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White deer bus tours to end at former Seneca Army Depot

Seneca White Deer, Inc.

One of Seneca County’s better-known attractions, the white deer at the former Seneca Army Depot will no longer be part of the bus tours that started a couple of years ago.

The former U.S. Army munitions facility which closed in the 1990s has an unusual type of deer roaming that property: white deer. They are not albino deer, but apparently carry a recessive gene which causes the lack of pigmentation.

The deer have always garnered interest by tourists and two years ago a conservation and tourism group called Seneca White Deer began offering regular bus tours through the property.

But Dennis Money, the president of the group and its lead conservationist said they have been losing money so the final day of the tours will be December 29. He says that in terms of attendance for the tours, "The numbers did not meet our expectations and we also didn't think about the wintertime months and so it was a learning curve for us as a new business.” 

But he said this effort has been helpful in bringing attention to the deer and to wildlife conservation.

“When you see the smiles on a 6 year old kid and a 60 year old person after  they’ve seen a white deer or a Blue Heron or a bald eagle at the Depot, you know you’ve made an impression,” Money said.

Money said the white deer tours brought people from all over the world to Seneca County. The deer were featured last year on the program CBS Sunday Morning.

Despite the tours ending, Money said conservation efforts to protect the deer and their habitat will continue. 

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's Director of News and Public Affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.