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Well kinda. Ben Dickinson filmed First Winter, a post-apocalyptic tale of urban hipsters who are forced to channel their suppressed, inner Dan’l Boone and live off the land when the excrement comes in contact with the air moving machinery. “The film begins with eight Brooklynites on a yoga retreat whose power and cellphone reception are cut off. Assuming the disruption is momentary, the group continues their drug use and sexual romps — until their food supply begins to run low, and a search party does not return.” That’s when the film’s characters decide to kill a deer for a little protein. And what’s more realistic, film-wise, than actually killing a deer? That way, you don’t need all those expensive special effects or gallons of fake blood. Only one problem . . .

They were filming in February – outside of deer season – and thus didn’t have a permit.

“We are idiots. We didn’t know how to do this [hunting] stuff,” said director Ben Dickinson, whose film is scheduled to premiere at the prestigious festival on Thursday April 19.

“There were so many deer weak from the winter and getting eaten by local dogs we didn’t even think about it,” Dickinson said. describes how they managed to bag Bambi:

The crew was practicing yoga inside the farm’s main house one day when someone spotted a herd of deer in the neighboring field. They grabbed a rifle and camera and ran outside, Dickinson said.

Actor Paul Manza, a 34-year-old Brooklyn yoga instructor who plays “Paul” the yoga instructor in the film and had no prior acting or hunting experience, pulled the trigger. It was unclear who owned the rifle or whether it was registered.

The bullet pierced one deer and passed into a second one behind it, killing the first deer and wounding the second one, Manza and Dickinson said. The crew chased the second deer into the woods and shot it again to put it out of its suffering, Manza said.

“It was actually pretty horrible,” said Manza. “I was forced to see what life was really made of, the weight and the value of things.”

The crew skinned one of the carcasses, cut it up, and cooked it over an open fire — all in front of the camera.

“It was amazing to eat that meat and really feel the spirit of the animal,” Manza said. “It gave me a different relationship to eating animals and animal products.”

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is looking into the illegal kill. Documenting what happened obviously won’t be much of a problem. Killing deer out of season – sometimes known as poaching – carries a potential fine and up to a year in prison.

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  1. We need stronger camera control! Without that camera, they never would have been tempted to make a film, and those two poor defenseless animals would still be alive today.

  2. In many states, if you are caught poaching, everything used to take the deer can be confiscated. That includes the firearm, ammo, and everything in the vehicle, including the vehicle.

    If NY has that law, I would saw that not only the gun and vehicle, but also everything having to deal with the filming as the film was used to facilitate in taking of the deer.

  3. “It was amazing to eat that meat and really feel the spirit of the animal”

    And afterwards they all held hands and sung Kumbaya while burning some patchouli oil and contemplating their navels.

    • LMAO took the words right out of my mouth!
      How dare they kill bambi!!! I am going to grab my AK and go all postal on them lol
      Hey at least they ate it…. Dang it I could have frozen it and it would have fed my family for at least a week or two 🙂

  4. I give these guys credit, because most New Yorkers I know would have been way too squeamish to off the deer themselves.

    Also, while I don’t think anyone should be above the law, I’d really question doing much more than fining them. They were stupid and ignorant, no one got hurt, and it’s not like they wasted the deer.

    • New York homes some of the most avid hunters in North America.

      …Oh wait – NYC. Nevermind

      • I feel for it, but they did the right thing by it and killed it. They didn’t just leave it to die on its own in agony for days.

    • most New Yorkers I know would have been way too squeamish to off the deer themselves

      Most New Yorkers that I know would eat their own young.

  5. I’d be willing to bet they’d stand up to say that ignorance of gun laws was no defense against harsh sentencing for breaking those laws.

    Hunting out of season is dangerous. Shooting at a deer with others directly behind it is reckless and irresponsible.

    Hopefully they get locked up for the indifference they feel towards wildlife.

  6. All this is OK because they are politically on the left, just harmless fun getting in touch with nature.
    If Ted Nugent did this they would send the Secret Service back out to his house.

  7. One of my mutant neighbors would tell you guys that you are confusing hunters with sportmen. A hunter kills to get meat, a sportsman kills to get meat in the proper season, with the proper weapon, proper license, and obeys all the applicable laws and regulations. Keep in mind that this definition comes from a guy that hunts out of his car window while on the road. That said, these guys are neither hunters or sportsmen, just ignorant urban dwellers that had no clue to what they were doing (shooting through one deer and hitting another), but ignorance is no excuse. I at least give them credit for tracking the wounded deer and making sure it did not continue to suffer.

    • I at least give them credit for tracking the wounded deer and making sure it did not continue to suffer.

      Talk about suffering . . . they could have made the poor deer watch their movie.

      • I want to see that, actually. Watching a bunch of hipsters sack up and actually kill their own food, then clean the carcass and cook it over an open fire? That sounds entertaining as hell.

        • Let us know if there’s an “Oh God THEY were right” moment, it wont be a satisfying watch for me otherwise.

  8. I like post apocalyptic films and I might see this one. I think prosecution might depend on any political message or angle of the film. I suspect they’ll work out some NY State agreement to make amends.

  9. I’ve started considering going hunting. Of course the first thing I did was look up state law. I was surprised how short the deer hunting season is for modern rifles here in Washington: basically one week. I’m still mulling it over and if I ever do go, I’d like to go with someone with a lot of experience.

