CAPE GIRARDEAU COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - A Cape Girardeau man shot and killed an albino deer on Tuesday morning.
Jerry Kinnaman says he shot the 10-pointer with a bow and arrow on his property in Cape Girardeau County. He said he's had his eye on this buck for a long time and on Tuesday morning, he brought him home.
Kinnaman says he shot the deer at 25 yards away. It ran 30 yards, then dropped.
He says it has a 140 to 150 inch rack.
The deer has been spotted frequently in Cape Girardeau for several years.
However, many people spoke out on social media, saying they've been watching the animal around Cape Girardeau too, and now they're upset he's gone.
Kinnaman has been a hunter for years, but this year he knew the one he wanted.
"I was ready," he said. "I didn't even get excited really. I was just focused on what I had to do."
But not everyone agrees that Kinnaman should have taken the shot. People on both sides of the issue weighed in on our Facebook page.
One viewer said, "He should have left it alone."
Another said, "This is such sad news. The deer was a bit of magic in the Cape woods."
It's a backlash Kinnaman knew would come, but he stands by his views.
"This is by far, probably, the most ethical way for him to pass," Kinnaman said. Kinnaman said the deer he harvested appears to have been wounded before.
"He's probably been shot a couple times by someone with a spotlight, probably been hit by a car a time or two," he said.
While Kinnaman said he doesn't want a lot of attention. "I don't want to make it a big deal, because to me, it's just another animal and I was fortunate to take him," he said.
He said he's sure glad he hit the woods on Tuesday morning.
"You gotta be there, you can't kill them on the couch," he said.
Here are some more questions many KFVS viewers were asking about the issue on our
Are albino deer legal to kill in Missouri?
- According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, yes, it's legal. Tennessee and Illinois, no, hunting albino deer is not legal. A conservation agent says there are no signs that this particular deer was harvested illegally.
- Complete wording from the Missouri DOC:
Q: Are albino or partial albino game animals protected from harvest?
b. No, in Missouri they fall under the same regulations as the normally colored animals. One reference estimated the frequency of true albino deer as about one in 30,000, though partially albino (also called piebald) deer occur somewhat more frequently. It is not unusual for albinism to be associated with poor eyesight and other disabilities that can affect the survival of those animals in the wild. To artificially protect the occasional albino individuals would allow those negative characteristics to become more frequent in the population. I do think that many Missouri deer hunters would be reluctant to shoot an albino animal. A few states prohibit the harvest of albino deer, for cultural rather than biological reasons, but most wildlife management agencies have not taken that position.
It is illegal to shoot and kill a completely albino deer in Illinois. The punishment for shooting a completely albino deer is to appear in court for a Class B misdemeanor and a $150 bond, according to Illinois Department of Conservation Officer Bill Pickett. If there is any brown on the a white deer, it is not considered completely albino and is not protected in Illinois.
Is Albinism a "genetic mutation?"
- Albinism is often associated with poor eyesight and other disabilities that can affect their survival in the wild. Kinnaman says on this particular animal, the teeth were nearly gone, it had little fat, and two broken ribs.
Was it a tame deer?
- The conservation agent says he would not call it tame because it was lose, on its own. He says, however, the deer was likely more used to people that other deer in a more rural area. Kinnaman also responds to the accusation saying the deer was not tame and had a keen sense of awareness.
Did the hunter kill the deer to sell it?
- Kinnaman says Bass Pro showed interest in the mount but he has not chosen to sell it to them.
- He says he's interested in giving it to the Cape Girardeau Nature Center for the community to enjoy.