By Kevin Murphy
(Reuters) - A Missouri man, criticized after he killed an albino deer that had been a community favorite, said on Thursday he would have the aging animal stuffed and would give away the meat to a needy family.
Jerry Kinnaman, 40, said he had seen the deer around Cape Girardeau, Missouri, for years and refrained from shooting it because a neighbor enjoyed watching it. He killed it on Tuesday with a bow and arrow, he said.
"He really hadn't been on my property enough for me to actually hunt him," Kinnaman said in a telephone interview. "This year he started showing up again periodically. I knew I had a chance."
The 10-point buck was about 7-1/2 years old, thin and probably near the end of its life expectancy, he said.
Kinnaman said he could understand the outcry generated after he posted his kill of the locally famous deer on Facebook, and an article ran in the Southeast Missourian newspaper.
"They can see him so far away, with that white color, and they feel he is a special animal," Kinnaman said.Dean Harre of the Missouri Department of Conservation, said the deer's albinism results from a mutation, and culling it from the herd is neither objectionable nor illegal.
(Reporting by Kevin Murphy, Kansas City, Missouri; Editing by David Bailey and Sandra Maler)