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LELAND, Wis. — An out-of-town hunter broke an unspoken agreement by killing a rare white deer in Sauk County this week, angering residents who say the animals are so beautiful and rare that they need to be protected.

There was nothing illegal about Saturday's shooting in Leland, about 15 miles northwest of Sauk City. White and albino deer aren't protected in chronic-wasting-disease zones, and this deer wasn't even a true albino because it had a dark spot on its hindquarters.

But the area only has about eight white and albino deer, and even though the town is full of avid hunters the residents have formed a truce to keep them safe. So when a hunter bagged a white buck Saturday, townspeople reacted with anger and dismay.

"I was (ticked)," resident Amy Sprecher said. "I just can't understand how people can be so selfish — not thinking about the beauty for everybody to share, how rare they are."

Word about the kill spread quickly. The hunters abandoned their camp, but residents told WISC-TV the hunters planned to return this weekend for more hunting.

"I hope they feel like they're a big strong hunter because they took out the white deer and stole it from everybody," Sprecher said.

Residents called on the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to do more to protect the rare deer, even those that aren't full albinos and those in a chronic-wasting-disease zone.

Leland resident Brandon Yanke said the deer are treasures that are so renowned that hundreds of people visit the town just to see them. He acknowledged that the killing wasn't illegal but he said the hunter defied an agreement that all other hunters abided by.

"This is a moral issue, completely, and it is really disappointing," Yanke said. "And that's kind of how we've all felt. It's so unique to have something like that around."


Digital news editor

Digital news editor

(7) comments

union conservative

A lot of unaswered questions here I bet. But the big one is was the "out of town" hunter aware of the the the community treasured such an animal? As a hunter it would be cool to see and watch such an animal. I don't know about shooting one because they are so rare. Certainly if he was a giant I would not hesitate to pull he trigger. The bottom line is these deer are not protected and is sounds like no laws were violated. Perhaps next year something could be published around the community letting everyone know what a treasure these white deer are. Lessons have to be learned the hard way sometimes. Poor community. Poor deer. Lucky hunter.


Question is, are albinos being ‘sought out’? We’ll know if this one gets stuffed, like others say. I’m thinking some rich man’s insurance scam for his exotic taxidermy collection, some 1500 miles from here. The moral argument here: everything commodity.


Between the idiots shooting each other and this hunter feeling compelled to shoot one of the rarest of deers (and a local "legend") to the community around it I'm so glad I'm I don't hunt.

Lack of brains and a loaded weapon I tell ya!


Its a DEER, legally shot by a hunter and we have all this outrage and it makes one of the Tribs leading news stories. We legally killed almost 800,000 of our babies this past year and not a peep. We have progressed so far as a society.


It's a shame that the hunter felt compelled to kill such a fine deer. At the end of the day it's just a fourty pound bag of meat so where was the sense or thrill of killing such a fine specimin of nature.


Yanke is incorrect - it is not a moral issue. It is no less moral to shoot a white deer than it is a brown one. If you abide by hunting, and the law is being followed, then there is no moral quandry.


You can bet he'll stuff that one. Does the town have signs put up saying DON'T SHOOT THE WHITE DEER? I think I would have been proud just to see one.

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