Mike, I have seen some beautiful brown and white bucks on your blog over the years and was wondering: what causes the white in their coats? How rare are they? Gary, Virginia
Experts say a genetic defect causes the “piebald” condition in white-tailed deer, when a deer’s hide—doe or buck—will be colored white and brown, similar to a pinto pony. Sometimes a piebald’s hide will appear almost entirely white, or in other cases, mostly brown.
Regardless of coat color, a piebald has brown eyes and a black nose and hooves, just like any normal whitetail.
In addition to a pinto coat, a mature piebald might have short legs and a Roman (bowed) nose, the latter evident in the amazing cam picture above. BTW, that is a huge rack for a piebald; most white/brown bucks don’t live long enough to grow antlers like that.
Piebald deer are rare. Scientists say that less than one percent of white-tailed deer in a herd carry the genetic defect, and fewer yet exhibit the piebald traits.