Black Magic




Melanistic (black) deer are even rarer than albino deer. Even more rare are 10-point, 4 1/2-year old melanistic bucks -- exactly what Virginia bowhunter Mike Kaczor bagged this year in Iowa. No official records are kept on melanistic deer, but Kaczor's buck is most likely the largest black whitetail ever killed by a bowhunter.


So rare are melanistic whitetails that scientific literature reports only that the coloration exists, but gives no numbers regarding its prevalence. Melanism results from an overproduction of a pigment called melanin. With over six million deer taken each year in North America, only a handful show this coloration. For whatever reason, most of these come from an eight-county region in central Texas.

Mike Kaczor was hunting in Iowa when he first got word of some dark-colored deer there, but he gave it little thought. Then, about 10:30 a.m. on the first day of his two-week hunt, he heard a noise in a creek bottom and saw a deer emerge as it visited a scrape and then a rub tree.


Man, that deer is dark, Kaczor thought. His arrow covered the 14 yards in an instant, passing through the buck's chest. After waiting 45 minutes, Kaczor followed the blood trail across two oxbows along the creek bottom. As he crested the second oxbow, no more than 100 yards from his stand, he found his prize.

In case you're wondering, Kaczor is getting a full-body mount of his piece of history -- a deer he now calls Black Magic!

Recommended for You

As a bowhunter, you need complete faith in your physical ability to hike in to your hunting ground, stalk your prey, pull your bow stealthily and pack out your animal. That means it's essential to train for your hunt. How-To

10 Workout Routines Every Bowhunter Should Master

Adam Holt

As a bowhunter, you need complete faith in your physical ability to hike in to your hunting...

Check out our roundup of the best new release aids from the 2019 ATA Show! ATA Show

6 New Archery Release Aids to Consider for 2019

Colton Bailey - January 11, 2019

Check out our roundup of the best new release aids from the 2019 ATA Show!

Daily workouts condition your body, yes, but perhaps more importantly, they condition your mind. Stories

Mental Toughness for Bowhunting

Dan Stanton

Daily workouts condition your body, yes, but perhaps more importantly, they condition your...

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Spot-and-Stalk Texas Hog Bowhunt

Spot-and-Stalk Texas Hog Bowhunt

Bowhunter Equipment Editor Tony J. Peterson spot-and-stalks hogs and whitetails in Texas.

Season Opener: Kentucky Whitetail Bowhunt

Season Opener: Kentucky Whitetail Bowhunt

Christian Berg arrives at Whitetail Heaven Outfitters in Kentucky to kick off the beginning of his hunting season.

Mountain Caribou Hunt

Mountain Caribou Hunt

Curt Wells can't pass up this opportunity to hunt mountain caribou in the Northwest Territories.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

This past fall my twin daughters started kindergarten, which meant that I stopped paying for Bows

9 Top Budget Bows for 2018

Tony J. Peterson - February 20, 2018

This past fall my twin daughters started kindergarten, which meant that I stopped paying for

Archer Chris Cammack has arrowed the new world record for brown bears with his Alaskan giant. Other Game

Massive Alaskan Brown Bear is the New World Record

Lynn Burkhead - October 18, 2018

Archer Chris Cammack has arrowed the new world record for brown bears with his Alaskan giant.

Here's how to choose vanes that will yield the best accuracy, forgiveness, and trajectory. Arrows & Broadheads

What Are the Best Vanes For Hunting?

Joe Bell

Here's how to choose vanes that will yield the best accuracy, forgiveness, and trajectory.

See More Stories

More Stories

Hunting seasons don't just happen in the fall. Editor Curt Wells details some spring bowhunting adventures to extend your time in the outdoors! Stories

Don't Forget About Spring Bowhunting

Curt Wells - March 20, 2018

Hunting seasons don't just happen in the fall. Editor Curt Wells details some spring...

Dwight Schuh explains why it's okay to be serious about bowhunting - but not too serious! Stories

Hunting for the Fun of It

Dwight Schuh

Dwight Schuh explains why it's okay to be serious about bowhunting - but not too serious!

My family and I are opportunity hunters. No matter the species, if there is an open season, odds Stories

Hunting Seasons Are Full of Life Lessons

Fred Eichler - December 15, 2017

My family and I are opportunity hunters. No matter the species, if there is an open season,...

See More Stories

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.