, Port Arthur, Texas


July 27, 2013

Chester Moore column: Albino whitetail buck amazes

PORT ARTHUR —  Ken Swenson of Swenson Whiteail Ranch in Orangefield has one of the most amazing deer I have ever seen.

    It is a year-old albino buck named “Rusty” that is working on an impressive non-typical set of antlers. Over the years I have heard of hunters seeing “ghost bucks” or white deer they could not explain in the field and to get to look closely at one is exciting for someone who enjoys anomalies as much as I do.

    There are several key explanations for potential white deer seen in the field in Texas.

     On rare occasion, an albino whitetail will make it to adulthood in the wild and they are a remarkable sight. Albino whitetails are a rarity but they do exist and in my opinion, they would be the least likely source of sightings.

    Think of a piebald as an animal with partial albinism or simply lack of pigment in certain areas instead of all over the body. Over the years, there have been a number of piebald whitetails harvested. We ran a photo of one in the “Critter Cam” from Orange County a few months ago.

Piebalds are also called “calico deer” and seem to be most commonly killed in the Pineywoods region of the state but they could turn up anywhere.

    A high possibility for many “ghost deer” sightings in Texas is the fallow deer. Fallows come in spotted, chocolate and white varieties and there are tens of thousands of them out there.

    Fallow deer come from Europe and Asia and adapted to the Texas Hill Country perfectly and there are many free-ranging specimens in Kerr, Bandera, Media and Uvalde Counties in particular. They also do well on high fenced properties in other parts of the state and often escape.

A white fallow doe spotted at a distance is virtually impossible to distinguish from a white whitetail. In fact, there was one road-killed a few miles from my home, five years ago and I had a hard time convincing people it was not a whitetail.

    Fallow bucks have huge palmated antlers when mature but young bucks can have racks similar to whitetails especially when viewed at a distance. This is my number one candidate on the “ghost deer” list.

    There is a variety of exotics that could potentially explain “ghost deer” sightings. As silly as it may seem a white nanny goat spotted moving at a distance could easily fool a hunter as could young scimitar-horned oryx or various species of antelope.

    There is something exciting about encountering an anomaly in the wild. Seeing a deer is one thing but spotting a genetic rarity or even an escaped exotic is unexpected but always welcome.

    Texas is a land of surprises so stay alert in the field, keep your eyes fixed on the edge of the wood line and you might get a glimpse of one of these mysterious ghost deer.

(To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at


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  • Chester Moore column: Bank fishing good approach on catfish

     Summer is one of the best times to seek catfish in Southeast Texas and thankfully, for local anglers without a boat, there are catfish in just about every canal, drainage ditch and bayou in the area.
      Fishing from the bank has its disadvantages but there is a way around it. This involves making the fish come to you.
      European catfish and carp anglers who typically fish exclusively from the bank use a system called “ground baiting,” which involves putting chum out with the bait. They attach a small cylindrical device above their swivel, which holds chum and dispenses it as the water rushes by. The problem is these rigs are not readily available in our marketplace.
      However, with a little ingenuity, taking a 35-millimeter film canister, punching a hole in the bottom and on the lid and then punching more holes along the side can make a similar device. This acts as a perfect chumming device and is very inexpensive.
      Not everyone has film canisters these days so the softer plastic aspirin bottles will also get the job done.
      Rig this above your swivel and weight, and then fill it with your favorite chum. Now you will not only be chumming the area you fish in but also bringing fish directly to your bait.
      Any kind of chum will work, but a mixture I have had some success with was menhaden oil (available through many mail order offshore supply catalogs) mixed with soured milo. The oil creates a huge chum slick and when it mixes with the milo, the smell is almost unbearable, which means catfish love it. The best part is that a little bit goes a long way.
     Something else to consider is using jack mackerel as bait.
     This oily fish is available in larger supermarkets in a can for less than $1, and I can attest it will bring in fish. While fishing in the Gulf of Mexico and tagging sharks for the Mote Marine Laboratory, my partners and I were able to chum in and catch nearly 40 sharks while using less than two cans of the stuff. It is oily and stinks to high heaven, so catfish should love it.
      For anglers interested in using film canisters to chum their bait, something else to consider is the use of a popping cork. Even if your bait is on the bottom, you can rig a popping cork above it and attach a baited film canister below. This will allow you to do some extra chumming and use the cork to “pop” the chum out whenever you want to release more.
     Another great tip for land bound anglers is to use braided line. In talking with several anglers who pursue brackish blues from the bank, I have learned that loosing striking fish can be a problem.
      I am not sure as to the reason but a definitely solution is using a braided line because they have no stretch. When making long casts with monofilament from the bank you have the potential for lots of line stretch when can make a poor hookset.
     Sixty yards of line might have five or six feet of stretch and that is plenty for a big blue to undo. When using a braid like Fireline, Gorilla Braid or Spiderwire you can forego these problems and greatly enhance your chances of putting some catfish in the frying pan.
     (To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at You can hear him on the radio Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on “Moore Outdoors” on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at and watch him Saturdays on on “God’s Outdoors with Chester Moore”.)

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