Hunter shoots unusual white deer

Posted: Thursday, August 15, 2002

JUNEAU (AP) -- A hunter from Hoonah shot and killed a rare Sitka black-tailed deer.

The deer that 16-year-old Aaron Bitz, shot and killed Monday was white. He killed the deer in a brushy muskeg off a road in the Game Creek Valley about 15 miles out of Hoonah.

The 140-pound, 3- or 4-year-old male was almost entirely white, he said. But it had black eyes, the usual black patch on the back of the tail, and dark antlers and hooves, said Aaron's father, Brian Bitz.

Sitka deer usually have summer coats of reddish brown, replaced by dark brownish gray in the winter.

''It's pure white. We've never seven seen anything even close to looking like it,'' said Bitz, who has been hunting since he was 8.

State deer research biologist Matt Kirchhoff said the white coat is a form of albinism. It's most often seen among deer on northern Admiralty Island, he said. Hoonah is on nearby Chichagof Island.

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