No charges will be filed in the shooting of a white deer this week in northeast Iowa.
Investigation by Department of Natural Resources biologists and a Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) veterinarian showed that the animal, shot Jan. 9 by a muzzleloader hunter in Jakway Park Wildlife Area in Buchanan County, is a fallow deer, not a wild Iowa white-tailed deer.
Fallow deer are a non-native species and are not protected by state law. Wild white-tailed deer that are predominantly white in color are protected. That law was passed by the Iowa Legislature in the 1980s, following the legal shooting of a white deer in the St. Ansgar area. Albino or mostly white wild white-tailed deer are rare in Iowa although several are sighted each year.
The Jakway Park deer also showed scarred tissue in an ear, indicating it had been tagged at some point. That suggests it may have come from a game farm. There are dozens of licensed facilities across Iowa, including 17 in Buchanan County. Animals in such game farm settings are classed as domestic livestock under Iowa law.
Assisting DNR wildlife biologists with the verification was assistant state veterinarian Dr. Randy Wheeler, with IDALS.