    I hope these ignorant bastards get prosecuted.

    • For a short season you definitely need a person to guide you and do scouting. Typically bow and muzzleloader come before rifle or shotgun and by the time you can use a modern firearm the deer are pretty spooked. Consider a crossbow if allowed.

    • I listen to some paranormal podcasts, and I’ve emailed the hosts suggesting they tell listeners not to go out hunting cryptids with the intention of “bagging” one.
      Firing at a “cryptid” is a very literal violation of “know what your target is, and what is behind it.”
      It’s far, far more likely that the mysterious biped in your scope is actually a legitimate hunter, a hiker, or a human prankster.

  10. I’m not convinced these folks aren’t self-indulgent idiots who deserve to have the book thrown at them. That said, I would impose significant fines and have them prepare,  on a pro bono basis, a short film that could be co-produced and used by NY Fish & Game detailing proper hunting techniques with firearms, or something similar. Turn a bad thing into a good thing.

  11. They’ll get off because they’re on the right (left) ideological side of things. Also, they aren’t REAL gun owners/aficionados, they just happened to use one in a film, so it’ll all be okay…

  12. Ignorant, self-indulgent d-bags.

    That said, I’m still glad they ate meat that they didn’t pay to have put under plastic for them for once in their lives.

  13. Y’know, speaking as someone whose grandaddy got pinched for poaching, I may be biased, but I don’t see this as the end of the world. They shot two deer. They ate at least one of them. They discovered where meat comes from, and they made a movie that’s going to introduce a lot of other indie-film-watching city dwellers to the subject of where meat comes from. You can mock them all you want, but the “spiritual” comment doesn’t sound much different from the common wisdom passed down for rural generations, going all the way back to great-great-grandaddy Joe who was half Cherokee. (Or whatever. Everybody in the midwest has a little native in ’em, it seems. And is proud of it. Ask Elizabeth Warren.) Bottom line, you respect your food.

    So yeah, fine them. We have hunting seasons for a reason, and it needs to be enforced. But this is hardly the crime of the century, and a lot of good could come from it. I like the idea of a post-apocalyptic movie for the yoga set. If it gets more people thinking about self-reliance who otherwise might not, that’s a huge win for America.

    As gun owners, we should be looking for opportunities to build bridges. Instead of saying “Burn the hippies!” how about, “Yeah, venison is good, isn’t it? I like natural, grass-fed meat too. Guess we have something in common. Now, here’s how you get it legally.”

    • +1. Agreed on all points. Well said, Jason. BTW, I prefer corn-fed deer. However, I’ll take venison over store-bought meat any day of the week.

      • Finally, some sense. Big f’ing deal! Some of you guys act like these hipsters shot the Pope. I give them props for not acting like the girlie men they really are for once in their lives.

    • I agree with you Jason. Your point about building bridges is part of the bigger picture, too. That is why I try to interest ‘guns bad’ folks into going shooting. I, also, encourage young men to come hunting.
      Part of the reason the ‘guns bad’ and anti-hunting crowd have success is they prey on people’s fear with their arguments. What scares people about the unknown is not the unknown, but what they make-up to fill it. The anti’s are masters at filling the unknown with horror.
      If we are to be successful in restoring constitutional gun rights in this country; we must educate millions to the truth about guns. We can’t succeed at that by calling them names.
      A secondary reason the anti’s crowd have been so good at swaying so many people is they still are the ones in control of the majority of the mass media. We can only combat that by being vocal, without being shrill. We need to be the calm voice of reason.

  14. For being a fitness guru, he showed some pretty terrible form when using the axe!

  15. Maybe the deer should have shot the jerk that wrote that maudlin music. That would be enough to make me go and arm as many deer as possible. If a deer eats a human is that considered canabilism? We should all be on the alert for crazy, turban wearing deer. The next thing you know they will want equal rights, and to be able to be as one with nature as they eat your liver.

  16. Yes, they are from Brooklyn. which explains everything. I actually am amazed they were able to kill the deer.

  17. They shot wild animals on property that they owned or had permission to be on. The state has no place dictating what people can or can not do on the bounds of their own property.

    Are they idiots?

    Yes, certainly.

    But are they wrong?

    • I think so, yeah.
      Look, this is exactly the way I tend to see things too. However, in the case of game, it is a very valuable resource that does need to be managed by someone (if we want said game to continue to exist in numbers great enough to continue to hunt). State involvement in this is unfortunately a necessary evil IMHO.

      We are blessed in the US with a rich, diverse, beautiful abundance of animals in our forests and fish in our lakes and streams. This was once true in some other parts of the world.

      The land may belong to an individual, but the deer belong to everyone.

  18. Regular guy goes hunting: “It is barbaric and inhumane!”

    Filmmaker goes poaching: “Its art!”

  19. The whole thing is completely improbable think about it… NY hipster with a gun???

  20. In much of our land, exurbia seems to be a lovely place for deer to munch on tasty morsels (i.e. flowers.etc.), while not having to worry about getting shot. If our 20 somethings decide that shooting and eating deer is a wonderful thing, there are whole lot of 60 somethings more than willing to point out to their gardens yelling “Shoot those damn things!”

  21. >It was unclear who owned the rifle or whether it was registered.

    My “favorite” media fallacy, that all guns are registered. Yes, if that rifle was owned by one of the NYC-based filmmakers, it would have been registered. Outside of NYC, longarms are definitely not registered, only handguns.

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