Illinois Hunter Harvests Rare & Unique Hairless Whitetail After Tracking it for Months with Cams, Nicknamed it 'Hershey'

Zack Love

An Illinois hunter tracked a unique-looking buck on his trail cams for months. In the sun, its coat looked reddish, while in the shade it looked chocolate color, so he nicknamed it "Hershey." The Hunter and his Father didn't know what they were looking at until they saw it in the wild, and it appeared to be hairless. Some hunters suspected it had "mange" but it did not. He harvested Hershey in December 2022 in Hamilton County and revealed he will eat the meat and mount the head as a trophy in this incredible story.
Jay KehrerPhoto byJay Kehrer (Facebook)

A hunter harvested one unique hairless whitetail in Hamilton County, Illinois near Dale after tracking a buck he nicknamed "Hershey" for its strange-looking coloration.

Field & Stream reported that Jay Kehrer tracked this unusual hairless deer for months, and even considered letting it grow for a few more years, but was "worried another hunter would take it because of its atypical appearance."

See a photo from Jay's trail camera below.
Taken in November 2022 by Jay Kehrer's trail camPhoto byJay Kehrer (Facebook)

When hunting season started on 1 December 2022, Jay decided that if he came across this unique deer, he would take the opportunity to harvest it.

Sure enough, Jay and his son saw "Hershey" on the opening night of the gun-hunting season.

He said:

“On opening night, all of a sudden, my son and I look out in the field and it was that red-colored deer,” says Kehrer. “We were like ‘Oh my gosh, there it is!’” -Jay Kehrer, hunter (Source: Field & Stream)

They watched it as it wandered off for about 30 minutes before returning. He asked his son if he wanted it, and his son declined, for he wanted a bigger buck.

Jay took the shot, and it was a solid one.

They tracked the buck to where it ended up. When they got up close, they finally saw that this whitetail buck was hairless. Up until this point, they did not know the circumstances behind its unusual coloration.

The Hairless Whitetail Appeared to be Healthy and Safe to Eat

Some people on Facebook saw the photos and speculated that the hairless whitetail buck had "mange," or maybe some other disease, but Jay received confirmation from a state biologist that his deer was safe to eat.

This is what he posted on Facebook.

Jay said:

"It wasn’t truly understood what he was until Lucas and I walked up to him at the end of the short blood trail. Lucas and I just stood there in shock at to what we were looking at. We circled it several times trying to grasp just what we were looking at. We couldn’t find anything wrong with it except it was naked! After I tagged it we reached out to the local Captain of the Game Wardens....When the Warden arrived he took several pictures. I gave him several of the one posted here. He sent them to the State of Illinois Biologist. " -Jay Kehrer, hunter (Source: Facebook)

The biologist called Jay back with the good news.

"The biologist said there was nothing wrong with it except that the fur was gone, and that the meat is safe to eat.” -Jay Kehrer, hunter (Source: Field & Stream)

The biologist also shared that this is only the third recorded case of a hairless deer in state records.

See another photo of it below.
Photo of hairless whitetail buckPhoto byJay Kehrer (Facebook)

Jay Answers Questions on Facebook

Jay answers the two most-asked questions everyone wants to know on Facebook.

  • "Will he eat the meat?"
  • "Wil he have it mounted?"

He shared in a Facebook post the answers.

He posted:

"The second most asked question after are you planning on eating it? Which obviously we are from the last couple sentences. Are you having it mounted? The answer to that one is also yes. Countless people said call BassPro, Call Cabela’s, call Outdoor Life. They will for sure pay you for the rights of the deer. This deer isn’t for sale. It’s like all the rest of our family mounts, it’s one of our hunting stories. We are having it mounted at our same taxidermist as always." -Jay Kehrer, hunter (Source: Facebook)

Jay found a remarkably unique whitetail buck, and his story truly is fascinating. It's great that he can bond with his son while hunting, just as his Father did with him.

Please share this incredible story with friends and family on social media, so they can read about this remarkable hairless buck.


Jay Kehrer Facebook profile.

Marshall, Sage. "Illinois Hunter Tags Unusual-Looking Hairless Buck." Field & Stream. 12 December 2022.

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Zack covers interesting and inspiring news stories that impact local communities. He has a bachelor's degree and an MBA.

Huntsville, AL

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