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Hunting New York Whitetail

Indie Film Makers Poach NY Deer For Hipster Movie

by Game & Fish Staff   |  April 24th, 2012 29

The film First Winter, which appeared in the Tribeca Film Festival, included a scene in which a deer is killed...illegally.

In the independent film First Winter — a story about a group of naive Brooklyn hipsters that are stuck in upstate New York after an apocalyptic event  —  there’s a scene in which a deer is shot and killed by one of the characters.  According to, the animal was skinned, cleaned, cooked and eaten on camera.

But here’s where things get…ironic.

No one associated with the movie was aware that there are laws involved with killing deer; while they might have had a filming permit, they didn’t have game tags for the pair of deer that were killed and both were shot out of season.

Yes, I wrote pair of deer. Apparently the bullet fired at the first doe passed clean through (killing it) but wounded another that was standing behind it. This sparked the apocalyptic scene that had of a group of hipster movie makers running through the woods with a loaded gun, trying to dispatch the wounded doe.

At some point, Darwin has to take over, right?

Once the production team learned of its mistake, they quickly turned themselves into the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and cooperated with the investigation.

Paul Manza, a real life yoga instructor and the actor in the movie who yanked the trigger, was eventually charged with misdemeanor illegal taking of a whitetail deer and faces a fine between $250 and $2,000.

At the film’s premiere on April 19, film director Ben Dickinson told “We are idiots. We didn’t know how to do this [hunting] stuff.”


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