15-year-old nabs rare Piebald deer
PERHAM, Minn. - What started out as a typical day out in the woods for 15-year-old Cierra Olson ended up being anything but. The Perham hunter waited out a couple of cold, slow hours that afternoon of Nov. 9, seeing nothing from her grandfather's...
PERHAM, Minn. – What started out as a typical day out in the woods for 15-year-old Cierra Olson ended up being anything but. The Perham hunter waited out a couple of cold, slow hours that afternoon of Nov. 9, seeing nothing from her grandfather’s deer stand, when suddenly, in a matter of moments, things started to heat up.
Olson saw three deer moving in front of her stand.
“I was in there for about two hours and I was getting bored,” Olson said in a recent interview. “I started looking around with my binoculars and wasn’t seeing anything. Next thing you know, I look over and three deer pop out.”
They were all does. The first two deer looked smaller, and Olson passed on them.
It was the third deer she went for, which was bigger in size. At the time, she didn’t know she was aiming at a rarity.
“I shot that one with one shot,” Olson said. “It leaped, jumped and it went down. My brother went out and found it. I didn’t know it was special.”
The large doe turned out to be a rare Piebald deer, which make up less than one percent of the total deer population.
What makes Piebald deer different is their pigmentation. Olson’s deer is further set apart by its lack of color in the hooves.
“They have brown and white splotches of fur,” said Don Schultz of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “It’s part of the skin pigment that causes that. It has nothing to do with the health of the deer. It’s a mutation in the pigmentation of the deer.”
Schultz said the DNR usually hears about one or two such deer being shot around the state every year. He added that Piebald deer are fairly rare and are not something seen every day.
It was Cierra’s dad, Ross Olson, who noticed the lack of pigment in the hooves of his daughter’s deer.
“She thought it was a regular deer until I got there,” Ross said. “Piebald usually has white spots on it, but it’s very rare that they have white hooves. They usually have brown eyes, brown nose and brown hooves. This one has all four white socks.”
Cierra harvested this rare doe in a very familiar spot to her and her family. The property she hunts on, in Plummer, Minn., was willed to her by her grandparents, and she’s been hunting from her grandfather’s stand there since she was 13 years old.
“I take the kids up there and they go hunting on that 80,” Ross said. “She has gotten a deer every year. Last year, she got a buck and a doe, the year before that she got a buck and the year before that she got a buck.”
Cierra not only shot the deer from her grandfather’s old stand, but also with her grandfather’s old gun.
“Her grandpa was really a big hunter on her mom’s side,” Ross said. “He willed his .243 to her, and every year since she has gotten it, she has gotten a deer with it.”
In that stand lies a history of success for the Olson family. The stand boasts a carved marking for every deer that has been harvested from it. This latest deer of Cierra’s will be marked differently than those of the past.
“They mark off the deer every year when a deer is shot from there,” Ross said.” This year, we are going to take a picture of it and hang it up in there.”
The family also plans on getting a head mount of the deer and having a shelf made out of its four legs.
Cierra said it was neat to harvest such a rare deer from her grandfather’s stand.
“I was just surprised,” she said. “What were the chances that I shot this deer? I knew that stand had to be lucky because I have gotten a deer every year from that stand. It’s just really insane to shoot that deer out of it.”
She said this deer ranks right up there with an
8-point buck that she harvested a couple of years ago, which happened to be her first buck.
“Hunting on my grandpa’s land is more like a memory,” she said. “It was one of my grandpa’s passions. It’s kind of a big part of our family and it’s nice to carry that on and do something special.”