11-Year-Old Hunter Receives Death Threats For Killing Albino Buck

By author of Brow Tines and Backstrap

Gavin Dingman tagged this albino buck in Michigan.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity."

Know who said that?

Albert Einstein.

Know when he said it?

Sometime around 1900.

Yeah, that's a good 100 years before the days of Facebook and social media.

I'm not one to argue with a guy like Einstein. But I will say this: He didn't get that one quite right. He's close. But not spot on. Technology has not exceeded our humanity. In many ways, it has broadened that humanity and made some exceptionally good things possible. But technology has changed things and humanity is a part of it. So I will offer up this redneck revision:

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has provided ignorant cowards with a voice."

I have a 13-year-old son. He is my world. I'm not saying I love him more than my daughter or my wife. I don't. But I love him differently. He is my son and dads understand what that means.

He is a hunter and has been since birth. He was born with canine teeth and a genetic makeup passed down over the course of mankind. He eats meat because he was meant to eat meat. He kills critters because they supply him that meat. And, yes, because he enjoys it.

Does that offend you? The notion that my son enjoys hunting? That he enjoys the act of ambushing prey and killing it? Tough. Your disapproval has been noted. And dismissed. Because your disapproval has absolutely no bearing on me. Or him. 

He is not your son. 

Last week, 11-year-old Gavin Dingman killed the buck of several lifetimes when the Michigan youth hunter shot an albino deer near his home in southeast Michigan. 

Killing a white, piebald or albino deer in Michigan is legal. As it should be.

Soon after tagging the buck, Gavin's family did what I'd have done: They shared the images and story on Facebook. They were -- deservedly so -- proud of their son and his accomplishment.

What followed was something they likely didn't expect.

Hate-filled messages. Ignorance-laden tirades. Death threats.

Yes, death threats. To an 11-year-old boy.

Need proof? Here's but one of many, many examples:

"This father and son should be shot thru theit lungs why would a father encourage his son to kill and why would the son they both are not worth the air they breath. Put them both in jail for the rest of their lives."

I've ommitted the name of the "lady" who posted the comments. Why? Because I have morals. And values. Things I learned from being a hunter. I have not corrected her rampant spelling and grammatical errors. Why? Well, I have just enough Backwoods Billy in me to enjoy making folks look like clowns. 

Gavin's parents, I've been told, have received similar threats via their personal phones. 

An albino deer is a rarity. It's also a genetic mutation that, in most situations, means a very short life for the critter unfortunate enough to inherit it. White deer don't live long. There's a reason that deer were created with brown coats and white tails. It's camouflage. The kind that keeps them alive. 

The area Gavin lives is densely populated and subdivisions are as thick as fleas on a barnyard cat. The buck lived in a suburban area and was seen fairly regularly by local residents who gleefully snapped photos of "their" special deer.

And, somehow, they thought that made this deer sacred. There are likely dozens of other deer in the area. I'm assuming they all have normal coloration. Some might have had their photos taken as well. But they weren't "special" thus the yuppies paid them no mind.

Perhaps that's what disgusts me most about the people crying foul. They have not a single clue what they're talking about.

Every deer I've ever killed has been incredibly special to me. Almost every deer I've ever hunted is one that I've taken photos of, became familiar with and built a relationship of sorts with. I won't lie and say that killing the deer didn't bring with it a small pang of remorse. Of course it did. That's part of hunting and part of humanity. I feel that remorse because I am aware of the animal's life. 

The folks threatening to kill an 11-year-old boy know nothing of that. They simply pull up to the drive-thru, order their burger and scarf it down without giving a single thought to the fact that the flesh they're eating came from an animal that was once living and breathing. An animal that someone else killed for them. As if that makes it all better.

Humanity is defined by relationships and understanding. When all of your food comes wrapped in plastic and covered in special sauce, there is neither.

Because of that, some find it acceptable to threaten the life of an 11-year-old boy who legally killed a deer?

Many of the comments focused on Gavin's dad and his "barbaric" teachings. How dare he teach his little boy to kill? What kind of a man will that hunting heathen become? 

I'll tell you what he'll become: He'll become a man who understands the difference between right and wrong. The kind who will understand the balance of life and death. That there is not one without the other.

He will become the type of man that becomes infuriated at the ignorance displayed by cowards hiding behind a screen. The kind that threaten the lives of little boys.

He will become a man not unlike you, me, his dad.

I wish my son had killed that buck. It's a dandy. And it's a special deer indeed. Not just because of its white coloration but because it survived in an area where that's not especially easy to do.

I'd have taken lots of photos of my son and that buck. Maybe even some video. And I'd share it on Facebook. Probably write about it here on Realtree.com as well.

Would the death threats come? The hateful drivel? Probably.

Would that mean Einstein is right, after all? That technology has surpassed our humanity? Nah. It just means that ignorance can't be cured with technology alone.