Photo by Roger Phillips (Click on photo to enlarge)
I’ve been watching this albino mule deer doe for years. She hangs out in a variety of places in Northwest Boise, and there may actually be two of them. There was an albino doe and fawn spotted together several years ago, and the fawn was also a doe, so it’s hard to know if I’m seeing the same one or two different ones. But this morning was the first time I spotted her from our house. No matter how I often I see her, I am often fooled and ask the same question “What’s that white spot over there?” Then it dawns on me – it’s the doe.
The gene for albino is in the lower Foothills herd, and it seems like there’s been at least one running around for about the last 10 years. It’s not a dominant gene, so an albino won’t necessarily produce another one, but it might, and a normal colored mule deer may also have the genes to produce an albino. It’s amazing that we’ve had these deer around Boise for so long. I’ve been watching mule deer all my life and seen thousands of them, but the only albinos I’ve ever seen have all been in Boise or the lower Foothills.