October and November were a couple of rough months for Glenn Cormier: his mother passed away suddenly, and only a few weeks later, one of his friends died unexpectedly.
So the 59-year-old nurse anesthetist at Woman’s Hospital in Baton Rouge headed to his deer camp south of St. Francisville for some much needed rest and relaxation.
In Cormier’s 60-acre ‘honey hole’ on the lease, he had been watching a piebald deer grow up for the better part of two seasons, and had frequently seen him from his stands and on trail cam pictures.
Piebald deer feature spotty patterns with large white and dark brown or black patches, and the condition affects about one percent of the white-tail population.
Retired Deer Program Leader Dave Moreland said a genetic defect causes the piebald’s unique coloration.
“It occurs more than a true albino deer, but Mississippi State for years had a piebald buck and they tried to figure out what it takes to produce piebald fawns, and they never could,” said Moreland, who once saw a doe in the wild with one piebald fawn and one normal fawn. “What exactly causes it, nobody can figure out.
“In my forty years of hunting, that fawn was the only one I’ve ever seen.”
But Cormier saw the piebald often, and put out AntlerMax regularly for it. He still remembers the first time he saw him on a trail cam a couple of years ago.
“I had a camera set up on the perimeter of a field with some rice bran,” he said. “One day I had this picture of a spike there that looked like a goat. I said, ‘What the heck?’”
The buck’s distinctive piebald coloration, which Cormier had read about years before in deer hunting magazines, made him stick out like a sore thumb.
“He didn’t know he wasn’t camouflaged. I’d see him sometimes and I’d say, ‘Man, you need to find a white rock or a downed tree to hide near,” he said. “Don’t come out in this green field.
“It looked like a deer with pajamas on. He just didn’t know he was different.”
So on the afternoon of Nov. 12, as Cormier sat in one of his stands overlooking a small pocket field where four does had gathered, the piebald buck showed up minutes before legal shooting time ended.
“I decided to get away and go sit in the deer stand one afternoon, and lo and behold, he shows up,” Cormier said. “I’ve kind of truly been beating myself up because I wish I wouldn’t have shot him then. I wish I’d have watched him a little while longer.
“I think even if I hadn’t been surrounded by funerals, I think it would have still been bittersweet. But I knew this year with horns, someone was going to shoot him once he stepped off the property.”
So Cormier ultimately decided to take the 75-yard shot with his .45-70. He thought he made a good shot, but didn’t find any blood or hair at the site, which concerned him.
“I started kicking myself right away,” he said. “I was depressed from the funeral and I said, ‘You know, you shouldn’t have shot him. You’re not in the right frame of mind.’”
With no blood trail and the temperature forecast to get down to 30 degrees that night, Cormier decided to leave the deer and return the next morning to track him.
He came back with a friend around 8:30 a.m., and they found the buck only 20 yards into the woods. Unfortunately, a coyote had chewed about a 1-foot circle on the deer’s left hind quarter, and Cormier’s plans for a full-body mount evaporated.
But his taxidermist is working on a half-mount, and Cormier will forever be able to enjoy the beauty of a buck that obviously made a big impression on him.
“It’s really bittersweet,” Cormier said. “In fact, I told one of my friends, when he’s on the wall, that’s what I’m going to call him.
Read other stories about big bucks killed this season by clicking here.