind you.
Without any surrounding cover, when that big ‘ole sun shines behind you, the deer could potentially get a silhouette of your body against the sunlight.
Trees like this might be too small to hide your shape from a wary whitetail, especially after the leaves fall. If available, trees with wider trunks can help conceal you better.
A wary doe or buck may not hang around to see what happens next. And, they will likely be cautious when entering that area again.
So how can you prevent this? One way is to try and select trees that have a wide base that your body’s shape can disappear against.
Trees like this obviously cannot be climbed with a climbing stand. They can, however, be very good trees for lock-on deer stands.
If you wear some good camo clothing, it will be more difficult for a deer to silhouette you when you’re sitting with your back against a tree that is wider than you are.
No not insurance coverage! Whether using a climbing stand or a lock-on stand, is to try to pick a tree that has another tree right beside it, behind it, or around it that can provide some cover for you.
It’s important to remember that a deer’s line of sight is often different than yours. Try to visualize what you look like from their perspective.
Any leaves, branches or trees that will provide some break up of your silhouette without hindering your shot can be very beneficial in keeping your location concealed.
Contrary to what some believe, deer can and will look up. If they hear you or run across scent near your tree stand location, they might look up to see what that strange looking thing is above them. That usually doesn’t end in success for the hunter.
Hunting higher up in a tree can benefit you in a few ways. First, it can allow your scent to blow higher across the ground, and give you somewhat of an edge in the scent control game. In addition, hunting higher often makes a deer in close range less aware of your presence.
So, choose your hunting location after giving much thought to sun location as well as surrounding cover and tree stand height.
Hunting higher in the tree might help to blow your scent over a mature buck’s nose. But, it can also make shot angles steeper and more difficult.
Tip #6: Know thy land
If at all possible, you should be familiar with the land you are hunting. Sure, you may get an opportunity to hunt a piece of property, or even public hunting land that you don’t have the opportunity to scout prior to the hunt. However, if you do have full access to the property you will hunt, you should put in the time to be well versed in the details of that property.
Where are the deer and where are they going?
It’s hard to ignore an area of your hunting property that is full of deer sign. But, sometimes, you need to dig deeper into the details. It’s not just important to know where the deer are at a particular time… you also want to know where they’re going. After all, deer tracks tell you where they’ve already been!
Do you know where the deer typically bed down? Are you familiar with the feeding areas and water sources? Where are the travel routes that the deer typically use to move from one area to the next?
For example, it can be very difficult to sneak into and setup in a deer’s bedding area without getting busted. However, if you know where the deer typically go when they leave the bedding area, that’s important to note in formulating a plan to harvest whitetails. Then, be there waiting on the deer when they get there!
It’s important to not only know where the deer are on the property you’re hunting. It’s also critical to know where they are travelling to and from.(photo by Matt Hartsky)
Don’t forget the wind
As referenced earlier, all of this must be done while thinking about and paying attention to wind direction. Is your entry route to your hunting spot accessible without having your wind blow to the deer’s location?
It doesn’t matter how many deer you may have on your hunting land. If you don’t have a plan to approach your hunting location downwind of the deer, your hunt could be over before it even begins.
It’s wise to have multiple stand locations to account for various wind directions. (Photo by Jeff Coldwell)
This means you should consider having multiple deer stand locations for varying wind directions. So, if the wind isn’t right on a particular day for that location, resist the urge to hunt it until it is.
When possible, take advantage of creek beds and ditches to access your blind or deer stand location, so that you can minimize the amount of scent you leave on deer travel routes and feeding areas.
Also, be sure you are aware of the prevailing winds on the property you are hunting. And, don’t just know the wind direction. Know how the topography and lay of the land can cause wind currents to swirl or move erratically. Remember, the wind can make or break a hunt. So, know how the lay of your hunting land affects it.
Tip #7: Aim for low scores in predictability
When it comes down to it, you want to be where the deer are going to be when you are hunting. Hopefully, you have done enough scouting of the land and reviewing of trail cam pictures that you can predict deer movement. But, while you want predictable deer, you don’t want to be predictable yourself.
For example, let’s say you knew that a dump truck would speed by, dangerously close to your front door, every single morning at 8:05 am. You would probably be sure you aren’t anywhere outside your front door at that time of day!
Deer are no different. If you are lazy in your hunting strategy and become predictable, deer will simply avoid those hunting locations during the times you try to access them.
Mix things up. Don’t hunt the same deer stand or blind location every time, even if the wind is right. Have multiple hunting locations and multiple ways to access them. And, of course, always pay attention to the wind when you make your entry and exit.
Tip #8: Be a doe stalker
There are meat hunters and trophy hunters. This article isn’t about arguing which group is more right in its hunting approach. But, there is a hunting tip that helps both groups… hunt the does.
