Michigan youth hunter Gavin Dingman, age 11, shot an albino 12-point buck last week while hunting with his dad, Mick Dingman.

The buck had been seen and photographed several times over the past few years. “Quite a few of the guys in the neighborhood were trying to get it,” Mick said.

Gavin reported that he was “very nervous” when he took aim at the buck with his crossbow. “My dad was just like, ‘Take a deep breath. Are you sure you can take the shot? If you’re not 100 percent, we don’t want to injure it,’ “ Gavin said. But he kept his cool and double-lunged the buck at 30 yards.

Gavin is the talk of his sixth-grade class this week, but not everyone is so impressed. As often happens when someone shoots an albino deer and makes it onto the news, comments are pouring in from do-gooders, antis and even fellow hunters who somehow deem albino animals “too rare and special” to shoot.

Whether or not to shoot albino and piebald deer is a hot topic in deer-hunting circles. White deer (and other animals) have a high mortality rate, due mostly to heavy predation — without nature’s camouflage, young albino animals find it much harder to hide from predators. Most wildlife biologists consider albinism to be an inferior genetic trait for this reason, and many agree that allowing those genes to be passed on would weaken the overall health of the herd.

Nonetheless, some states forbid hunters from shooting albino deer. This reasoning is mostly emotion-driven by those who think a white deer is pretty to look at and should be protected for that reason alone. Many Native American cultures, for example, have traditionally revered white animals and considered them sacred.

So as expected, this argument is coming around again with regard to Gavin Dingman’s buck. Plenty of the comments are positive, but just take a look at a few of the comments recently made on the local news station’s website coverage of this story:

“Shouldn’t shoot something so rare. I’m a deer hunter and I would never shoot one.”

“I remember when a REAL hunter only killed to feed the family. Not for sport. A deer like this would have never been shot by a real hunter. My father would have taken my gun away from me for doing this!”

“This breaks a ‘hunting code.’ “

“You don’t honor a living creature that way!”

“With a crossbow? If he can’t pull back a real bow then he shouldn’t be hunting with a crossbow. He isn’t handicapped.”

“I’m an avid hunter, although I congratulate the young man I think these deer should only be shot on camera.”

“I think Michigan should ban killing them again, that deer was so beautiful. It’s sad that everyone in the neighborhood was trying to kill this deer. What is wrong with people? If that was in my neighborhood I would just love to take pics of it and maybe try and feed it. That deer was too beautiful to die that way.”

And of course, some of the comments go from disapproval to delusional to flat-out psycho:

“It says so much of our society when we feel proud of a child killing, taking the life of an innocent creature.”

“The 11 year old “rock star” is a real tool…Pathetic.”

“Karma and justice shall reveal in time!”

“Hopefully the kid has nightmares.”

But in the end, Gavin is thrilled with his trophy buck. The Dingmans are having a full-body mount done.

What do you think about hunting albino deer? Yes, no or indifferent?

Photo: Family Photo From wzzm13.com