Rare Trophy Taken: Vermont Hunters Bag Albino Moose

Posted by admin On October - 27 - 2010

Imagine the shock a couple of hunters got last week when they were in Vermont for the annual moose hunt and found themselves staring through the scope at an all-white bull moose. That shock was probably doubled for the workers at the Island Pond check-in station last Wednesday when the hunters, who did not want to be identified, brought the moose in to be checked.

“I believe it had pink eyes,” said Cedric Alexander, the moose project leader for the state Fish and Wildlife Department, during an interview with the Burlington Free Press. “It appears to be a true albino.”

While Alexander didn’t lay eyes on this rare trophy himself, he did speak to a biologist who had and has seen photos of the bull, which was reportedly taken near the town of Norton. The bull weighed in at 744 pounds and was thought to be about two years old.

The idea of a white moose is nothing new to the Fish and Wildlife department.

“We’ve had sightings and photos of white moose in Essex County over the last four years,” Alexander said. Sightings have included a cow and bull, he added.

A white moose is rare throughout the world, but in the northeast states is even more so, said Jed Murdoch, a wildlife biologist at the University of Vermont.

“Albinism–or the lack of pigmentation in the hair, skin and eyes due to a defect in melanin production–occurs rarely in mammals,” said Murdoch. “It has been reported in moose elsewhere, but few records of albino, white, or partially white moose exist for the northeastern United States.”

Moose-hunting is by permit only in Vermont. This year 765 moose-hunting-permit winners were drawn from the more than 12,000 people who applied. Five permits were sold in an auction that raised $21,976.

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