Sooner or later, as the rut begins to heat up, bucks will go on the prowl for hot does. It’s an inevitable part of the whitetail life cycle. And you want to know where the does typically are when it begins.
Sooner or later, bucks will be where the does are… be sure you know where that is.
Even Mr. Big Buck can throw caution to the wind when a hot doe is the prize. If you hunt the does throughout the season, he just might eventually show up in your cross hairs or behind one of your bow sight pins.
You might be a casual hunter, or only have time to hunt a few times a season. Or, you might have the luxury of getting to hunt as often as you like. Either way, knowing where the does are and how they move on a property throughout the course of a hunting season gives you a higher probability of taking a deer, and possibly, the buck of a lifetime.
Tip #9: Know that the rut changes things
Most deer hunters would probably say that if they could only hunt one time a year, they would want to hunt during the rut.
The rut is indeed a magical time of year for the whitetail hunter. Bucks that have been mostly nocturnal can show up out of nowhere, trailing or chasing hot does. But, it’s important for hunters to be aware that while the rut can ramp up deer movement and buck activity, it also brings changes.
The rut certainly provides some opportunities to see daytime bucks. But, remember that as phases of the rut change, so do bucks’ patterns and behaviors.
For example, prior to the peak of the rut, you may have hunted scrape lines and rub lines, hoping to get a shot at bucks that might be working those locations. During this time, bucks are looking to leave their territorial scent as well as checking scrapes for any receptive does in the area.
But, when bucks are locked up with does during peak phase of the rut, scrape activity can seemingly vanish. It’s important to know be aware that as the phases of the rut change, so does buck activity.
Tip #10: Don’t let technology get you busted
Communication while hunting has come a long way over the years. Hi-tech hunting used to mean having a walkie-talkie with an ear piece. Now, cell phones allow us to text our family and friends as well as take and send pictures and video… all while in the deer stand or blind.
However, if we took a poll of all deer hunters, we would probably find that more than a few have been busted by deer because they were paying more attention to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram than they were their surroundings.
If you give a deer enough chances, they’ll eventually be able to spot those busy little fingers texting away on a that wonderful piece of technology called a smart phone. When that happens you’ll wish you had been, well… smarter. Aside from that, there are so many things (other than deer) in the great outdoors that you can miss. Don’t let staring down at a screen keep you from fully enjoying the wonderful creation around you.
Tip #11: Take an ethical shot
Be sure to take a shot that will lead to the quickest possible kill.
Whether with a bow or a gun, taking an ethical shot on a deer is an important part of being a responsible hunter.
Now, the definition of an “ethical shot” has certainly been hotly debated. But, however you define it, hopefully it leads to the cleanest and quickest kill possible for the scenario.
To do this requires practice, patience and sometimes even the ability to pass up a shot that is not ideal. It’s part of being a disciplined hunter.
You want to have the best chance of a quick and ethical kill. Be sure you are familiar with a deer’s anatomy and how your angle position will impact the entry and exit wound.
Will you always succeed in a clean and quick kill? Probably not, especially if you are bowhunting. But, doing so effectively means you have probably learned some lessons by not taking some ethical shots.
When you make your shot, you might feel like celebrating, but be sure to watch the deer for as long as possible to watch its path and where you last saw it.
Whatever the case, do your best to learn from others, as well as your own experiences, to take the most ethical shot possible.
There are certainly many more deer hunting tips to be shared, but hopefully these 11 have provided you with some knowledge and insight into how to improve your hunting strategy and increase your rate of hunting success. We hope you put a hole N1!
As a deer hunter, a whitetail deer is a welcome sight, but not necessarily a rarity. But, catching a glimpse of the incredibly rare piebald deer is a scarce and beautiful sight.
Every now and again, hunting enthusiasts get to witness rare images of a piebald deer on social media, discovered by a “lucky” select few hunters.
If you are a hunter and have the opportunity to harvest a piebald buck, consider it an extremely rare event.
DID YOU KNOW? The name “piebald” originates from the word “pie” – short for magpie, a black and white bird in the crow family. Piebald deer look bald because of their patchy appearance… Pie + Bald = Piebald! – VIDEOS BELOW!
This unique deer features impossible-to-miss white markings, standing out like a unicorn in a forest full of horses. In fact, many hunters focus exclusively on these hard-to-find critters – determined to add a new trophy to their collection.
But – what exactly is a piebald deer and just how rare are they?
Piebald deer can have small areas of a splotchy, white pattern, or large areas of white, like this one pictured.
Contrary to what many hunters believe, piebaldism is not a combination of a regular whitetail deer and its albino counterpart.
Piebaldism is a genetic abnormality responsible for the piebald deer’s appearance. It’s a rare condition that affects less than 2% of the whitetail deer population.
Every piebald deer is especially unique, making them an incredible sightto hunters and non-hunters alike.
