Breaking News Bucks 2021
Down in Calhoun County, Georgia, the cooler weather of fall felt far off, but Tara Jackson was busy doing her pre-season prep to ensure she would have successful deer hunting this fall.
One June day while out in the field, Tara and her boyfriend, Bryan, spotted a completely white deer. It was hard to miss, and the two sat astonished by the white coat they saw bouncing away into the woods. After the deer took off, the couple got back to work and thought nothing more of it. However, when Tara circled back a few weeks later to check the trail cameras, she and Bryan were amazed to find that the white deer they had spotted in June was actually a mature buck.
The abnormality of this buck’s all-white coat is caused by a dominant gene and is named leucism. That means, the deer lacks pigment over all, or part of the body. The partially white and partially brown leucistic deer are often known as piebald deer. A deer being leucistic is different than being albino. One can easily spot the difference by looking at the deer’s normally-colored black eyes and nose. An albino’s eyes and nose would be pink.
Tara works full-time as a pharmacist and operates her own drug store, Moseley Drugs. Hunting is a hobby she picked up six years ago when her father bought her a .243 Browning rifle. But this year Tara knew she needed to get a jump start on the season and chase after this particular buck. She made sure her crossbow was sighted-in prior to season-opening, so she could archery hunt confidently.
As the sun slowly rose on Sept. 12, 2021, the all-white buck Tara was targeting came into the feeder.
“I was looking at him through the scope, but it was still so dark I couldn’t tell my yardage,” says Tara.
Tara thought to herself: Oh my gosh, he’s perfectly broadside! I think I should try. Certainly, I can hit him. However, her shot missed the buck.
Luckily, the buck circled back after the shot and began to relax again. At this point, the buck was directly below Tara’s stand, and she thought, I’ve missed my only opportunity.
Slowly and as quietly as possible, as the buck was still within range, Tara again cocked her crossbow and prayed for another shot. As the buck headed back to the feeder, Tara remained patient and waited for a better shot with more sunlight.
“When I shot the second time, he bucked, so I was pretty sure I hit him,” says Tara.
After roughly 45 minutes of waiting for the other deer in the area to move out, Tara texted Bryan to tell him what happened.
The couple found the crossbow bolt and blood trail quickly, but Bryan suggested they wait a while to avoid bumping the buck if he was still alive. After a lunch break, Tara and some friends followed the blood trail to a dead-end where she, the tracking party and the Labrador retriever became overheated from the mid-day Georgia sun. In an effort to cautiously pursue the buck, the group settled down again, cooled off and gave the buck some more time.
At this point, Tara messaged Allen Barret, an old high-school friend who she knew had tracking dogs. Allen’s initial response was filled with concern about the heat, but when Tara mentioned the buck was white, Allen knew he and his dog Lilly had to help.
Lilly, Allen’s tracking dog, covered the same spots that the Labrador did earlier in the day. However, she eventually moved slowly into a soybean field and stopped. As the group moved through the soybeans toward Lilly, they found more blood. Sure enough, Lilly was standing over the now dead all-white buck.
The group laughed at Lilly’s confused look when she saw the all-white deer, and they celebrated in the success of their tracking party’s efforts.