We’re in the middle of moose hunting season in some states, but don’t expect to see any of the animals driving down the road with a man strapped to the roof.
“This actually happened,” begins an Aug. 29 Facebook post showing a photo of three moose heads poking out truck windows and a man in hunting gear tied down overhead.
“They tied the guy on the roof. The driver and passengers put on moose heads. Then they went down road I-35…. causing 16 accidents. Yes; they went to jail.. Yes; alcohol was involved… Yes; men cannot be left alone.”
This post, which has been shared more than 24,000 times, was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
Because this actually did not happen.
Interstate 35 spans the country from Texas to Minnesota but the booze-fueled, predator-becomes-prey chaos described in the Facebook post would have likely made national news, and most certainly warranted local attention. And yet, the top search results are posts debunking this tall tale. Back in 2016, it was even wilder: this imgur.com post claims they also killed three people and that charges were pressed against the woman who left them unattended. In 2011, it didn’t even happen on Interstate 35 — it happened in Maine.
People were sharing this tale via email and on hunting message boards, according to Minnesota newspaper the Pioneer Press: “This actually happened with some guys from Maine. They dressed the truck up with the guy dummy spread eagle on the roof of the truck. The drivers and passengers put on moose heads. Down the Maine Toll interstate they went causing about 16 accidents. They went to jail.”
“Great story and completely bogus,” a spokesman for the Maine State Police then told the paper.
The men were injured when the animal turned and attacked, leaving one of them in critical condition. A debate over hunting has continued to gain momentum in France due to the high number of humans being killed.
Two hunters were injured in the western French region of Loire-Atlantique on Wednesday when the wild boar they were hunting turned and attacked them. One of the men was rushed to hospital for treatment and remains in critical condition. The animal is said to have weighed 100 kilos (220 pounds).
Wild boar are known as ferocious creatures made all the more dangerous by their swiftness, low center of gravity, muscular shoulders and sharp tusks — which they can use to tear open a hunter’s leg, causing severe bleeding.
The incident was the latest in an ongoing series of serious hunting accidents in France. The frequency and severity of those accidents has sparked fierce debate over hunting practices in the country. Critics point to lax laws governing the sport as well as the ease with which a license can be obtained.
France’s national hunting and wildlife agency ONCFS said that about 115 people had been injured in hunting accidents as of June 1, 2018. The agency said that roughly 85 percent of those injured were hunters and that 13 people had died from their injuries. Three of the deceased were not hunters.
Not just animals being killed
The grim statistic rose last weekend when a 34-year-old Welsh mountain biker living in France was shot in the chest while riding on a well-marked trail in the French Alps. The man, Marc Sutton, died from his injuries. The 22-year-old who shot him was hospitalized for shock and may face charges for aggravated manslaughter.
Two weeks ago another man in the same region was sentenced to one year in jail after being convicted of accidentally killing a runner with a single bullet to the head. Critics have demanded tighter regulations on hunting in populated areas or those popular with non-hunting outdoor enthusiasts.
Controversial outside France as well
Hunting is not only a controversial topic in France. Recently an American TV host drew anger from residents in Scotland after she posted several pictures of herself with animals that she shot and killed across the country, among them, a wild goat on the island of Islay.
Local Parliamentarian Michael Russel responded to Larysa Switlk’s post by condemning the practice of hunting goats in Scotland, calling for it to be “stopped immediately.” He specifically criticized tourism companies offering hunters the chance to stalk and kill wild goats, which others call an invasive species.
Maryland (AP) – A waterfowl hunter is in stable condition after a dead goose fell from the sky and knocked him unconscious.
Robert Meilhammer of Dorchester County was hunting with three other people when one of them fired at a flock of Canada geese overhead in Easton, near the Miles River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
Maryland Natural Resources Police spokeswoman Candy Thomson said a falling goose hit Meilhammer, knocking him out and causing head and facial injuries.
The Washington Post reports that when he came to, he knew who he was, but “little else,” [not unusual for a hunter].
Joshua Hayden, 19, was out with his brother when the animal attacked Handout
A hunter who had a kangaroo in his gun’s crosshairs had his jaw broken when the animal launched a pre-emptive strike.
The pair initially spotted three kangaroos, but one disappeared and the teenager put his head out of the window of the moving car to target the other two.
The animal that had vanished then reappeared, charged at the car and attacked, reports said.
“It actually collided with the side of the car and smashed the front window,” Mr Hayden told ABC. “Then it bounced back onto me and headbutted me straight in the jaw.”
He said he believed he was unconscious for about 30 seconds after being hit.
“I woke up and my brother was trying to tell me what happened,” he said. He assumed his brother had hit him.
After going to local hospitals at Northam and Kellerberrin – 125 miles east of Perth – he was referred to the Royal Perth Hospital.
Doctors there said he would have to wait 10 days to allow the swelling to go down before surgery. A photograph showed him with a black eye swollen shut.
The brothers said they often go hunting for kangaroos but have never before witnessed the animals fighting back.
Experts say kangaroos are normally peaceful animals that rarely attack. This might happen if they feel threatened, behaviourists say.