According to geneticists and researchers, the name “piebald” originates from the word “pie” – short for magpie, a bird in the crow family. The magpie has black and white plumage.
The piebald deer has a genetic abnormality, causing patches of white across its body. This patchy look gives it a mixed up appearance, in which the patches, or lack of pigmentation almost make it “bald.” Pie + Bald = Piebald!
Composed of incongruous parts. Of different colors, especially: spotted or blotched with black and white. A piebald animal (such as a horse)
Piebald deer come in a range of colorations and variations. There is no stock-standard. Some piebald deer look as though they’ve been splashed with white paint. Others may look almost “airbrushed” or spotted.
Piebald bucks like this one are a rare but beautiful sight.
It is believed that this recessive trait must be carried by both deer-parents, maternal and paternal, in order for the offspring to be piebald. That’s what makes the condition of piebaldism so exceptionally rare.
SCROLL DOWN TOVIEW MORE PHOTOS AND OTHER DETAILED INFO ON PIEBALD DEER
Piebaldism presents itself in many different forms, varying from moderate to severe depending on the circumstances. While some piebald deer can live normal, long, happy and healthy lives, most aren’t so lucky.
Interestingly, piebaldism isn’t just isolated to deer. Throughout nature, we see many other species experiencing this genetic abnormality, including horses, certain dog breeds, python snakes, moose, bald eagles, and on some cases, even humans.
That’s not snow on that deer… it’s just piebald markings!
Piebaldism | More Than Just A Coloring Abnormality
Apart from the strikingly unique coat, a piebald deer usually has other distinguishing features, include shorter-than-normal legs, an arched spine (scoliosis), and a prominent oral overbite.
Beyond the surface, a piebald deer normally experiences certain organ deformities, and even arthritis.
Piebald deer are a rare sight, but harvesting one is a feather in the cap for some!
According to geneticists, this boils down to something called “pleiotropy,” which causes one single gene to control numerous traits. The affected traits range from pigmentation to bone development and more.
It’s not unusual to see a piebald deer with debilitating genetic mutations and severe birth defects. Combined, these factors make it exceptionally challenging for piebald deer to survive in the wild – let alone make it to adulthood.
In one recent case study, Missy Runyan, a New York-based wildlife rehabilitator, was called to the scene of a distressed fawn in May of 2017.
The white-as-snow piebald fawn was plagued by severe birth defects, including life-threatening internal genetic mutations.
The fawn didn’t live for much longer, but Runyan managed to X-Ray the fawn’s body and detect numerous internal abnormalities. The results showed internal defects that made it impossible for the fawn to survive in the wild.
The genetic causes for piebaldism and albinism differ, something you can easily spot by gazing into the affected deer’s eyes.
While an albino deer’s eyes are pink, accompanies by a pink nose and hooves with pink hues, piebald deer have brown eyes, a brown nose, and black hooves.
Some believe that a piebald deer is a cross-breed between an albino whitetail and a normal whitetail, but this is not the case. There are clear differences between albino deer (above) and piebald deer.
Piebald deer should also not be confused with melanistic deer, which typically lack brown or white color variations and usually appear to be black across their entire bodies.
While geneticists and scientists are still hard at work to fully understand the genetic mutation that causes piebaldism, one thing is for sure: If you see one, you should count yourself lucky. Few hunters will ever get the chance to get a glance of this rare creature out in the wild.
More and more hunters are emerging on social media, slammed for their short-lived success at when taking rare trophy piebald deer. In various parts of North America, these rare white animals are seen as “sacred,” and not to be harmed.
Certain indigenous communities see piebald deer as “returning ancestors,” serving as a “reminder that something of significance is about to happen.”
There are various myths and legends, stating that by capturing and killing a piebald deer, you will “experience bad future hunts,” or, “guarantee your own death in a year’s time.”
Laws Regarding Piebald Deer | Check Your State Hunting Regulations
If you aren’t superstitious, do your homework by researching the rules and regulations of your state.
For example, it is illegal to shoot any white deer in Wisconsin, as herds of white deer are rising in numbers, making locals rather protective of the rare animals.
While certain jurisdictions have laws in place to protect piebald deer, among other white animals, many locations allow (licensed) hunters to lawfully harvest these rare creatures without consequence.
According to Brian Murphy, wildlife biologist and the Executive Director of the Quality Deer Management Association, there is no biological reason to protect piebald deer or albinos.
Spotting a piebald deer in the wild is a rare opportunity that many hunters don’t get to experience. Piebaldism affects just 2% of the whitetail population. (photo credit: Kevin Oldenburg)
Protecting them should not be regulated by the state, but rather, should be the decision of the landowners and hunters.
While piebaldism is indeed rare, population problems are apparently not a concern. Emerging research shows that the act of hunting a piebald deer will have no significant impact on the deer population, let alone damage it.