GUEYDAN - Justin Guidry did not know it at the time but one of his four teal ducks he killed over the weekend in Gueydan turned out to be a trophy kill.
Guidry of Erath was hunting with his father, James and brothers Tyler and Donavan when he aimed his 12-gauge shot gun at a couple of teal flying over.
Guidry knocked one down and he sent his dog to fetch it. When the dog returned with the bird, he noticed something different about the duck. It was all white – something he, and relatively few other hunters, has never seen before. But he knew the kill was special.
“We did the happy dance,” said Justin. “Everyone was telling me how rare it was.”
Hunters will go their entire life without seeing a white duck, let alone killing one.
Larry Reynolds of the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries said, “There are 80,000 people hunting teal, and I will get at least one or two pictures of someone killing a white teal. It is rare. I will see it twice a year.
“It is a trophy.”
Guidry will mount the duck and display it on his wall.
The reason the duck is white, according to Kori Legleu, a biologist for the Wildlife and Fisheries, is because of a gene defect. Legleu said this teal never received the gene for colored feathers.
The scientific name for the duck’s condition is called “Leucism.”
Leucism is an abnormal plumage condition caused by a genetic mutation that prevents pigment, particularly melanin, from being properly deposited on a bird’s feathers.
“Most of them do not survive that long because they are white,” said Legleu. “It is easy to see a small white bird in the wild.”
Reynolds said the white teal probably came from North or South Dakota and many do not make it this far south because they are killed by hunters or other animals.