Nature can provide amazing variations in colors to many wild animals. White-tailed deers, the smallest members of the North American deer family, are definitely one of them. While their natural color is brown or tan with a white underbelly, some deers (like melanistic deers or albino deer) are rare.
“Viewing a wild melanistic whitetail is a true rarity, even for deer biologists who work where they are most prevalent,” Deer Association reported.
You can identify melanistic deers thanks to their dark chocolate color. They have an excess of dark pigment, which originates from a gene mutation. Their body is generally entirely black. Though they have been reported to be seen from 29 states, they are rare with the highest concentration in Texas (8.5% of the population according to Texas Tech University).
In Mississippi, a 98-year-old man harvested a melanistic male deer during Christmas weekend. According to Joshua Steward, the man’s grandson who shared his victory on Facebook, it took him 98 years to encounter such a rare buck and to be able to hunt him. It is one of the 60,000 rare bucks with melanism.
Joshua congratulated the elderly man for his achievement, and for his long-shot at 125 yards killing the animal right away through the heart. As he said, “The old man has still got it.”