These ghostly white deer don’t look like the deer we typically see demolishing our gardens (thought they’d probably relish the opportunity). The unique color of their fur is caused by a recessive gene in White-Tailed Deer.
The deer in the video above are from Romulus, NY. Specifically, from a closed-down US army depot.
Within this army depot is where you’ll have the best chance of catching a glimpse of a deer with this uncommon trait.
They are more commonly known as the Seneca White Deer, and they are the largest herd of all-white deer in the world.
The story of this herd goes like this: When the US Army erected a fence around 24 square miles of land back in 1941, they unknowingly trapped and became the protectors of a small population of white deer.
Normally, out in the wild, their white fur would have caused them to be more visible to hunters and predators. This recessive trait was allowed to prosper through artificial selection when, in the 1950s, the depot commander decided to forbid the hunting and shooting of the white deer—allowing only brown deer to be killed by GIs.
You can still catch a glimpse of these white deer grazing near the fence of the closed army depot at dusk and dawn. A great place to park and watch for these critters is a driveway right off of 96A.