Rare piebald deer spotted in Big Canoe
Big Canoe is known for its abundant and sometimes rare wildlife. In 2018 Smoke Signals covered the eagle family, a white peacock hanging out at the bocce courts and now piebald deer.
A piebald is a recessive genetic anomaly that causes blotchy white patches on the fur but can also cause serious skeletal deformities. Deer born with severe deformities typically don’t survive. For a piebald fawn to be born, both parents must have the recessive gene. While inbreeding could cause an increase in the incidence of piebald, Georgia deer have very high genetic diversity. As such, there are no population or local herd level effects of the disease. According to the Georgia Department of Wildlife, the current estimate of deer in Georgia is 1.27 million with most of these in the Piedmont Region of the state.
While visiting her grandparents Jim and Jane Galvin, Sarah Galvin said she spotted a piebald deer near the North Gate of Big Canoe on Thanksgiving Day. A piebald has been seen several times in the Blackwell Creek Neighborhood. Another piebald with only the white inside ears that look like a brown stencil pattern has been spotted on Petit Ridge Drive.
In a Jan 10 Big Canoe Neighbor to Neighbor Facebook post, Kevin White wrote, “Oh yeah I forgot to tell you I saw the piebald Deer family yesterday on the driving range we have been wondering why we haven't seen them in Blackwell Creek now we know.”
Charles Kahl sent the photo (above) to Smoke Signals on Nov. 29. “I’ve seen this piebald deer twice in Big Canoe, just outside the main gate on Steve Tate. Very rare to say the least. One sighing was at night and the deer was close to the road. Hopefully everyone will be cautious driving in this area.”
In culling the deer population in Big Canoe, piebald deer are never taken.