Stunning Piebald Whitetail deer tagged in New Jersey

Rarely does a hunting plan come together as perfectly as it did for Robby Stenger on the opening day of New Jersey whitetail hunting season. While hunting his 3-acre suburban property in Marlboro on Oct. 1, Stenger took down a stunning 10-point buck that he had seen in four years.

Stenger first met “Casper,” as he called the buck, in 2019 when he was a bird. He was immediately struck by the moose’s distinctive mottled coat. In 2020, he spotted the buck, now a tip, on his cellphone camera on October 29. Exactly one year later—in almost an hour—it reappeared on Stenger’s cell phone and had developed into a beautiful 10-pointer.

piebald deer on trail cam
Stenger had several years of history with the dollar. Robby Stenger

As the 2022 season opener approached, Stenger got some new camera shots that showed Casper was still a 10-pointer, but carrying a much heavier rack. “I thought he would score about 130 or 135 inches and I was thinking about not shooting him this year,” Stenger says. “Ideally, I could let him go another year and he’d break 150, maybe even more with the genetics we have here.”

Stenger wasn’t the only one with eyes on Big Piebald

When Stenger bought his home in 2018, he quickly realized he had stumbled upon a suburban deer hunting hotspot. “I get two or three shooters coming in every year,” he says. A big 9-pointer he shot nearby in 2019 earned him a spot in Field & Stream’s November Best Story that year. “The horses in this field have only great genetics and everyone knows it.”

New Jersey Hunter Tag Gorgeous 10-point Piebald Buck
Robby Stenger

The problem, of course, is that everyone knows it. That became clear to Stenger when he made a stop on opening day at a local orchard. New Jersey allows baiting, and several hunters in the area buy apples and trade stories with this particular gardener.

“He asked me how my season was going,” Stenger recalled. “I told him I got some film on the camera and I was really thinking about this film I’ve seen for a few years. He was a stud, but then he exploded for a 10-pointer. Now he’s a shooter, but I’d like to let him go another year. And he says, “I know that deer.” And I’m like, ‘What do you mean you know him?’

white and brown mottled fur
Reindeer dressing is a classic example of piebaldism. Robby Stenger

Three hunters who had already come for apples were actively hunting the buck, the man told Stenger. They had shown him pictures of the same piebald deer. “That conversation happened at 7:30 a.m. An hour later, I got my first buck day photo of the year,” says Stenger. “I decided on the spot that I would shoot him if I could. I got into my booth around 3:30pm and by 4:30pm he was dead. It happened so fast.”

Stenger’s land adjoins a 6- or 7-acre forest, and from past experience, he knew that a sighting of a buck in daylight meant the deer was most likely lying nearby. His strategy was to hunt a stand overlooking a low spot that deer use as a travel corridor. This was almost thwarted by a stray wind. “It was blowing on my back, which meant the buck could catch my scent if he landed in that crease where I expected him to go. Luckily, he made a big circle and described me before he went in, and my scent was picking up because of the afternoon thermals,” Stenger says. “He never scented me, and when he shot me at 20 yards, I I got it.”

the man holds the deer fishers with white patches on the deer's face
There are more than 125,000 white-tailed deer in New Jersey. Robby Stenger

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Stenger estimates buck values ​​at 130 to 135 inches. He’s not second-guessing his decision to tag the dollar this year instead of waiting another year. “I just had a lot of history with this deer,” he says. “I had to shoot him.”

According to the National Deer Association (NDA), piebaldism is “a rare genetic abnormality” that results in abnormal coloring and sometimes other physical deformities. “While we don’t fully understand the genetic error that produces piebald deer, we do know that you should consider yourself lucky if you see one where you’re hunting,” explains the NDA. “It’s not a population problem to worry about and you can’t ‘fix’ it by deliberately harvesting the deer, but if you’d be happy to take home such a rare deer and it’s legal where you hunt, by all means, enjoy yourself.”

And Senger did. “He’s an extremely rare and beautiful deer, with that piebald pattern and those dark, dark chocolate antlers,” he says. “To see something like this is shocking. It is probably the most beautiful money I have ever seen in my life. And now he’s at the taxidermist and I’ll remember him forever.”

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