Spectacular Story…Or Urban Legend?

Every so often I get one of those e-mails from a friend that makes me raise an eyebrow with that suspicious look of wonder.   You know what I mean…a spectacular story usually involving a couple of idiot hunters who made some poor decision while afield.   In most cases, I’ve determined, it’s a story that deserves a closer look.

Take, for instance, this story sent to me today by my buddy, Jeff.   Unless you’re some newbie to the Internet…I’d be surprised if you haven’t read some variation of this tale in your e-mail.   Take a read:

“Two hunters from Minnesota (true story). The story was heard on a radio program, a true report of an incident in Minnesota:
A guy buys a brand new Lincoln Navigator truck for $42,500 and has $560 monthly payments. He and a friend go duck hunting in winter, and of course all the lakes are frozen. These two guys go out on the lake with their guns, a dog, and of course the new vehicle.
They drive out onto the lake ice and get ready. Now, they want to make some kind of a natural landing area for the ducks, for the decoys to float on. In order to make a hole large enough to look like something a wandering duck would fly down and land on, it’s going to take a little more effort than an ice hole drill.
So, out of the back of the new Navigator truck comes a stick of dynamite with a short 40 second fuse. Now, these two rocket scientists do take into consideration that they want to place the stick of dynamite on the ice at a location far from where they, (and the new Navigator truck), are standing. They don’t want to take the risk of slipping on  the ice when they run from the burning fuse and possibly go up in smoke with the resulting blast.
They light the 40 second fuse and throw the dynamite. Remember a couple of paragraphs back when I mentioned the vehicle, the guns, and the dog??
Let’s talk about the dog: A highly trained Black Lab used for “RETRIEVING”.  Especially things thrown by the owner. You guessed it, the dog takes off at a high rate of doggy speed on the ice and captures the stick of dynamite with the burning 40 second fuse about the time it hits  the ice.
The two men yell, scream, wave their arms and wonder what to do now. The dog, cheered on, keeps coming. One of the guys grabs the shotgun and shoots the dog. The shotgun is loaded with #8 buckshot,  hardly big enough to stop a Black Lab. The dog stops for a moment,  slightly confused, but continues on.  Another shot and this time the dog, still standing, becomes really confused and of course terrified, thinking these two geniuses have gone insane.
The dog takes off to find cover, under the brand new Navigator truck. The men continue to yell as they run. The exhaust pipe on the truck is still hot, so the dog yelps and drops the dynamite under the truck, and takes off after his master.
Then –BOOM– the truck is blown to bits and sinks to the bottom of  the lake in a very large hole, leaving the two idiots standing there with this “I can’t believe this happened” look on their faces. 
The insurance company says that sinking a vehicle in a lake by illegal use of explosives is NOT covered. He still had yet to make the first of those $560 a month payments!!!”

Sounds spectacular, right?   Imagine…those idiots will be making payments on a new truck for four or more years and not have the pleasure of even driving it during that time.   Makes you feel much better about climbing into that ‘95 Suburban that looks like crap but has long since seen any loan payments, huh?   Well hold it there just a minute!!   If you believe this story then I have a self-guided snipe hunt out in the Dakotas I’d like to offer you.   Often things are not as they might be promoted on the Internet.   After all, we all know the lakes are almost always frozen enough during the Minnesota duck season to drive vehicles out on the ice…who needs a boat!!??   Yea, right!

Whenever I hear a spectacular Internet claim my first stop is to www.snopes.com to verify if the statement is fact or fallacy.   Check it out.   You can read hundreds of Internet claims that are often de-bunked as a wild stretch of the imagination.   Far too often people put too much credence into what they read on the Internet, so don’t be one of those who gets constantly fooled into thinking a story is real just because you read it.   More importantly, don’t be one of those e-mailers who gets caught forwarding a piece of fiction without first properly checking it out for validity.

There are enough humorous stories that have happened to outdoor enthusiasts without making them up or sensationalizing them.   I just happen to believe a story is that much better when I know it happened for real and not in someone’s imagination.   Heck, it’s another two months away until April Fool’s day.

© 2006 Jim Braaten.  All Rights Reserved.   No Reproduction without Prior Permission.