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TOWN OF LOMIRA – Motorists zipping along i-41 did a double take Sunday morning as they spied a small brown and white creature picking its way along the shoulder of the busy interstate in northern Dodge County.

Sgt. Bryan Frank of the Lomira Police Department was dispatched to the scene at 9:15 a.m. Feb. 10 for the report of a calf near the well-traveled roadway.

Expecting to find the errant dairy animal, Sgt. Frank was surprised to see a small piebald deer with a white head, chest and legs standing calmly in the grassy right-of-way.

Sgt. Frank was able to shoot a couple of photos of the deer before shooing the animal away to safety.

According to geneticists, the piebald coloring is attributed to a genetic abnormality that leads to a lack of pigmentation in patched around the body. The Nature Conservancy blog calls it a recessive genetic trait found in about 1% of all whitetails..

White animals tend to have a more difficult time surviving in the wild since predators can spot them more easily. In Wisconsin, white deer are protected by Department of Natural Resources rules and hunters are not allowed to shoot them.

Outside the Chronic Wasting Disease Management Zone CWD MZ, a deer that has some brown hair, even if only a small patch, on any part of the body that is not part of the head, hooves or tarsal glands, is not protected and may be harvested, tagged and registered by a hunter if they have a valid tag for that type of deer (buck or antlerless deer.

Paul A. Smith contributed to this article

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