David Frizzell was driving home from work when he spotted something he had never seen before.
He saw a white moose just off of Highway 21 between his home in Stettler and workplace in Red Deer on March 28.
“I drove by it, turned around and pulled into an approach,” Frizzell described.
“I walked down the road and got some pictures and video. I was going to leave but I thought, ‘I’ll never see this again.’ So I hung around for about half an hour to take it all in. I was probably 60 or 70 yards away from the animal itself.”
Frizzell, a longtime hunter, said he has seen an albino deer once before as well.
“But that was off in the distance. There wasn’t a great opportunity for video or pictures,” he said.
“I enjoy being out in nature. I’ve got little kids that hope to get into it too. I’ve seen a lot of things from spending a lot of time in the woods and have had some cool encounters. But nothing like this.”
Frizzell doesn’t have social media himself, but he showed the photos to people at his workplace.
“I later found out they shared photos on our social media. Then I started getting calls about it, so I had to jump on my wife’s social media account to see what was going on,” he said with a laugh.
Ron Bjorge, who was the regional wildlife biologist for the Red Deer area for more than 20 years and was the former executive director of wildlife management for Alberta Sustainable Resource Development, said albino moose sightings are quite rare.
“I’ve looked at thousands of moose in the area and I’ve never seen an albino moose,” said Bjorge, who retired in 2016.
“But I have heard of them being seen before. In doing aerial wildlife inventories for the province for years, I never saw one. This fall, I did receive two pictures of albino moose in the Joffre area. I’m not sure if those are the same moose.”
The moose Frizzell spotted doesn’t appear to be a pure albino, Bjorge noted.
“Albinos would have no colour pigmentation at all and they would most likely have red eyes. This one has got some colouration in it as far as I can see,” he said.
“But any way you’re looking at it, it is very uncommon to see a moose of that colouration.”