A celebrity bowhunting couple from Ohio who have more than 300,000 subscribers to their YouTube channel where they post videos of their trophy kills have been fined $133,000 for their involvement in Nebraska’s largest ever poaching ring.
32-year old Josh and 33-year old Sarah Bowmar will also pay $13,000 to Nebraska Game and Parks and $44,000 money judgment in lieu of forfeiting a property.
They will also perform 40 hours of community service and spend 3 years on probation that carries a ban on any form of hunting in Nebraska.
The Bowmars pleaded guilty in October to a misdemeanor conspiracy charge in exchange for prosecutors dropping 4 more serious charges involving illegal baiting. Their Iowa-based company was also a defendant and was fined $25,000.
The Bowmars were accused of knowingly hunting white-tailed deer and turkeys out of season, without permits, and by baiting sites while on more than a dozen hunting tours with Hidden Hills Outfitters of Broken Bow between Sept 2015 and Nov 2017.
HIdden Hills owner Jacob Hueftle was earlier sentenced to 30 months in federal prison for violating the Lacey Act, which prohibits the illegal trafficking of wildlife, fish, or indigenous plants.
The Bowmars’ company video-recorded them in archery hunts for whitetail deer, mule deer, wild turkey, and other wildlife species in multiple states and countries.
They were accused of using ‘numerous’ bait sites to locate and identify potential target deer to maximize their hunting effectiveness and success rate or kill a specific trophy deer.’
The poaching ring investigation eventually saw 39 people convicted of similar violations and collected more than $750,000 in fines, restitution and forfeitures. They were responsible for illegally taking at least 97 big game animals.
The Bowmars sued the U-S Fish and Wildlife Service in 2019, accusing the agency of hacking into their stealth cameras without a warrant as part of the investigation in the poaching ring.
They also claimed agents violated Sarah Bowmar’s privacy rights by watching her urinate in the bushes, but their suit was dismissed in 2020.