Mountain Lion Stalks Elk Hunter

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Mountain Lion Stalks Elk Hunter

Mountain Lion Stalking Hunter
Netlore Archive: Viral image purports to show a mountain lion (cougar) sneaking up behind a hunter posing with a freshly-downed elk in North Dakota. Unknown, circulating via email

Description: Viral image / Hoax
Circulating since: Oct. 2010
Status: Fake (see details below)

Text example:
Email contributed by Fred M., Nov. 2, 2010:

FW: spectator

This is freaking scary. As you know I was alone when I downed this elk in ND. I was using my camera’s timer attached to my shooting stick to give me enough time to get into the picture. I knew there were a lot of cats in the area but had no idea they would come in this close to people. He had to be within 10 feet of me and I didn’t even know it. I about crapped my pants when I looked at the pictures the next morning and saw he was there.

Analysis: False. Both the photo and the story are fabrications. If you look closely at the composite image, in which the light on the cougar clearly falls from a different direction than that on the hunter, it's easy to tell it was doctored. It was created by pasting part of a 2008 photograph of a cougar in California taken by self-styled "Camera Trap Codger" Chris Wemmer into another photo (origin unknown) of an elk hunter posing with his trophy kill.

Cougar lore:
The Cougar on the Porch (Photos)
• Mule Attacks Mountain Lion!
Cougar Sightings Aplenty

Sources and further reading:

On the Prowl
Camera Trap Codger blog, 27 February 2008

Hoax Photo of Alleged North Dakota Elk Hunter and Cougar Making the Rounds
Cougar News, 20 October 2010

Cougar Behind Elk Hunter Photo Making the Rounds
Lewiston Tribune Outdoors blog, 19 October 2010

Last updated 09/18/13