- Family Features
- Business Directory
- Gallery Of Homes
- Subscribe Now!
- Place A Classified Ad
- New! Digital e-Edition
White turkeys are fair game, unlike white deer
Mar 20, 2013 4:00 pm
With the spring turkey season at hand (March 30), it’s interesting to note the disparity in Tennessee’s hunting regulations regarding white turkeys and white deer.
White wild turkeys are legal game and hunters are permitted to harvest them, while white deer are protected and it’s against the law to harm one.
Not only is it legal to shoot any white or partially-white turkey, the TWRA encourages hunters to take any of the aberrantly-colored birds they encounter. Biologists are concerned that the white strains – apparently created by mixing with domestic turkeys – could become increasingly common in the state’s wild birds.
Any white or off-colored turkeys killed count toward the daily one-bird and seasonal four-bird bag limits, the same as normal-colored birds. In other words, a turkey’s a turkey, whatever it’s coloring.
However, when it comes to white or albino deer, they are protected from hunting.
According to TWRA regulations: “Hunting, trapping or possession of albino deer is prohibited as set forth in TCA 70-130. An albino deer is a deer with a lack, or significant deficiency, of pigment in the skin and hair, and has pink eyes.”
It is significant to note that the white deer regulation was instituted by the State Legislature and not by the Tennessee Fish & Wildlife Commission or TWRA.
There is no biological basis or game-management foundation on which to base the albino deer regulation. It was passed several years ago simply because some state legislators decided that white deer are “too pretty” to hunt.
White turkeys (most of which are not true albinos) don’t pass the same political cuteness test for legislative protection.
Such meddling in the management of the state’s wildlife by politicians with no expertise in wildlife biology was the impetus behind the passage of the Right to Hunt & Fish Amendment to the Tennessee constitution a few years ago.
It is now harder for politicians to slip through legislation that is contrary to the interests of the state’s 750,000 hunters and fishermen.
One reason why the albino deer protection law was quietly eased through without any notice or challenge was because the mainstream media supported it – just as much of that same media tried to defeat the Right to Hunt & Fish Amendment.
The question of whether albino deer should be legal game is not a significant issue for most hunters, the majority of whom wouldn’t care to shoot a white deer even if it were permitted.
What IS significant is the contradiction in Tennessee’s wild-game regulations as a result of emotion-driven legislative meddling.
Hunters in Tennessee are encouraged to shoot a white turkey, but will be cited for shooting a white deer – the only difference being that some state politicians think white deer are “prettier.”
That’s no way to operate a game-management program, and it’s a perfect example of why politicians should keep out of it.