July 25, 2003 04:18am
Naked "Bambi" Hunts Prompt Protest
by: Steve Friess
(LAS VEGAS, NV) -- Outraged by a Las Vegas company that claims to offer men a chance to stalk and shoot naked women in the Nevada desert with paintball guns, women's groups and government agencies are scrambling to find a way to shut down such "Bambi" hunts.
"As soon as I found out about this, I called for an investigation," Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman said. "Las Vegas is a place where anything goes, but this crosses the line if this is real."
Real Men Outdoor Productions, insists it is doing nothing illegal and only providing another variety of adult entertainment in a city celebrated for sin.
But critics, some of whom maintain that the hunts may be a hoax to drum up publicity for sales of a "Hunting for Bambi" video, say it should be shut down.
The company has a Las Vegas business license to sell a $20 video of hunters chasing nude women through the woods as a spoof on hunting videos that feature men hunting deer.
That video was staged, Real Men spokesman David Krekelberg said, but it gave rise to the idea of hosting hunts with paintball guns and charging men $10,000 for such weekend tours.
Krekelberg said the company has so far hosted 18 "Bambi" hunts in undisclosed locations around Las Vegas. In each, a hunter faces off with two women dressed in nothing but sneakers, each of whom receive $1,000 and can earn up to $2,500 if they make it through the hour without being struck by the paintball, he said.
But Jodi Tyson, director of the Nevada Coalition Against Sexual Violence called the "Bambi" hunts offensive, dangerous and exploitative.
The world's largest paintball products maker, Brass Eagle, has also protested the hunts.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (news - web sites) is also looking into speculation that the hunts have taken place without permits on public property. About 90 percent of Nevada is owned by the federal government.
"In our patrol of the lands, if they're out there without a permit and we find them, we would cite them," Blm spokeswoman Jo Simpson said.
Krekelberg denied that any of the hunts had occurred on federal property, saying only that they occur on private estates in southern Nevada. He refused to say where out of fear of sabotage, noting that "there are nuts out there who would come in and throw a wrench in there."
He also asserted the women were not being mistreated, noting that they can wear goggles and helmets for protection if they wish.