Rare whitetail emerges in unlikely neighborhood

This rare "piebald" whitetail appeared in Jimmie Kirkland's yard on Owens Road in Evans. The condition is associated with inbreeding among confined populations.

Jimmie Kirkland moved to his Owens Road home in Evans in 1971 – and never saw a deer there until last week.


It was two deer, actually.

“We just happened to look outside and there they were,” he said.

The big doe grazing along the edge of his fenced yard was accompanied by a smaller deer with round nubs on its head and a mottled white and brown coat.

They posed for a few minutes while he shot a few photos through his sliding glass porch door, and then moved on.

The little buck is what biologists refer to as a “piebald” deer that possess a rare genetic anomaly that gives them varying portions of snow-white hide.

Literature and research seem to indicate the condition is associated with inbreeding among confined populations, and can also be associated with physical deformities such as club-shaped legs, oddly curved spinal cords and malformed jaws.

The little buck behind Kirkland’s house, however, seemed to move and feed just fine, although he is unsure where the deer came from, since the area is largely hemmed in by development.


TURKEY TIME: Georgia’s statewide turkey hunting season opens Saturday, and biologists are expecting a good crop of 2-year-old gobblers from a productive 2010 breeding season.

“Georgia appears to be set for a great turkey hunting season this spring,” said turkey project coordinator Kevin Lowrey of Georgia’s Wildlife Resources Division.

“Reproduction in the coastal plain was poor due to drought conditions,” he said, “but the good news is that there are many vocal two-year old gobblers from the 2010 production year that will be available to harvest this year.”

Georgia’s turkey population is estimated at 335,000 birds and turkey hunters in this state have one of the longest turkey seasons nationwide, extending through May 15, with a bag limit of three gobblers per season.

The population recovered from a low of about 17,000 birds in the early 1970s.


PINK SLIME: There were lots of news stories in the past week about ground beef – and outrage over a U.S. Department of Agriculture practice that allows percentages an ammonia-treated filler derisively called “pink slime” to be added to burger, including products used in school lunchrooms.

It is yet one more reason to enjoy burger made from venison, especially if you process your own and know exactly what ingredients are there.