Saturday, March 30th 2019, 3:47 pm - Likely not an albino, but all-white mule deer are still uncommon, says Ministry of Environment
A Saskatchewan woman got the snapshot of a lifetime earlier this week, when she spotted a rare all-white mule deer near Eatonia, just over 200 kilometres southwest of Saskatoon.
Jenny Hagan, a photographer based in nearby Kindersley, says she knew that the animal was roaming around the area.
"I spent a couple days just kind of hanging out where the herd frequently travels through, but didn't have luck spotting her," Hagan said.
"I actually went to go pick up some fruit … and when I came out she was standing next to my van."
After days of watching for it, she says she was excited to finally spot the animal.
"My 13-year-old daughter was with me helping me pick up the fruit and I just about threw the apples into the air," Hagan said.
She went home, grabbed her camera and said she spent a few hours observing the animal from a safe distance, and was able to capture some photos once the sun started to set.
"I got a couple of shots while she was still standing, and then she bedded down in the field," Hagan said. "At sunset, she got back up and walked pretty much directly up to where my van was."
She realizes how lucky she was to spot it.
"It's such a rare thing to be able to see, so to be able to witness that and capture that on camera was just amazing."
LIKELY NOT AN ALBINO, MINISTRY SAYS
Tim Trottier, a wildlife ecologist with the Sasaktchewan Ministry of Environment, says he believes the animal Hagan spotted isn't an albino deer, but rather an all-white mule deer. Such deer are still uncommon, he says.
"Albinos are extremely rare," Trottier said. "They would be animals that are, of course, all white, but they would have a pink nose, pink shading on the hooves, and likely pink eyes."
Trottier says that deer held in captivity have a higher chance of being all-white or albino. Such animals would have a disadvantage in the wild, and there are no special protective policies on the all-white animals.
"They're the same species exactly as a mule deer of a normal colour," he said. "There would be no reason to provide them with extra protection."
Even so, it was a special sighting for Hagan.
"I've had a few people comment that they've been avid hunters for years and have never seen anything like that before," she said.
This article was originally published by CBC News and written by Jennifer Francis.