Josh Rouse: Trail cam spots apparently black deer in Topeka

Melanistic deer are rare, range from having dark spots to being completely jet black

Doug Mauck submitted this trail camera photo of a dark-colored deer near MacLennan Park. (SUBMITTED)

Happy holidays to all my readers, and I hope you get a nice break from work or school to do some hunting or fishing!

 

Doug Mauck shared an interesting photo with me that was taken on a trail camera near MacLennan Park in Topeka.

Mauck said he has had the field camera in the same place for five years, but was surprised when an image of a partially black-colored deer showed up.

“I have also walked the trails at MacLennan Park for the past 18 years and have never seen this one,” he said. “This guy must be being chased from territory to territory by more mature bucks and is just wandering through.”

The spike buck does indeed appear to have a darker tint to parts of his coat than most, sort of a gray to even a dark chocolate color toward its hind end. At its head, it becomes pure black in areas. Melanistic deer are extremely rare and can range from having patches of black in their coats to being completely jet black.

Mauck said he posts his best trail camera photos and videos on the MacLennan Park Gallery and Forum group on Facebook.

Shadows in the photo make it difficult to tell just how much of the deer is black, but it certainly is a cool-looking creature.

Kaw River speakers

The Great Overland Station has several speakers lined up next year to speak in relation to its current exhibit: “The Kaw: A Prairie River Shapes a State.”

Two of the programs will be about historical fishing on the river — one by the family of Tom Burns and the other focusing on other river anglers by Barbara Higgins-Dover, according to Beth Fager, campaign director and exhibit coordinator for the Great Overland Station Museum.

“While much of this exhibit covers the history and culture of the river, there is a large section about fishing on the Kaw,” Fager said in an email. “We have on display a fishing boat used by Tom Burns, sometimes called the ‘King of the Kaw,’ and many artifacts from him and other ‘river kings.’ “

In addition, Aaron Deters, of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, will speak in May on improving river access on the Kaw.

Each of the speakers will present from noon to 1 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month. The programs are as follows:

— Jan. 10: “Kansas Riverkings” by Barbara Higgins-Dover

— Feb. 14: “In Love with the Kansas River” by Bill Riphahn

— March 14: “Fish Tales from the Kaw” by the family of Tom Burns

— April 11: “Crossing the Kansas River on the Oregon Trail” by Tom Ellis

— May 9: “Improving Access on the Kaw River” by Aaron Deters

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