Now at the age of seventy-five, Joyce Toups was born and raised on the banks of Bayou Lafourche in Cut-off where she still lives.
With 11 grandkids and 21 great grandkids Toups has a passion for the outdoors to hunt and fish that started at a very young age. When she was 5 years old, her grandfather would carry her to the duck blind to spend a morning of duck hunting. As she got older, he took her fishing as well.
“All of that hunting and fishing was instilled in me,” Toups recalled. “At age 10, my grandfather bought me a single shot crack barrel shotgun to hunt ducks. He told me to take a pirogue and paddle to the back ponds and shoot some ducks and I did. Today I still love to sit in a deer stand for the afternoon.”
She later married Wilbert Toups and together they deer hunted in Louisiana and Mississippi. Twenty-seven years ago she talked to club members about white deer on their lease. Two had been seen that year and Mrs. Toups has wanting to shoot an albino or piebald deer as a trophy ever since. Using her Browning 270, she managed to shot her first piebald deer this year.
Wilbert had seen the 62 pound piebald doe on a morning deer hunt at a particular stand and watched the deer for hour hours. At one point, it laid down next to a food plot and took a nap. So, he let it walk. After getting back to the camp and telling the story to his wife, she was eager to make an afternoon deer hunt to the same stand in hopes of seeing the piebald deer.
“Around 5:15pm I had almost given up on seeing the piebald because it was getting dark. I thought to myself, the white deer is not coming back,” she said. “That’s when this white thing appeared at the edge of the woods. I thought it was a big goat. All I could see was white. I put the crosshairs of my scope on the deer and fired one shot. The white deer dropped in its tracks.”
Piebald deer are relatively rare, and most hunters think of them as having white hair on parts that should be dark brown hair. However, some piebald deer can have nearly all white coats. Piebald deer are impacted by the condition can have other abnormalities such as short legs, curving of the spine, scoliosis, severe arching of the nose, short jawbones, and malformation of internal organs. The piebald condition is an inherited trait and is caused by an irregular genetics. Biologist believes the piebald condition occurs one in a thousand deer.
Piebald deer should not be confused with albino deer. True albino deer lack any pigmentation, so they have white coats and pinkish or white eyes, nose, and hooves. Biologist estimates one in 30,000 are albinos.
Joyce plans to have the piebald deer mounted in a full body mount.
“My taxidermist in Houma, Louisiana, told me it would one year to complete the mount. This is my trophy deer of a lifetime!” Joyce said.