Fun Friday Forwards From Friends: Outdoor Fact or Outdoor Fiction?

Was that e-mail forward true...or an April Fool's?

posted on July 14, 2023

We all get them; the breathless e-mails forwarded to us by our friends and family with subject lines promising shocking content inside. Some of them sound reasonable enough, while others strain credulity. For this Fun Friday, let’s have a look at some of the e-mails that have made their way into our inboxes here at the NRA. Can you tell which is fact, and which is fiction? 

1. The e-mail forward says: This elk hunter set up his camera to take a picture with his wapiti...but look who's photobombing!

It's a photo that speaks to anyone who's hunted in predator country. What's more, it's quite common to hear that bears will move towards the sound of gunfire, hoping to catch an easy meal in the form of a hunter's discarded gut pile. But is this a real photo?

2. The e-mail forward says: Turkey hunter attacked by bobcat!
Hmm, this seems suspicious. Bobcats are largely nocturnal and crepuscular, and this still image appears to be in broad daylight. And would a 20-pound bobcat really attack a full-grown human being...let alone one who's armed? Is this e-mail from your buddy real, or a hoax?

3. The e-mail forward says: Chupacabra captured!
In spring 2014, a couple from Ratcliffe, Texas claimed to have captured a juvenile chupacabra. Chupacabras, like "Bigfoot" and "Nessie" are cryptids—e.g., animals whose existence has been suggested but never verified scientifically. Its Spanish name means "goatsucker," and refers to the chupacabra's reputed diet of the blood of livestock. Interestingly, this video of the cryptic critter hit the news right around the first of April. Hmmm...what do you think?

4.  The e-mail forward says: Chased by a grizzly!
The video starts peacefully enough: A young bicyclist is riding through the woods, recording his journey on a helmet-mounted GoPro camera. Suddenly, in his peripheral vision, a brown bear bursts out of the cover and begins to pursue him. The sound of the cyclist's breathing gets louder and louder as he pedals frantically down the path. It's one adrenaline-pumping video, all right—and grizzlies can and do attack humans. So is this video on the level, or is it a prank?

5. The e-mail forward says: Eagle almost kidnaps toddler!
It's a brief video, but it's heartstopping
. With its 6- to 7-foot wingspan, sharp talons and powerful flight, the golden eagle is a force to be reckoned with. Well known to prey on animals as large as goats and small deer, is it such a stretch to think that a golden eagle might key in on a human toddler as a potential meal? What do you think?

 6. The e-mail forward says: These goats just ain't right! 
This one definitely has to be a hoax. A female ibex and her two kids stroll casually across the vertical wall of a dam, occasionally stopping to lick salt off the rocks. Surely this is a trick of the camera angle, or an animation of some kind. Right?

Scroll down for the scoop: Are these hoaxes, or are they true?

Answer key:
  1. Hoax! According to, famed debunker of urban legends, that image is a Photoshop kluge of two real photosone by a hunter and one by a wildlife biologist. 
  2. It's true! This video from our friends at American Hunter depicts a Virginia turkey hunter's encounter with a very real (and very aggressive) bobcat.
  3. Hoax! Although the Texas couple definitely did catch and cage a real animal, the animal in question was a raccoon with mange. The goats are safe (for now).
  4. Hoax! As the Snopes website points outgrizzly bears are capable of speeds well in excess of what a person can do on a bicycle, especially in rough terrain. What's more, the video's creator has admitted that it was a hoax. (If you'd like to see a real grizzly charge, click here!)
  5. Thankfully, this one is a hoax, too. However, as with many of these e-mail forwards, a person could be forgiven for being fooled. After all, here's a video of a golden eagle killing a whitetail deer.
  6. It's true! Wild goats and sheep are blessed with elastic, rubbery surfaces to their hooves, as well as a strong sense of balance. It enables them to perform climbing feats that would make a primate blush.


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