Is Hunting for Bambi gathering bucks?

Anyone who has watched Fox News or MSNBC in the last week has probably been introduced to what is being called “the latest craze” in Sin City: Hunting for Bambi.

No, we’re not talking about deer – we’re talking about naked women and paintball guns.

Hyped in the Las Vegas media and subsequently picked up by most of the major media, Real Men Productions Inc. has just begun its 15 minutes of fame. And, if we’re lucky, it might already be over.

In this twisted, grotesque hunting adventure, according to the Web site, men are offered the chance to dress up in full camouflage gear and “hunt” women dressed only in tennis shoes with paintballs. The package supposedly includes round-trip airfare, lodging for three days and four nights, meals, and a video for only $10,000.

The women, for their part, are generally paid between $1,000 and $2,500, the higher paid women being those who avoid getting shot.

“From tracking down women with dogs to chasing after them with a real armored tank. We make ‘Bum Fights’ look like kids’ play. These images will shock you for life!” the Web site says. They’re right.

The Web site, I should warn you, is not for the faint of heart. While not the most impressive on the Internet, the images and language used are offensive to the senses of any reasonable person.

The photos on the site tell a mortifying story: One shows a “hunter” holding a seemingly limp woman up from behind for the camera, while another shows a seemingly lifeless woman lying on the ground, a “hunter” kneeling over her, with a red substance (presumably paint) all over her face.

The company boasts that sport hunters can find “the ultimate adrenaline rush” by choosing from more than 30 Bambis “ready to be chased down and shot like dogs,” from the “Perfect 10” to “the girl next door.” All you need to do is click on the BambiDolls link to see the selection, which ranges from a 21-year-old named Erin (conveniently photographed in front of an angel painting) to a male-to-female transsexual named Amy Marie.

If you can’t manage to scrounge together $10,000, don’t be discouraged. You can purchase a video of the hunt and live vicariously through the wealthy men on the tape, or just a “Hunting for Bambi” mesh hat to promote the game.

This might be where Real Men Productions Inc. could be in trouble. You see, before the company began promoting the “hunt” for anyone to participate in, it sold the videos of the hunt. And many (including myself) have begun to question the legitimacy of the recent media attention.

While there is a link on the Web site to book a “hunt,” most of the attention is devoted to the sale of the video and merchandise, or connecting visitors with the girls, who are reportedly Nevada escorts. When visitors click on the name of each girl, they are shown what appears to be an ad for some type of escort service, but it is certainly not aimed at “hunters.” The ads even give out direct phone numbers for the girls, so that the “gentlemen” can contact her directly.

In addition, one local television reporter, who visited the purported site of the “hunt” and watched at least one video, claims that the sites do not appear to be the same.

Hoax Web sites, and have all labeled this story as a fib, citing the lack of contact information on the site, a consistently changing story on the company’s operations and the fact that actual “kills” are always done off-camera, just out of range.

They also reference, as some television news broadcasts have also done, that the only “hunter” interviewed for the original news segment is reportedly anything but wealthy and is in the “same business” as Real Men Productions.

Finally, for a company that charges $10,000 for its services and has a (pathetic) selection of merchandise for sale, its Web site sucks. You would think that if as many “hunts” had taken place as they claimed (18 or 20, depending on which interview you watch) they could afford to hire a professional Web designer, or at the very least a proofreader to check for complete sentences.

Whether this turns out to be a hoax, a manipulative marketing tactic used by greedy men or a real “sport,” what does it say about the state of society when hunting women for fun can be marketed to men and they respond – in spades?

Fortunately, whether it is because the company cannot live up to its promises, the whole thing is a fake or because its business documents claimed it do not sell “pornographic” materials, Hunting for Bambi will likely soon be history.

But I fear we will see it again and again, as long as it is even remotely socially acceptable or entertaining to think of women as dogs, as objects, as prey.