Skip to main content

A nature enthusiast caught a rare glimpse of what appears to be an albino deer near Lake Mille Lacs. 

Lora Elfmann snapped the photo of the ghostly deer among a pack of white-tails in a field between the towns Isle and Wahkon, which are located on the southeast side of Mille Lacs in east-central Minnesota. 

"I drive around or hike almost daily looking for pic opportunities," Elfmann wrote in a message to Bring Me The News. "I've only seen the albino twice. Same one in the same field. But I know there's at least one other one."

Barbara Keller, the big game program leader of the fish and wildlife division with the DNR, says biologists estimate albino deer occur only once in every 20,000 or 30,000 deer. 

As magnificent the sight of an albino deer is, the genetic disorder that causes a lack of pigment makes them an easy target for predators. Albino deer are also known to suffer from other genetic defects. 

"They generally experience greater mortality than typical deer due to their diminished ability to evade predators when the snow melts, and can also be associated with other genetic defects including vision and spinal problems," said Keller. 

The white deer running alongside a white-tail near Mille Lacs Lake earlier this month. 

The white deer running alongside a white-tail near Mille Lacs Lake earlier this month. 

White deer that are not 100% white are known as a leucistic (also called piebald) deer. Leucism causes varying levels of white on a deer's body, which is why some are half brown, half white or sometimes only have white splotches on their bodies.

Elfmann's photos show a couple of tan splotches on the deer's hind legs, but Keller and a second could be urine stains rather than an indicator of leucism. 

"That spot on it’s back leg is where the tarsal gland is located, and that is an area deer typically urinate and stain. So I think that area might just be stained, not an actual area of dark fur," said Keller, whose opinion was confirmed by the DNR's ungulate research scientist. 

There are no laws protecting albino deer from hunters in Minnesota.

Next Up

minnesota river

Fishermen find body floating in Minnesota River in Shakopee

The body was found upstream from Minnesota River Heritage Park.

Screen Shot 2022-06-25 at 11.01.17 AM

Woman breaks free after being kidnapped and taken to Brooklyn Park

The woman was taken by force as she arrived at her work in Plymouth.

image

How the fastest animal on the planet returned to MN after local extinction

The fastest animal on Earth had once vanished from Minnesota and Wisconsin.

image

St. Paul's new 'skate trail' brings non-traditional park to life

Gateway Park is the first of four parks to open in the Highland Bridge redevelopment.

FWDqyh6UEAENgIG

80 mph winds, large hail possible with severe storms in MN

A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect for much of the state until 3 a.m. Saturday.

290376311_5009722282489162_198055240351933487_n

30 people evacuated as flooding hammers small town

It's assumed that at least eight inches of rain fell in Randall, with more heavy rain expected Friday night into Saturday morning.

Intersection in Rochester.

Boy dies in motorcycle crash in Rochester

Police are investigating as of Friday afternoon.

Tab2FileL (13)

Numerous severe storms likely in Minnesota Friday night

Watch the video for the full details with meteorologist Sven Sundgaard.

court room

Teen pleads guilty in shooting death of 15-year-old girl in Columbia Heights

Damico Jamal-Tokyo High will receive a sentence in juvenile court, along with an adult prison sentence.

Related

Screen Shot 2021-10-13 at 3.17.46 PM

Minnesota family learns their baby has extremely rare, fatal disease

The baby's mother is hoping to provide her son with the best life possible.

20190724_0301

Viral photos: Deer covered in large tumors in Minnesota

A photographer spotted the deer in southwest Minnesota.

White tail deer

Minnesota DNR reveals changes ahead of 2020 deer hunting season

Changes have been made to reflect COVID-19 and the ongoing threat of CWD in deer.

school, classroom

Minnesota Teacher of the Year Award down to 11 finalists

The finalists will be interviewed by a selection panel, with the winner being announced May 1.