Chasing Down the Elusive Piebald Deer in Avon Lake

Three piebalds have been spotted in Avon Lake and they've become a hot item for those carrying cameras.

Some think they’re unicorns. Others have mistaken them for wayward alpacas or albino deer. Spotting the three white creatures often seen throughout Avon Lake—in the woods, on the side of the road, strolling through backyards—has become almost sport, as has shooting them.

Not with a weapon, mind you. Instead of hunting one down to mount on a living room wall, residents and visitors in Avon Lake have taken to shooting any one of the three confirmed “white deer,” known as piebalds, with a camera or cell phone.

Piebald deer are considered rare, but Avon Lake has three of them and it’s not unusual to see cars pulled over at the side of one of the city’s streets and curiosity seekers snapping photos with cameras and cell phones. Pictures and video are showing up on youtube and Facebook, as those lucky enough to get evidence of a sighting share the proof they’ve seen the deer.

The rumor quickly spreading through town is that seeing a piebald deer with your own eyes guarantees 16 months of good fortune. With three piebalds confirmed in Avon Lake, that should guarantee a lot of good luck flowing through the town.

said he came upon five or six cars pulled over at the side of the road recently, with drivers and passengers snapping photos of a piebald deer.

“I have seen it with my own eyes, and I’m now a believer,” Kos joked at a council meeting.

According to Buckmanager.com, a genetic variation (defect) produces the piebald condition in white-tailed deer, not parasites or diseases. Piebalds have large white areas and in some cases, appear almost as albinos.

“Many have some of the following observable conditions: bowing of the nose (Roman nose), short legs, arching spine (scoliosis), and short lower jaws,” Buckmanager.com said. This genetic condition is rare with typically less than one percent of white-tailed deer being affected.”

Councilwoman Jennifer Fenderbosch has said that piebalds could be a sign of too many deer in Avon Lake, saying the deers’ internal organs are not normal, nor are their noses. Having three of the deer in one city is unusual.

We’ve collected a few photos submitted by Patch readers and added some youtube video of the lucky few that have gotten close enough to film the deer.

Tiffany Bowman said her fiance Richard Felts snapped a photo at dusk on May 23 near .

"(The piebald) was following a brown female deer all around the field," Bowman said. "We see him all the time over there and have been afraid he will disappear because of all the construction going on."

Have you seen the deer? Tell us in comments. If you have a photo, add it into the gallery.

Amy Lipinski June 07, 2011 at 01:54 AM
I always saw one of them on Avondale Ave a few nights in a row about a month back and was able to get pretty close to her to get some good pictures. I posted two of them on here ;-) So cute!
Lori E. Switaj June 07, 2011 at 02:56 AM
Awesome photos! Thanks for adding!
Holly r June 07, 2011 at 11:44 PM
I see one all the time in Village on The green. I have many photos of it thought it was a dog kids thought was a sheep at first.
Lori E. Switaj June 08, 2011 at 01:02 AM
Please add the photos to the online gallery. I just got one from the Municipal Utilities which I am adding now.
Lori E. Switaj July 04, 2011 at 08:02 PM
Awesome photo of a piebald (with antlers!) submitted this weekend by Timm and Becky Kalep.


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