Will Adkins of Cedar Grove is no stranger to killing trophy bucks on small pieces of land. He killed two Pope and Young bucks in 2015, each one on separate 10-acre tracts. So it’s not surprising that he killed another trophy last week, once again on a small parcel of land in Orange County. But this trophy was quite a surprise indeed.
Adkins killed a solid white, 6-point buck that he’d never seen before – not in person or on trail cameras. And he did it after unexpectedly losing a 300-acre lease that he’d hunted for almost six years. He lost that lease within a few days of the start of deer season.
Fortunately, Adkins secured another lease, although a much smaller one, that bordered his previous hunting grounds. And even better, a monster buck he’d been watching for years on his old lease showed up on the trail camera at his new lease.
“He’s a good 150-class buck, and I’d let him walk several times over the years, letting him reach his full potential. He’s got a unique rack with thick bases, and is a good, record-book buck. I was excited about him showing up at my new location, and was pursuing him,” Adkins said.
After seeing that a cold front was set to drastically drop temperatures on Nov. 4, Adkins took that day off work, believing the cooling trend would have deer moving more than they had been in previous days. And he felt with a little luck, the 150-class deer would show up.
After getting to his box blind before first light, Adkins began getting restless when he hadn’t seen anything by 9:30 a.m.
“I had not seen anything at all, and I was looking at my watch, and decided I was going to leave around 10 o’clock. But when I looked up, I saw a white deer about 60 to 70 yards away. It really caught me off guard. It’s just something I never expected to see,” he said.
Once the deer stepped into a small clearing, Adkins raised his Thompson Center muzzleloader, put the crosshairs on the buck, and pulled the trigger.
“I’d been asked by people over the years if I’d shoot a white deer if I ever saw one, and I never really knew. But when I saw this deer, I didn’t even think about it,” he said.
Adkins stayed in the blind for 30 minutes, collecting his thoughts and letting the deer lay. Once he walked to the area he’d shot the buck, he immediately found blood, then followed the blood trail for 30 yards where he found his trophy.
David King at Buckhorn Taxidermy in Efland is creating a shoulder mount, and agreed with Adkins that this deer is not an albino, but even more rare than that.
“Albinos have pink eyes and pink inner ears, but this deer had white inner ears, and his eyes were a translucent white. Even the nose and hooves are white. It is so rare, and it’s just not something I ever thought I would get a shot at. With all I’ve gone through to get access to hunting land in a county I’m not originally from, just through networking and talking to land owners, and after losing that lease just before the season started, this is definitely the highlight of my hunting career,” Adkins said.