Thanks to Midwest Whitetails @thwackem for posting this beautiful picture: Donny Kay with his rare melanistic buck. Killed near Boone, IA.
This is just the second black-phase buck shot by a hunter that I have posted in all my years of blogging (here’s the other one).
I did some research and found that a deer w/melanism– their bodies produce too much of the hair, skin and retina pigment known as melanin – are definitely the rarest of the rare whitetails. A black deer is certainly more uncommon than a brown-and-white piebald, and even rarer than the odd albino.
Biologists say that a melanic buck is usually not solid black. There are gray and brown/black color phases with white bellies and tails. I can’t imagine one prettier than Donnie’s.
Interestingly, a distinct pocket of melanic deer lives in several counties in central Texas, but otherwise a black deer is a freak of nature, with one popping up here and there every once in a while, most recently in Iowa.
Anybody ever seen a black deer? I never have in all my travels and days of hunting, but I’d sure like to.