False Evidence and Photos

For all of the well-intentioned people who eagerly await their turn to take the "perfect" picture of a Michigan cougar, there are also many jokers out there who want to put one over. Who knows why they do it - to pull a prank, to breed suspicion of actual evidence, or just because they're bored. If you receive emailed photos that you are not sure of, please send them to MCCR or the MWC and we will let you know whether you should send them on. If they are not Michigan cougars, please do not spread them without pointing out they are not from Michigan. If they are Michigan cougars, we'll be the first to give you a hooray and send them to everyone we know, too.

This is the hoax about Mark Bailey, Owner of IGA Food Store in Mesick, Michigan. He shot the cougar out of the tree with his gun after his dogs noticed it. He barely escaped with his life. Sorry, folks. There is no Mark Bailey at the IGA in Mesick. We believe these photos came from New Mexico somewhere.

Everyone was really excited when this woods-cam photo appeared. Imagine a woods-cam photo of a mother and two cubs right here in Michigan? How amazing and won't the DNR be impessed! It is a little too good to be true. We're unsure which state this came from, but it was definitely not Michigan. But maybe, some day, you just never know.

Here is an example of a photo that started legitimate and turned into something different. These pictures that circulated widely over the internet from email to email. In fact, some papers picked up on the story and rumor was that this cat was hit by a car in the northern lower peninsula. Boy, if you'd hit this guy, you'd sure know it. This cougar was actually shot somewhere out west and it just kept getting passed around as a hoax.

Here is an example of internet photos that started legitimate and turned into something different. These pictures of a cougar on someone's porch first appeared on the internet in March, 2006, and claim to come from the Yellowstone area. Then, someone emailed them to someone else with the original message about watching the cougar and their friend's children playing on the floor in Martin. The truth is that it is a town called Martin in a different State, NOT Martin, Michigan; but the emails seemed authentic and they kept circulating.

Here is an example of other photos that started legitimate and turned into something different. The photo on the left below was posted on the internet as being taken in Arkansas in 2003. The photo on the right below was portrayed as being taken in Wisconsin in October, 2004. In fact, a Green Bay television station ran it with great confidence. It was later determined that the photos were taken in Wyoming. If you look closely at the picture, you will notice this is a black-tail deer, not the normal Michigan white-tail deer. When you compare the wilderness in the background, it is easy to determine that they were both taken in the exact location - Arkansas, Wisconsin, Wyoming - who knows.