A year ago a woman former body-builder was attacked by a kangaroo that “threw her around like a rag doll”. She needed surgery for her injuries.
British animal-rights group Viva! has branded the hunting of kangaroo for meat in Australia “the largest massacre of land-based wild animals on the planet today“.
Police are investigating if a man killed and eaten by a pride of lions at a private game reserve in South Africa was a poacher who had been hunting big cats.
His screams for help raised the alarm but the lions quickly killed the man and devoured most of his body before being chased off.
The head was left untouched and is the only means available to police of identifying the man who was carrying no documents.
It comes just months after poacher Luteni Muhararukua was charged and killed by a rhino he was hunting for its horn in nearby Namibia.
At first police thought the dead man was a tractor driver who worked at the game reserve but when he turned up alive realised it may be a poacher.
A hunting rifle was found close to what was left of the blood drenched body which police believe belonged to the victim of the lions.
Police in Limpopo have called in the Department of Home Affairs to help them to try to find out who the dead man is.
Police Lieutenant-Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe said: “The person who who we first thought it was believed to be an employee who was driving a tractor.
“It was thought his tractor broke down and the lions got him as he walked back to the compound but he was found to be alive.
“The process of identifying this body has already commenced and it might be made easier as his head was amongst the remains found at the scene”.
Mr Ngoepe confirmed police were investigating the possibility the deceased might have been a poacher after a hunting rifle was found near the scene.
Lions kill up to 250 people a year in Africa and a male weighs 190kg and a female 130kg and they can ran at over 80kph and there are less than 20000 left in the wild in Africa.
Their bones are worth a small fortune in the Far East with a skeleton fetching up to £7000 and the skin £3000 teeth can fetch £500 each.
Their bones have become highly prized in the the Far East as tiger bones are becoming rarer and rear with their threat of extinction.
The lions attacked the suspected poacher at the Ingwelala Private Nature Reserve in Hoedspruit outside Phalaborwa.
The owner of the reserve, who identified himself as Josh, said he was told not to speak to the media because the police investigation was still under way.
A local worker, who works at a nearby nature reserve, described the area as lion territory and added:”The head was still there but the lions had eaten most of the rest.
“A scream was heard and the lions were scattered by the sound of gunshots but it was too late to do anything for him. He was eaten”.
The African Pachyderm Organisation stunned conservationists by ending a long-standing moratorium on the crushing of rich tossers who think slaughtering rare wildlife somehow makes up for the loveless pantomime that is their life.
Tembo, a Tanzanian bull elephant and PR director for the APO, denied the move was linked to the steady increase of privileged bellends called Troy or Donald Jr going to Africa and pretending that shooting a large animal from the safety of a Land Rover is a life-affirming experience.
He explained, “We are doing it to enhance the ecological health of the Rich Prick subspecies, particularly in America.
“They have been too long removed from having to fend for themselves and the degeneracy is showing. We are seeing highly aggressive behaviour combined with physical cowardice and horrendous mating habits based on intimidation and humiliation. A cull is long overdue.”
Tembo also denied the unrestricted squishing of narcissist wankers emulating Hemingway would hurt the tourist trade in already impoverished countries.
He went on, “Quite the opposite. The end of restrictions will mean great windfalls for local communities.
“The APO is fully committed to the principles of Sustainable Squishing. Our crushers work with rural humans to track and bait the trigger-happy fuckwits with promises of macabre selfies next to dead apex predators.
“Tribal elders are always consulted to help select the most egregious gun-nuts for a good trampling.
“The locals take all the spoils and a share of the squishing fee. Did you know that the personal effects of a Florida orthodontist can buy a whole new schoolhouse for a Zambian village?”
According to Google Dictionary, karma is a belief based in Hinduism and Buddhism that says a person’s actions dictate their future. It’s also a term that a number of animal lovers have been using to describe the following story.
According to Safari Club Italy (of which Ponzetto was a member), the photos were originally posted to the club’s Facebook page to showcase the winners of its annual Chapter Trophy Award competition— a competition in which Ponzetto had won a 3rd place prize.
The Sun also quoted him as saying, “I am being criticized by people who do not know me. I have always loved my work and I have always loved animals… I will carry on hunting until the law changes.”
But Luciano no longer hunts. It isn’t because the laws have been changed, however— it’s because he died in a manner that many are calling an act of karmic retribution.
According to sources, prior to the incident, Ponzetto had recently returned from Canada and had bragged about catching a number of kills. An Italian spokesperson (via The Sun) said, “His body was recovered by helicopter and taken to a local hospital… He died instantly and there was nothing that could be done.”
Now, I’m not one to talk ill of the dead, but I can say that the news of Ponzetto’s death received very little sympathy. As mentioned, people considered the circumstances ironic, believing the hunter had finally paid the price for his hunting ways.
Aparty of successful out-of-state hunters left Alaska earlier this year with bear meat – and a load of parasites.
The incident is a good reminder that the trichinellosis roundworm is widespread in bears and meat needs to be thoroughly cooked, said Dr. Louisa Castrodale, an epidemiologist and veterinarian with the Alaska Department of Health. She said the group of friends became sick after they returned home.
