"We waited a few minutes to make sure it was dead, and then we went over to get it," Levi said. "Dad said he was proud of me."
The deer turned out to be a button buck, Levi's second of the 2011 season.
"Earlier in the year, I'd gotten a button buck during the [firearm] youth season. I started bowhunting last year, but I had never gotten a deer with a bow before the white one," he said.
Both Levi and Sonny were eager to learn more about the unusual whitetail.
"As soon as we got home, Levi said we needed to get online to try to find out about white deer," Sonny said. "We looked at pictures of piebald and albino deer, and we looked up information about them. It was an educational experience for both of us."
Fortunately for the Whites, the Internet is filled with information about albino and piebald whitetails. They discovered, for instance, that albinism occurs when an animal lacks an enzyme that helps produce melanin, a pigment that affects skin, hair and eye color. Statistically, in a deer population of 30,000, only one would be a true albino.
And in West Virginia, albinos are perfectly legal game.
"We would not discourage anyone from removing an albino from the population," said Paul Johansen, assistant wildlife chief for the state Division of Natural Resources. "Survival traits are poor among albinos. They stick out like sore thumbs and are more susceptible to predation. Because they're not well-adapted for survival, we urge hunters to go ahead and take them."
DNR officials might not hold albinos in high esteem, but the Whites do. Levi said his buck is at the taxidermist's.
"We're going to get a full body mount made of it," he said.
The white buck also created a bit of a stir among Levi's classmates at Mary Ingles Elementary School.
"A pretty good number of the boys at the school are hunters," he said. "Most of them had never seen a pure white deer. They said it was cool."
Reach John McCoy