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Piebald Deer?

Piebald Deer?
McCabe Kreider with his prize piebald.

Some people are probably wondering what on earth I’m talking about-a piebald deer. Pictured in this week’s story is McCabe Kreider, son of retired Pittsburgh Steeler running back, Dan Kreider. During last week’s special antlerless only firearms season McCabe was fortunate enough to bag a piebald deer-a very rare occurrence. My son, Brian, accompanied McCabe

Some people are probably wondering what on earth I’m talking about-a piebald deer. Pictured in this week’s story is McCabe Kreider, son of retired Pittsburgh Steeler running back, Dan Kreider. During last week’s special antlerless only firearms season McCabe was fortunate enough to bag a piebald deer-a very rare occurrence. My son, Brian, accompanied McCabe while Dan accompanied another son on their Saturday hunt. Early in the hunt Brian advised the guys that he had been seeing a couple of piebald’s in the area they were hunting and around 4:30 that afternoon one of the rare deer made its way within gun range. McCabe’s 30-06 dropped the deer at about 75 yards. Two years prior McCabe killed his first deer ever-a buck and now a rare piebald.

So just exactly what is a piebald deer? A piebald deer is a whitetail with patches of white in various places and in some cases the deer can be all white. Piebaldism is a genetic abnormality that leads to a lack of pigmentation in patches around the body and it’s not relegated to deer only; it can occur in other animals and even in humans. A piebald condition is not the same as albinism; an albino will have pink eyes, pink nose and pink-hued hooves due to lack of pigmentation while a piebald will normally have color in these areas. According to geneticists some other abnormalities may also show up in piebalds such as shorter legs, a Roman nose, arching spine, overbite and even some internal organ deformities. I have probably seen at least a half-dozen piebalds over the years and I have never witnessed any of the other aforementioned abnormalities.

Piebaldism has its origin in recessive genes; in other words both parents must be carriers of the recessive gene in order for there to be a chance that a piebald would result. Because this is not a high likelihood the chances of piebalds showing up in the population are very slight; in fact it’s so rare that less than two percent of the total deer population would show up as piebalds. Seeing one is a rare occurrence and getting one in hunting season is even more rare.

The first time I became aware of piebalds was in my high school years. My high school wrestling coach bagged a nice piebald buck and had it mounted-that’s the first one I had ever seen. As I already mentioned I have been fortunate to see piebalds in the wild. Back in the 70s while archery hunting with my recurve bow I shot under a piebald doe; since then I have never seen another one while in a hunting situation. Several years ago some friends told me of several piebalds in their area and I was able to see them on several different occasions and I even got some photographs. About a month ago my wife spotted a piebald on her way into Muncy and a short time later while driving in the same area I saw what I suspect was the same piebald. From what I’m hearing that piebald is a decent buck.

Most of us would be happy just to see such a rare sight; can you imagine how exciting it would be to bag a unique trophy like that-way to go McCabe.

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