“They all came up to hunt, from four different states, and after they got home they started emailing back and forth, ‘Are you sick? I’m sick.’ They figured it out,” Castrodale said. “One person from Washington had some meat and had the Washington Health Department test it, and it was positive.”
She said the hunters cooked hunks of meat over their campfire. “Like any meat, you want to get it up over a certain temperature and thoroughly cook the whole thing,” she said. “Over a fire it’s hard to say if it’s evenly cooked.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wild game meat like bear should reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees and rest at that temperature for three minutes. Curing, salting, drying, smoking, or microwaving does not consistently kill the worms, and homemade jerky and sausage were the cause of many cases of trichinellosis reported to CDC in recent years.
That’s true in Alaska. Dr. Kimberlee Beckmen, the veterinarian for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, said curing methods that don’t kill the parasites, such as drying or smoking, and inadequate cooking, like slow cooking in a crock pot, cause most of the cases she knows of in Alaska.
“People should always assume bear meat is infected,” she said. “It must be cooked, 100 percent of the time. You can’t see the larvae, they’re microscopic.”
Trichinellosis, also called trichinosis, is the disease caused by a nematode, a tiny worm with an adult and larval form. Trichinella is the genus, and spiralis is the species most adapted to domestic pigs. T. nativa is the species found in Alaska’s bears. It’s a much tougher bug. Freezing will kill spiralis, freezing doesn’t kill the northern variety, nativa.
Beckmen cited a study where infected polar bear meat was frozen at minus 18 degrees centigrade for six years and the parasites were still viable; and another where fox meat frozen for four years was still laden with living larvae, ready to infect a new host. “It’s arctic adapted to freezing,” she said. “For Trichinella to spread, it has to be consumed by another carnivore. It can survive for a very long time in a carcass that is frozen. It wants to be consumed by another potential host later. It’s biding its time.”
Trichinella nativa is found in carnivores such as wolves, foxes, lynx and coyotes, and walrus and seals as well. So how do carnivores live with this parasite?
“It’s a parasite that evolved along with the hosts, carnivores and scavengers, so bears and lynx are adapted to living with it,” Beckmen said. “It affects us more severely because we’re not typically exposed to it. Some animals may develop muscle edema and pain, and I’m sure some animals suffer more problems than others depending on the number of larvae they consume.”
Parasites in general don’t cause severe symptoms in the species they’re evolved for, she said. Parasites and their hosts evolve together, and it rarely benefits the parasite to kill its host. “Wildlife having parasites is a normal state, and doesn’t usually cause problems unless the animal is sick from some other reason or stressed.”
But that’s not the case when the parasite jumps to a different species. In part because the parasite can’t complete its usual life cycle, it gets confused and ends up in the wrong part of the body, like the eyes instead of the gut.
“It’s not meant to be in us, we react severely,” Beckmen said. “Like the roundworm of dogs, which causes blindness and brain inflation in children. In people it may migrate throughout the body, it goes to the brain or the eyes, in a dog, it goes to intestine and lives there on the contents.”
Trichinellosis rarely kills people, but it can cause severe pain, swelling and inflammation. Castrodale said initial symptoms result from the adult parasites in the intestinal tract and include diarrhea. She added that the initial symptoms can be mild and may not even really register. Over the course of the next few weeks the larvae migrate to muscles and establish themselves, which results in fever, muscle pain, weakness, and sometimes swelling around the skin of the eyes. “That’s when people realize something is up, they’re sick,” she said.
The CDC reports that trichinellosis is rare, and about 20 cases a year are reported. Rare, but Castrodale said this isn’t the first time a situation like this has occurred. “People will call from out of state and describe their symptoms and we’ll ask, ‘Did you eat bear meat?’ If you have those muscle pains and walk into clinic in Lower 48 they won’t necessarily think to ask about it.”
Prompt treatment with deworming drugs will kill the adults, but once larvae are established in muscle tissue, usually three or four weeks after infection, they’re much less vulnerable to the drug. The CDC reports that the host immune response leads to expulsion of the adult worms after several weeks; the larvae, once in muscle, can persist for months or years, although symptoms typically wane after several months.
“Treatment might include a steroid to calm the immune response and address the inflammation,” Castrodale said. “Eventually people get over it, it runs its course. You still have them, but they stop migrating, they’re walled off and encysted.”
How prevalent is this parasite in Alaska’s wild carnivores?
Beckmen looked at tissue samples from bears and wolves killed in the state predator control program. She’s also sampled bears killed in Defense of Life and Property (DLP) and sampled coyotes, lynx and walrus. She said the tongue and diaphragm will have most larvae. Lynx, coyotes, foxes and wolves have a very high rate of infection, but since people don’t generally eat those animals that’s not well known.
“The prevalence rate in black bears is higher the further north you go, and polar bears are 100 percent infected,” she said.
She added that another parasitic disease, toxoplasmosis, is also prevalent in wild game in northern Alaska and she cautions people against eating raw meat from caribou or marine mammals.
Pregnant women should especially abstain, as toxoplasmosis can be damaging or fatal to a developing fetus. Small children are also at risk.
“It’s better to cook the meat,” she said.
More on wildlife diseases that hunters might encounter