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A local group, Protect the White Deer, hopes to change state law to make it illegal to kill white and albino deer in chronic wasting disease zones.

Mike Richard / Contributed

Wisconsin residents may get a chance to weigh in on whether white and albino deer should get further protection under state law.

Sauk County residents upset over the killing of white deer during last year’s nine-day gun deer season plan to introduce a resolution to protect the animals Monday night. That’s when the state Department of Natural Resources hosts the annual spring fish and wildlife rules hearings and Conservation Congress county meetings.

“We’re going to introduce a proposal to have them protected,” said town of Leland resident Amy Sprecher, a founding member of Protect the Rare White Deer. “If it passes Sauk County, it’ll go to next level.”

Some residents of Leland and the surrounding communities have grown attached to a small population of white and albino deer that inhabit the area.

The new advocacy group to which Sprecher belongs says out-of-town hunters have killed three of those deer in the last five years. Local residents have said they had an understanding with many local hunters that the rare deer should be left alone. The group now has a website with an online petition at http://protectthewhitedeer.com.

State law already prohibits the killing of true albino deer. However, the rule does not apply in chronic wasting disease zones, because the state Department of Natural Resources says albino deer are just as likely as others to transmit the illness.

Sprecher said meetings also have occurred between white deer advocates and state lawmakers, and she is hopeful state Rep. Ed Brooks, R-Reedsburg, will author legislation to protect the Leland deer.

A representative from Brooks’ office said Tuesday legislation is possible, but not certain yet.

“We met with the DNR and discussed options,” said Terri Griffiths, who works in Brooks’ office. “At this time we are waiting on the Conservation Congress to determine how broad the support is for protection.”