'Hunting For Bambi' Not A Hoax


| July 2003


Men are running around Las Vegas shooting naked women for their 'racks,' and I'm trapped like a deer in headlights, still trying to make heads or tails of the whole torrid affair. Two weeks ago, CBS affiliate KLAS-TV in Nevada, aired a four-part series about a new form of adult entertainment called 'Hunting For Bambi,' in which men pay thousands of dollars to shoot paintballs at women wearing nothing but their tennis shoes. The hunted receive $1,000 if they get shot, or $2,500 if they can run for a full hour without getting hit. Each client receives a commemorative video of the game.

Understandably, the public response to this controversy has been overwhelming. Both the National Organization of Women and the Nevada Coalition Against Sexual Violence have condemned the so-called sport. Las Vegas Mayor, Oscar Goodman has vowed to put Real Men Outdoor Productions out of business. Even major corporations have taken action. Brass Eagle, a leading paintball manufacturer, issued a press release warning that nude paintball could result in 'significant bodily injury' as well as 'serious eye injury, including blindness.' According to Seattle Post-Intelligencer columnist Susan Paynter, The Disney Company 'is said to be pondering a suit over the use of the name Bambi.'

Meanwhile, skeptics have deemed the KLAS report a hoax to sell 'Hunting For Bambi' videos.

Although my initial, visceral reaction was to be outraged by this game, it has been difficult for me to discern exactly why. Clearly, this is one of the most blatant examples of violence against women ever reported. Yet, I'm uncertain whether this is an open and shut case of misogyny or a typical example of just how far someone will go to make a buck. It seems everyone else has chosen their position on this issue: the Internet is littered with chatroom banter supporting and opposing the game, for every possible reason imaginable. (My personal favorite: 'This is just a bunch of jackasses giving paintball a bad name.') While one male co-worker laughed at the obvious attempt to get a rise out of the public, another was horrified by the news footage she saw of the injury a woman sustained when a hunter shot her in the posterior.

The more I researched the story, the grayer the issue became. So I went straight to Michael Burdick, founder of Real Men Outdoor Productions, to uncover whether or not 'Hunting For Bambi' is a hoax, and to procure a better understanding of his motivations for creating it.

Upon calling him at a phone number posted in the Museum of Hoaxes chatroom, I was surprised to discover that Mr. Burdick was open to answering my questions. Mr. Burdick confirmed that he initially produced the film 'Hunting For Bambi' to make extra cash by combining his loves of hunting and women. After marketing the film on the Internet six weeks ago, he attests, both men and women spontaneously contacted him to express their interest in joining a real-life hunt. 'Society created this product,' he said.