I have done some research on whitetail deer and their colors. Whitetail deer are usually brown and white. But there are variations, from all black to all white and a combination of brown and white. The hair color of a normally brown whitetail might vary in a wide array of shades and patterns.
Black or nearly black is called melanism. It is caused by over- production of melanin, a chemical responsible for dark pigmentation in animals. Melanistic deer will have a dark, almost black coat. This also tends to eliminate the normal white markings, particularly on the face and throat. This condition is particularly rare in whitetails. It was reported that a black doe was shot in Wisconsin in the mid 60's.
Albino whitetails have pink skin and a pure white coat. The irises of their eyes are usually pink, but sometimes a pale blue. Not all white deer are albino, and there is no such thing as a partial albino. True albinos have little or no melanin in their bodies. The hair is white because it lacks pigment. The skin looks pink because the flowing blood shows through the deer's pale skin. Albinos can't see well because there is no melanin in their eyes to block the light. They are also sensitive to exposure and their white coat makes the young especially vulnerable to predators in the wild.
The Seneca Army Depot in the state of New York is home to the greatest known concentration of white whitetails, also called "ghost deer." Established in 1941, the Depot is spread out over approximately 10,000 acres. It is all fenced and human access is strictly controlled. In 1951, the deer herd at the Depot was approximately 400. Records show that one white deer was seen that year. By 1961, there were about 7 whites on the army base. By 1967 the number of white deer was over 100. Today of the 400+ deer on the base, over half are white. It is believed that many of the white whitetails in captivity today can be traced back to the herd at Seneca.
Adult white whitetails are white, snow white. The fawns are born tan or cream colored with white spots, arranged in the same pattern found on typical whitetail fawns. Occasionally, a fawn is born with a tan or gray cast to their coats, giving a dirty appearance. But their coats become pure white by the middle of their second year. With their white coats and areas inside the ears, nose and around the eyes made pinkish by blood vessels showing through their pale skin, white whitetails are often mistaken for albinos. But white is their natural color just like polar bears and Dall sheep. If you have any whites at your place, you will be asked over and over again, "Are those deer albinos?"
Antler formation on white deer is also fascinating. Young bucks sporting their first set of antlers usually show surprising uneven development - most often one of two patterns. Either both antlers are spikes, but one is twice the length of the other, or one antler grows at an unusual angle or curve. This unusual development is common with the first set of antlers but seldom carries over into succeeding years.
Partially white or piebald deer seem to occur in the wild more often than melanistic, albino or all with a trace of brown. In albinos, none of the cells produce melanin. In piebalds, at least some of the cells produce pigment. This causes a spotting of the coat. Some areas will be brown and others will be white. To my knowledge, there is little or no documented research as to the breeding of piebalds with albinos or whites and the resulting offspring.
The whitetail deer is plenty fascinating all by itself. But throw in a few color changes, mix in some top-notch genetics and life really gets interesting. Isn't deer farming fun?