Maine Hunter Stunned to Discover His Moose Was Yellow From ‘Head to Toe’

by Craig Garrett
Werner LAYER / Contributor

Last week, Ryan Boucher of Greene had the best and worst experiences of his hunting life during Andover’s moose hunt. Boucher and his hunting party were overjoyed when he shot a bull on Tuesday, October 11th. This was during the second week of the season, reports WGME 13.

“It was an awesome experience,” recalled Boucher. He was finally granted a permit this year. “With the moose hunt, even the ones that I’ve been on before, there’s such highs and lows,” he explained. “We were on a high and we thought everything was great.”

The hide was different. That’s what Greg Provost discovered when he went to Sabattus Deer Processing to have a moose butchered, and it changed everything. “It was yellow all the way through, from head to toe,” recalled Boucher. The butcher was surprised to find that the bone marrow looked like yellow Jell-O, he explained. “It was the weirdest thing.”

“An extremely rare condition, given the thousands of moose harvested, skinned and butchered over the course of that time,” he explained. “The jaundiced condition of the moose is typically caused by either a breakdown of red blood cells and infusion of bilirubin throughout the animal as seen in the photo, or acute liver failure.”

Authorities advised the hunter not to eat the moose

Provost quickly realized that because he didn’t know what the animal was carrying, if he processed it there was a chance of contaminating other meat stored at his facility. He contacted the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the Maine Warden Service for guidance and both agencies recommended against consuming the animal. “I was a little disappointed, kind of bummed out, when I first found out I couldn’t eat it,” Boucher lamented.

All state officials agreed that the moose meat shouldn’t be consumed. “It is an extreme case, and as such, and out of an abundance of caution, we advised against the consumption of this moose,” Kantar explained. Boucher provided the state biologists with pictures of the moose. He also took them to where it had been killed. The liver, which they were most hoping to examine, was mostly gone by that time.

Ultimately, the hunter agreed with authorities

The main safety concerns about moose meat come from hunters not being able to properly cool the meat after they kill the animal. If meat is spoiled, it will smell bad and sometimes look greenish. Boucher agreed with the state officials’ decision about what to do with the moose. “The meat smelled fine and looked fine. It wasn’t spoiled,” Boucher said. Quickly extracting the moose and getting it on ice for transport is of utmost importance, he stresses. “It was just the skin and the bone marrow that was yellow.”

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife advises against consuming the liver or kidneys of moose. This is due to possible contamination with cadmium, a heavy metal. “I do appreciate them advising me against consumption before I fed my family,” he explained. 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.”