Maine hunter shocked to find his moose was "yellow all the way through"
Wildlife officials said the cause of extreme jaundice was very rare, and advised against butchering the animal
A hunter from Greene, Maine, was alarmed when he found that a moose he shot last week was bright yellow underneath its hide, with bone marrow that had "the texture of Jell-o"
As 13 WGME (opens in new tab) reports, Ryan Boucher was pleased with his moose until he brought it to Sabattus Deer Processing for butchering, and butcher Greg Provost began removing the animal's hide.
“It was yellow all the way through, from head to toe,” said Boucher. “It was the weirdest thing.”
The yellow coloring is a condition known as jaundice, which It affects the skin, sclera (whites of the eyes), and mucous membranes. It's caused by a chemical called bilirubin, which has a yellow pigmenent. As Cleveland Clinic (opens in new tab) explains, excess bilirubin can have many causes, including autoimmune disorders, viruses, rare genetic defects, and gallstones.
Provost couldn't say why the moose was so jaundiced, and immediately stopped work to avoid contaminating other animals in the facility. He and Boucher then contacted the Maine Warden Service and Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife for advice.
Lee Kantar, moose biologist for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, said it was rare to see jaundice in the animals, and it suggested either a breakdown of red blood cells or acute liver failure. Unfortunately there was very little left of the animal's organs for him to examine, so he was unable to say for certain.
State officials agreed that the moose shouldn't be eaten, which left Boucher "kind of bummed out". The warden service offered him another hunting permit, but due to bad weather and his friends already having left, he opted to accept meat from another moose that had been hunted illegally instead.
“I do appreciate them advising me against consumption before I fed my family,” said Boucher, “but hopefully with others seeing this it can inform them of something to look for in the future. And hopefully there aren’t any more cases.”
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Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 13 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better).