SPRING HILL, Tenn. (WKRN) — A “ghost of the forest”—an albino deer—was spotted wandering a property in Tennessee twice during the last week of October. “It honestly was such a surreal, kind of—almost like, mystical experience,” Abbey Cabler explained.
Cabler’s husband first spotted the deer in the early morning hours of October 24. “I hear my husband go, ‘Oh my gosh, babe! Get out here now!’ Kind of freaking out, kind of panicky. And I run out there, and he goes, ‘There is a white deer! I swear.’ And we look out the window, and sure enough, there he is,” she explained. “Right on the other side of our porch, closer to the tree line, just eating away on the bushes.”
Captivated by the snow-white deer, they snapped a couple of photos and a short video before the animal ran off. His statuesque stature and muscles are a spectacle to watch. Cabler described it as being like a scene out of a Christmas movie.
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) said that experts estimate that only one in 20,000 to 30,000 deer become albinos. “In the video, you can kind of see his red eyes for a second. You can see his pink ears,” Gabler said. “So crazy. He’s true albino.”
Years ago, an albino buck known as Ole Caney stole the hearts of residents in Chapel Hill. In 2002, the TWRA gave the town a body mount of Ole Caney on permanent loan after he was kill by a collision with a car.
“I did some research,” said Cabler. “Our area has a really prevalent genetic lineage of albino deer, so there’s a hot spot in our area for the mutation. And then there’s also a hot spot closer to Kentucky.”
The white deer was back on their property Wednesday morning. “A lot of people are saying—and I agree with them—’Oh my gosh, this is good luck!’ Or, ‘What a sign of anything good in life to have something like that happen to you!’ So, I feel like I should buy a lottery ticket,” Cabler laughed.
A professional photographer, Cabler wishes she could have snapped some more photos. She’s grown fond of the deer, affectionately naming him Casper. “It’s close to Halloween, and he was there, and then he was gone,” she said. “Casper, the friendly albino deer.”
On a neighborhood Facebook group, Cabler discovered that a neighbor had seen the same deer last winter. That neighbor said that Casper had a bone sticking out of his leg at the time, calling it a miracle that the albino was still around. “He had a hind leg injury. It looks like a fracture, and they thought he was a goner with the injury,” said Cabler, who has since connected with the neighbor. “You can see the healed-over injury on his back leg, which is so crazy. So he survived, he’s thriving, and seemed really happy, too. He was wagging his tail, doing his thing.”
Tennessee is one of a few states where it is illegal to trap, hunt, or possess an albino deer. Killing one is a class B misdemeanor punishable by a $500 fine. “It’s really important that we protect him,” Cabler said. “He’s so identifiable that we can kind of keep an eye on him and make sure he’s happy and healthy and is growing up and gets to live a long white albino deer life, and that nobody comes and tries to harm him, and he’s all good.”