In Omaha’s federal court, a celebrity bowhunting couple was given a sentence for conspiring to violate the Lacey Act, which forbids the trafficking of wildlife.
The case brought against Josh Bowmar, 32, Sarah Bowmar, 33, and Bowmar Bowhunting LLC, all of Ankeny, Iowa, was connected to the largest known poaching case in Nebraska. The fact that prosecutors have agreed to drop the most serious charges against Sarah and Josh Bowmar relieves them because they have stated that they “take responsibility” for some of their hunting activities in Nebraska.
Broken Bow outfitter given probation in major Nebraska poaching case The Bowmars pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor conspiracy charge on October 19 in the U.S. District Court of Nebraska. In return, four additional more serious charges were dropped, the majority of which were related to illegally baited hunting sites. They were each given a sentence of 40 hours of community service and three years of probation on Thursday by United States Magistrate Judge Michael D. Nelson.
In addition, Nelson ordered the Bowmars to pay a $13,000 restitution, a $44,000 cash judgment in lieu of forfeiting certain property, and a $75,000 fine (25,000 for each of the Bowmars and the business). During the probationary period, the Bowmars are prohibited from hunting or participating in any hunting-related activities in Nebraska. United States Attorney Steven Russell stated in a press release that the Bowmars conducted approximately five hunts per year at Hidden Hills Outfitters, a commercial big game guiding and outfitting business near Broken Bow, beginning in September 2015 and continuing through November 2017.
Celebrity Bowhunters Busted
According to Russell, the Bowmars conspired to transport wildlife—or portions thereof—from Nebraska to Ohio during commercially guided hunting, despite the fact that they ought to have known this was against state law. The Bowmars broadcasted the hunting activities that took place at Hidden Hills via the internet and social media platforms, such as their Bowmar Bowhunting website, Instagram page, and YouTube channel.
In a press release, Russell stated, “This sentencing hearing marks the completion of all foreseen prosecutions of numerous defendants related to violations committed by owners, guides, and clients of Hidden Hills Outfitters.” In the long-running case involving Hidden Hills Outfitters, 39 people have been found guilty, and more than $750,000 in fines, restitution, and forfeitures have been collected.
Through administrative abandonment of various wildlife trophies resulting from illegal hunts at Hidden Hills Outfitters, 13 additional individuals settled their cases. At least 97 illegally taken big game or wild turkey, including deer taken in baited areas, were the underlying violations; armed deer, pronghorn, and wild turkeys are not allowed to be hunted during their respective seasons; deer taken from the road during closed season hours or without a valid permit; as well as mule deer that were taken in the Mule Deer Conservation Area.