After a years-long stagnation, social media influencers Josh and Sarah Bowmar and their company Bowmar Bowhunting, LLC have each stated in court filings, “I conspired to violate the Lacey Act and I should have known better.”
Josh and Sarah Bowmar and their company Bowmar Bowhunting, LLC, were charged in 2020 with a laundry list of crimes.
These included hunting wild turkeys without a valid permit, illegally transporting game across state lines, and illegal baiting of wildlife, among others. The charges stemmed from the largest poaching sting operation in Nebraska state history.
The Bowmars plead guilty on Wednesday to the charge of unlawfully, willfully, and knowingly conspiring with others to possess, transport, or sell wildlife in violation of the federal Lacey Act. As part of a plea agreement, the Department of Justice dropped the four other charges.
The Bowmars’ plea agreement includes potential maximum penalties of one year in prison, one year of supervised release, $100,000 fine, and ineligibility for certain Federal benefits. The Bowmars are also prohibited from hunting “or otherwise engaging in any activities associated with hunting” in Nebraska during the entire term of probation or supervised release.
Sentencing will take place in the United States District Court of Nebraska, at 10:00 a.m. on Jan. 12, 2023.
Below, you can read the court documents for each of the plea agreements:
Bowmar Hunting Influence Cast Long Shadow
The Bowmar poaching case captured the national spotlight because they have amassed such a large following in the hunting and fitness communities. On Instagram alone, Bowmar Bowhunting, Sarah Bowmar, and Josh Bowmar collectively have over 1.5 million followers. They also have a large following on YouTube.
The duo started several offshoot companies and products in the hunting and nutrition market. Bowmar Nutrition, the couple’s supplement company, has also been fraught with legal woes centered around the inflation of the nutritional value of its products. And several acts, including spearing a bear in Canada, have resulted in the loss of many outside sponsors.
Additional Court Information
The following court entry was entered and located via PACER regarding the most recent hearing.
TEXT MINUTE ENTRY for proceedings held on 10/19/2022 before Magistrate Judge Michael D. Nelson as to defendants Josh Bowmar, Sarah Bowmar, Bowmar Bowhunting, LLC.
Change of Plea Hearing held on 10/19/2022.
Change of Plea Hearings held.
Defendants previously consented to change of plea and sentencing before Magistrate Judge Nelson.
Defendants withdraw pleas of not guilty as to Count I of the Information.
Defendants plead guilty as to Count I of the Information.
Plea agreement will be accepted at or before sentencing as to each defendant.
The plea will be accepted at or before sentencing as to each defendant.
Presentence Investigation Packet provided to Defendants’ counsel.
Sentencing is scheduled for 1/12/2023 at 10:00 AM before Magistrate Judge Nelson.
Defendants remain released on conditions.
Hearing held by Internet/Telephonic Conferencing; Appearance for Plaintiff: Donald J. Kleine, USA; Appearance for Defendants: G. Kline Preston, IV, Retained; Courtroom Deputy: Sara Pankoke; Court Reporter: Digital Recorder; No interpreter used during hearing. Time Start: 10:59 AM; Time Stop: 11:44 AM; Time in Court: 45 Minutes. (SLP)
We will update this story with any further information as it is available.
For more background on the case, check out “Bowhunting Couple Faces Charges in Nebraska’s Largest Poaching Case Ever.”