~ Man's deer call from Bambi's perspective; attempting to lure the young doe into a deadly trap.
Man is the unseen main antagonist in Disney's 5th full-length animated feature film Bambi, and the secondary antagonist of Bambi II. He was notable for the fact that he is never seen onscreen.
Man is an unseen, slender, muscular man with brown hair and gray eyes. He wears a yellow coat, light gray gloves, a red shirt, blue jeans, and black boots.
He also utilized a large pack of hunting dogs near the climax of the film in order to hunt down the fleeing wildlife.
Very quiet and mysterious, Man is a sneaky, cruel, uncaring, destructive and murderous hunter who has no consideration for animals. He has been consistently ranked very high in Disney villains lists, as well as other villain lists in general and has been argued by some as one of the greatest villains of all time - proving that often it is what one does not see that is truly terrifying and dangerous. Man is also very iconic and quintessential due to how he always has a tent near him and enjoys fire.
Instead, his presence is seen via violent and detrimental acts, such as the shooting of Bambi's mother (classifying Man as a poacher since killing does and fawns is illegal in many parts of the United States) and other animals as well as the setting of a massive forest fire (either out of negligence or malice).
Despite being the main antagonist, his role is small. He is never given a proper name, any motives, sound effects (except his gun), or any speaking lines, but is presumably a poacher (most likely part of a larger group) who has been encroaching on Bambi's native home for a substantial amount of time. His presence is always met with equal fear and awe by the many woodland animals.
The Great Prince of the Forest warned his son, Bambi, that Man has returned to hunt again. As Bambi was searching for Faline, Man attacked the forest after an unnamed Pheasant drifted into madness in which she would be killed on the spot by Man while attempting to escape her fate. Man began to pick off the other animals as they panicked after seeing the Pheasant fall out of the sky. He managed to kill multiple animals offscreen, as they ran for shelter.
As the hunt was going on, Faline ran into his Hunting dogs and was chased into the rocky hills of the forest where she was nearly devoured whole until Bambi arrived to fight them off one at a time. Despite the dogs outnumbering him, he managed to over power the dogs by leaping onto the cliff and escaping by side jumping causing the unstable rocks to crush all dogs to death.
After Bambi defeated Man's hunting dogs, as he took a jump, he was injured from Man's distant gunshot; it was possible that Man shot Bambi as part of the hunt, or to avenge his dogs. The situation remains unclear, Man's gunshot towards Bambi would be his final shot throughout the rest of the film, as suddenly without warning, Man's fire started to spread and causes a rapid blazed which would later create a wild forest fire, forcing the animals to escape from the inferno.
The Great Prince of the Forest quickly told Bambi to get up just as the fire drew near. Bambi and The Great Prince of the Forest escaped from the fire and swam to safety, where the other animals were gathering.
Although he is no longer shown on screen, it was revealed that Man actually died in the fire, in a scene that was cut from the original 1942 film. The deleted scene would be the only shot of him on screen, revealing his corpse composing of both his arm, supposedly his head dimmed from the ashes, and his rifle. Whether or not that is still his official fate is up to speculation.
In the midfield, Man was shown with his dogs trying to kill Bambi. As the dogs were defeated and ran off, Man attempted to shoot him, but the Great Prince got Bambi out of the meadow just in the nick of time. Even though this was the only scene he was in, Man probably set up a trap in the climax that would alert the dogs if anyone was captured.
In the original book, Man is referred to as "Him".
Reportedly, a scene where Bambi and his father discover his body after the forest fire was animated and shown to test audiences, but they thought it was too grim so it was cut.
While it can be argued whether or not he holds any true evil intent, like most other Disney villains, it is noted that Man had no qualms with killing a doe with fawn, further hinting he was more of a poacher than a hunter, as it is illegal to shoot does or fawns in many parts of the United States.
He was originally intended to appear onscreen, but the production team decided to avoid depicting the character, because such an entity would be too dark, grim, and notorious for the film.
However, he appeared in Cartoon Network's MAD. He was featured in the sketch, "Zombi", depicted wearing hunter clothes with a similar color pattern to that of Elmer Fudd's. After seeing Bambi's mother as a monstrous zombie, Man attempted to apologize, but got attacked and is likely that he was devoured after Bambi and his friends locked the mausoleum.
In a Golden Book about Bambi which abridged the film, Man's campsite is shown and Bambi is cautioned this is when again "Man" has entered the forest. However, several tents are shown, suggesting Man is with a larger hunting party instead of by himself.
Man was ranked as the 20th greatest screen villain of all time by the AFI's 100 years, 100 Heroes and Villains list, being the second highest animated villain on the list, and the only one of all of the villains that wasn't physically seen.
There is even an urban legend that Gaston LeGume was "Man". But, it is mostly considered a joke since Bambi was supposed to take place in North America, while Beauty and the Beast was supposed to take place in France, making it unlikely that he was the perpetrator. That said, the original book Bambi is based on is set near the Alpine region of Austria/Switzerland so maybe it wouldn't be that far fetched for Gaston to hunt in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
There was even an early script of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, where Judge Doom reveals that he was Man. Some still believe that it would actually be Judge Doom. Nonetheless, it still should be considered a joke since Bambi is revealed to be a resident of Toon Town in the final scene.
Though he was considered to be an unseen character, he is seen in the deleted scene after the forest fire, with an arm and his rifle. This image would be the only sight of Man and the first time he is ever seen on screen. But, the scene was dropped due to audience members fearing that it would be a grotesquerie, and was cut from production.