A famous bow hunter couple who posted videos of their trophy kills on social media have been fined $133,000 for their involvement in Nebraska’s largest poaching ring.
Josh Bowmar, 32, and Sarah Bowmar, 33, of Ohio, were convicted last week by a federal judge of knowingly illegally hunting white-tailed deer and turkey in Nebraska without a permit and using bait.
The couple were accused of going on more than a dozen hunting trips with Nebraska-based Hidden Hills Outfitters between September 10, 2015 and November 6, 2017.
In doing so, they are said to have violated the Lacey Act, which prohibits the illegal trade in wild animals, fish or native plants.
The Bowmars were found to have used pickup trucks, SUVs and trailers to illegally transport, among other things, deer and turkeys, both whole and in part, to their Ohio home.
Josh Bowmar, 32, and Sarah Bowmar, 33, have been fined $133,000 for their involvement in Nebraska’s largest poaching ring
It was discovered that the Bowmars had used pickup trucks, SUVs and trailers to illegally transport deer and turkeys, both whole and in parts, to their Ohio home
The conviction comes after the Bowmars pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor conspiracy charge in a Nebraska district court on Oct. 19. In exchange, four other more serious charges of illegal baiting were dropped.
In addition to paying the fines, the couple were sentenced to three years’ probation, during which they are banned from any form of hunting in Nebraska.
Defendants in the case included the two Bowmars and their company Bowmar Bowhunting LLC of Ankeny, Iowa. Each was fined $25,000.
The couple will also pay the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission $13,000 and a $44,000 fine in lieu of forfeiting a property. Josh and Sarah Bowmar also have to do 40 hours of community service.
The Bowmars were a small part of Nebraska’s vast poaching ring, led by their friend Jacob Hueftle, who was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison in Yankton, South Dakota.
His 60-year-old father was given a suspended sentence. In his raid on the illegal ring, federal wildlife agencies confiscated dozens of mounted white-tailed deer.
In all, authorities convicted 39 people for ringside participation and collected more than $750,000 in fines, restitutions and forfeiture. The group was responsible for taking at least 97 big game animals.
The Bowmars were a small part of Nebraska’s vast poaching ring, led by their friend Jacob Hueftle (pictured). He was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison
During the bust of the illegal ring, federal wildlife agencies confiscated dozens of mounted white-tailed deer (pictured)
The original 2020 indictment said the Bowmars were involved in “primarily videotaped archery hunts targeting white-tailed deer, mule deer, wild turkey and other wildlife species in multiple states and countries.”
She and more than 30 co-conspirators were charged with “using numerous HHO decoy sites to locate and identify potential target deer, maximize their hunting effectiveness and success rate, or attempt to kill a specific trophy deer.”
“Defendants regularly videotaped and photographed the hunts to create, produce and distribute the content to the public through their online BBH business platforms, including an internet website, an Instagram page and a YouTube channel to distribute.”
A video posted to the channel on January 5, 2017 shows Josh Bowmar shooting a white-tailed deer. In the video, the lover’s antlers fell off after he shot them with an arrow.
The indictment refers to this video, which was filmed during a Hidden Hills hunt, and states that “Josh Bowmar hunted in a heavily baited area for a certain trophy size whitetail deer with double corkscrew drop prong antlers.”
“Defendant Josh Bowmar was hunting a certain white-tailed deer named ‘Snowflake,'” the statement said.
The couple claimed that the US Fish and Wildlife Service hacked into their stealth camera app during their investigation into their involvement in the Nebraska poaching ring without a warrant
The pair are known for aggressively using the courts themselves and sued the de for in 2019. They claimed their hunting cameras had been hacked, violating their privacy, and that Sarah was caught urinating in the Nebraska woods.
The couple claimed that the US Fish and Wildlife Service hacked into their stealth camera app during their investigation into their involvement in the Nebraska poaching ring without a warrant.
They also claimed that agents from the department had secretly watched Sarah Bowmars for months as she hunted in the woods and violated her privacy by watching her urinate in the bushes.
Later that year, a judge dismissed her case.