(BEDFORD) - Randall Gerkin, of Bedford, bagged his prize trophy Sunday.
Here is his story:
"My blood was racing, palms sweating, did I have a shot? This would be my fourth time at trying to bag the blue-eyed beauty.
"I was in the tree stand about 15 minutes and there he was walking through the pawpaw trees up the ridge.
"I reached for my bow, bowed the arrow, looked up, pulled back and I noticed my peep sight had slid up. I let off the bow and slid the sight back down and pulled up again.
"I thought for sure I would miss, the odds were not good.
"My heart was racing. I pulled back, squeezed the trigger and let it fly. The white 7-point buck took off. Did I hit him? I wasn't sure.
"The white buck jumped, then fled out of sight like he had just been spooked.
"Had I missed? As I stood in the tree stand and watched him disappeared, I let out a sigh, I had missed for a fourth time.
"I decided I might as well go look for my arrow. I looked for a while and couldn't find the arrow anywhere. Maybe - I did hit him - but there was no blood trail.
"Maybe I was in the wrong area? I back tracked and sure enough I was in the right area, but where was the arrow? Again I looked for blood. There is was, not a lot, but enough to follow.
"I walked about 100 yards and there he lay. He was a snow white vision on a brown canvas with a bright red spot where the arrow had entered.
"I couldn't believe it - after four failed attempts - I had finally bagged my trophy.
"My adventure with this white oddity, or piebald, which is how he is classified by the Department of Natural Resources began last year in the woods off U.S. 50 West near Bryantsville.
"The first time I spotted him was during gun season. I was sitting on the ground in an open area, almost falling asleep when I spotted something. At first I thought it was a goat lying on the ground. But what would a goat be doing out here in the woods?
"I picked up my camera and tried zooming in on the creature. I couldn't believe what I was seeing it was a big white buck. I almost panic.
"A white buck? Really...I hopped up, reached for my rifle and attempted a shot. The buck jumped straight into the air and took off. I thought I had hit him. But when I went to look for him all I found was a white tuff of hair. I had missed.
That was the last time I saw him that season.
"I told all my hunting buddies about the rear oddity, but I don't think they believed me and I took a lot of razing about the "goat" I had missed.
"I did take a 10-pointer that year, but it wasn't the trophy I was looking for.
"The second time I encountered the white buck was this fall, it was the beginning of bow season, just before dusk.
I had my tree stand near the pond, when a six-point buck came out of the woods to drink. I really wasn't interested in him I was looking for my white buck or a bigger buck. It was just too early in the season for this little one.
"I videoed this buck for awhile as he stomped around the shallow end of the pond. Then he perked up. Something in the woods had drawn his attention and he walked off.
"About 10 minutes later, the crows began making an awful racket in the oak tree next to me. I turned back to the pond and there he was - the white buck.
"I decided to take a shot. The problem - a large branch was sticking out in my way. I couldn't get a clear shot. I stretched out as far as I could, pulled back the bow and took the shot. The buck jumped and ran off.
"I had missed. I was disappointed because I hadn't waited for a better shot.
"I jumped down to search for my arrow, only to find it stuck in the mud next to the pond. I had blown it again.
I knew there were four other men hunting on the property and I was sure one of them would take him.
"But a month later I saw him again.
"I was out scouting for new scrapes when I topped a large hill and noticed six large piles of sand stone rocks that seemed out of place for being in the middle of the forest. I was looking around when I noticed a little doe.
"I watched her as she stomping her foot, trying to get me to move while raising and lowering her head. Then I heard a noise about thirty yards away. I turned to find the white buck courting a large doe.
"I took my bow and creep closer. I got about ten feet away and a smaller doe spotted me and signaled the others that I was near and they all took off. That was my third attempt at the white buck and I had missed a shot again.
"Would I get a fourth opportunity? I doubted it. But I wasn't ready to give up."
Gerkin bagged his trophy Sunday. The meat will fill the freezer; the hide will be mounted on the wall along with the head and hooves are being made into a gun rack. Nothing will be wasted.
White deer are extremely rare, according to Chad Stewart a deer biologist for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, as rare as 1 in 100,000. Other reports put them at 1 in 20,000. Albino or piebald are not protected.
Stewart says they are white because of a recessive genetic mutation and the DNR do not want them proliferating. Stewart can count on his hand the number of people who have killed an albino deer this season.
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