An 11-year-old boy from the Oceloa Township is getting a great deal of attention after taking down an ultra-rare 12-point albino deer. Some people have commended him for doing this, while others have criticized him for killing a rare animal.
Gavin Dingman is only in sixth-grade, but after years of hunting with his father, he has gained the confidence to fire at any animal armed only with his crossbow.
Gavin went hunting with his father Mick early in the morning when the hunting pair spotted the albino deer. ‘The shot’ was left up to Gavin, who took aim as Mick offered some last second advice.
"My dad was just like, 'Take a deep breath. Are you sure you can take the shot? If you're not 100 percent, we don't want to injure it,'" Gavin recalled.
Mick spoke to reporters about his son’s tag. "He kind of feels like a rock star right now. Everyone is calling, all of the hunting shows and hunting magazines," Mick Dingman said. "The whole neighborhood is familiar with it. Quite a few of the guys in the neighborhood were trying to get it."
According to a report by Wisconsin naturalist John Bates, who coauthored the book “White Deer: Ghosts of the Forest,” the rare occurrence of an albino deer is one in around 20,000 births. Other biologists around the country cite that the albino deer is ever more rare than that, coming once every 100,000 births.
The Dingman’s plan to have a taxidermist preserve the entire body of the buck as a memorable trophy of Gavin’s shot. "It's too rare and too pretty not to spend the extra money and have the whole thing done," Mick said.
When questioned about the ethics of letting an 11-year-old fire at such a deer, Mick replied in defense of his actions. "I've had people tell me, 'You should have taken the shot. You don't let an 11-year-old take a shot at a deer like that,' " he said. "To me, in my opinion, it doesn't matter if it's a spike or a doe or a trophy deer. If you have confidence in them, it shouldn't matter what they are shooting at."