This is a joke, right?
That was my first thought as the images were shown on the television screen at the gym that I frequent. A sports talk show was on at the time and the following headline appeared:
Hunting Naked Women
A couple of images were shown of men in camouflage standing with guns over a naked woman on the grass. I thought it was some stupid beer commercial that they were talking about but, unfortunately, the volume was on mute and I didn't have my headphones on so I couldn't hear what they were saying. I continued on with my workout without giving it a second thought.
That is, until I got home later on that evening and started reading the newspaper. Somewhere on page 8, an article's headline read:
Naked women paintball targets
It would seem that somewhere in the Nevada desert, there is an organized game ("Hunting for Bambi") where men are paying between $5,000 and $10,000 to shoot naked women with paintball guns. There was a recent television interview with the main organizer, Michael Burdick, who explained that the game begins with the women stripping down to nothing more than their running shoes. The naked women then have to run around the course and collect four flags from various posts, all the while being shot at by men with paintball guns.
No protective gear, no facemasks, nothing. Naked. Target.
Now, Mr. Burdick says that there are rules whereby you are not to shoot the women on the chest, face, or other sensitive areas. However, rules are always broken. In fact, he goes on to say the following:
"The main goal is to be true to nature as possible. I don't go deer hunting and see a deer with a football helmet on, so I don't want to see one on my girl either."
Further to the interview, they also spoke to a participant by the name of George Evanthes. He said...
"We got a hit. It was sexy. Let's put it that way. As you can see, this is not lethal, and it wasn't meant to hurt anybody. Just good clean fun."
Now that the initial shock has subsided, it has now been revealed by the ever-diligent people at Snopes (www.snopes.com) that the whole thing was a hoax (sort of...more on that later).
It would seem that entertainment and journalism being what it is today, too many people fell for the story and just didn't bother to exercise any due diligence. First of all, the website for Hunting for Bambi was devoid of any contact information, save for an e-mail address. Contact through e-mail never received any responses.
Finally, the website only advertised a video for sale. Further to that, a spokesman for the company admitted that the venture was formed a year ago to sell hunting spoof videos.
Now, I did say "sort of a hoax". Well, it would seem that the video was first shown to some duped journalists as part of the elaborate hoax. When it turned out that there was genuine interest from some people, the perpetrators then decided that it may be a worthwhile venture to start. From that point on, further inquiries to the company resulted in the watering down of the original premise (eg. reduced velocity guns, women allowed to wear protective goggles), presumably to bring it all under the legal radar for possible execution.
Anyway, the bottom line is this: the whole thing was a hoax. End of story.