Earlier this year, two white fawns stole the show at Grand Vue Park (www.grandvuepark.com) near Moundsville. They were hard to miss, and soon became favorites of park visitors. Park general manager Craig White told me people began driving through the park just to see the white deer. Photographers hoped for that special shot.
At a park event earlier this fall, someone told me, "Those deer are the park's rock stars."
The white deer became accustomed to the attention and soon developed some predictable habits. This fall, for example, the twins began showing up near a parking lot most evenings near sunset. At other times they visited the bird feeders by the main office. They were indeed celebrities.
So I was concerned when I heard that three deer had recently been killed at the park. Though special hunts are sometimes used to reduce deer numbers in towns and public parks when deer damage complaints escalate, hunting is prohibited at Grand Vue.
Like park visitors and neighbors, I was relieved to learn that the white deer were safe. White told me that neighbors and regular visitors were upset; several volunteered to patrol the park at night.
The white deer are just one of many attractions at Grand Vue, a beautiful, 600-plus acre county park. It has something for everyone -- a zip line course, par-3 golf, disc golf, miniature golf, a geocaching course, miles of hiking trails, rental cabins, a swimming pool, and a large bird feeding station complete with strategically placed benches. It's Marshall County's best-kept secret. And at least for now, it's home to two wild white deer.
The desire to protect these special deer is understandable. Rare, seldom seen animals often trigger this reaction. We want to see and admire animals that are different because we may never again get such an opportunity. Native Americans, for example, revered white bison. Snowy owls, white robins, and white squirrels evoke similar feelings. So I'm not surprised by the public's reaction to Grand Vue's white deer.