Local News

Goat survey finds “glacier deer”

Southcentral Alaska has its white moose, now Southeast Alaska has its white deer.

Alaska Department of Fish & Game biologist Phil Mooney was tagging mountain goats on Baranof Island outside of Sitka in late August and saw the unusual animal from his helicopter.

“While we were flying in to drop me on the ridge we spotted them. I actually thought it was a goat mixed in with the deer, which we have seen sometimes. But it turned out to be this deer.”

The Sitka black-tailed deer is a buck, still in velvet. The animal is a very light, bluish gray. When a black bear has this kind of coloring, it’s called a “glacier bear.”

Neither the glacier bear nor the “glacier deer” is an albino. Mooney says it’s a recessive gene found – every once in a while – on Admiralty, Baranof, and Chichagof islands.

We have had a few of these come in over the years on the three islands, taken by hunters who caught one of these walking by.

The same genetic arrangement affects other types of mule deer, as well as whitetails. Mooney says that the coloring can be highly variable – sometimes going to black, or displaying combinations of this light gray with patches of a more typical brown showing through.

The glacier deer was one of a herd of fourteen bucks and two “very content” does, Mooney says.

Comments

Please read our comment guidelines.

Recent News

For property taxes, Assembly considers 2 mill bump

8491830940_2de02357bf_z
The Sitka Assembly is making a bid to increase property taxes in by two mills, raising the cap from six mills to eight. At their regular meeting last night (07-26-16), the group settled on that figure in response to $2.5 … more

Diesel stove likely cause of boat fire

IMG_8534
A 32-foot commercial fishing boat caught fire early Monday morning (07-25-16) in ANB Harbor. The F/V American Express, a gillnetter, was tied up on the outer side of the transient float. more