Can You Legally Hunt Albino Deer In Washington State?

Growing up on the Grande Ronde River in Washington State, a day didn't go by that I didn't see a herd of deer on the mountainside but I've never seen an albino deer in real life.

How Rare Are Albino Deer And Elk In Washington State?

Albino deer and elk do exist but they are very rare indeed. The chances are a one in 20,000 chance that an albino deer will be born so seeing one wildlife might even be rarer because they have a low chance of survival.

The reason a deer might be all-white is the lack of Melanin.

According to,  Albinism is caused by a cell’s inability to produce something called melanin. Melanin is what gives skin, fur, and other attributes color

Sadly, albino deer get shunned by the rest of the herd and their survival rate in the wild can make it harder due to their often inherited poor eyesight along with albinism.


So finding an albino deer is a rarity with all the factors working against it. Some states have albino deer and elk protected but is Washington State one of those states?

I reached out to the Washington State Wildlife Department and asked the question "Is it legal to hunt albino deer or elk?"


Erin Wampole, a District Biologists at WDFW responded to my question with the following quote:

“Albino deer and elk are extremely rare and are a result of recessive genes. They do not have special protection from harvest. Their light coloration may be beneficial during heavy snow seasons when hunters’ search image is for brown bodies on a white background.”

So other states might protect an albino deer or elk but in Washington State, it's not illegal to harvest an albino deer or elk so it's perfectly legal according to the law.

If you do manage to see one in the wild, it might be an amazing sight considering how rare albino deer and elk are in Washington State.

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