Ankeny hunters, owners of supplement stores, plead guilty to federal poaching case

A couple from Ankeny, famous for their hunting videos on YouTube, pleaded guilty in federal court this month to conspiring to break a federal law protecting wildlife.

Josh Bowmar, 32, and Sarah Bowmar, 33, were among dozens of defendants charged in a poaching case after going on hunting tours operated by Hidden Hills Outfitters of Broken between September 10, 2015 and November 6, 2015 Arrow, Nebraska , 2017. Hidden Hills owner Jacob Hueftle has been charged with his 118 clients from 21 states hunting with illegally baited traps primarily to attract white-tailed deer.

Hiple was also charged with killing goshawks, hawks and other protected non-wild migratory birds, according to the indictment. Hueftle was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison in 2020. His father, Hidden Hills Outfitters co-owner Nolan Hueftle, ​​was sentenced to five years probation last year.

At least 36 defendants have been charged in the case, including the Bowmars, according to the US Department of Justice. Josh and Sarah Bowmar each pleaded guilty to one charge of conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act, which prohibits the sale, preservation or acquisition of wildlife in interstate commerce in violation of state or federal wildlife statutes. Her shop, Bowmar Hunting, also pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges.

The Bowmars’ attorney, Kline Preston, told the Des Moines Register that the Hueftles were the primary targets of the investigation and that Josh and Sarah Bowmar would be paying their debts to the society. They should have known better and known how Hidden Hills Outfitters operates, Preston said.

Who are Joshua and Sarah Bowmar? bodybuilders, archery dealers,

Josh Bowmar played soccer for NCAA D-III Heidelberg University in Ohio. He and his wife, Sarah Bowmar, met in 2014 while competing in a bodybuilding competition, according to the website of Bowmar Nutrition, an Ankeny-based supplement company they own. They are avid hunters who have posted dozens of fitness and hunting videos on YouTube and social media. They also sell archery equipment under the Bowmar Archery name.

What happened during the hunt in Nebraska?

Between September 10, 2015 and November 6, 2017, Josh and Sarah Bowmar hunted deer in three central Nebraska counties by luring animals with decoy traps, according to an indictment in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska. Josh Bowmar hunted trophy deer named “Goalpost”, “Superman” and “Head Turner”. According to the indictment, they filmed the expeditions and posted videos on their YouTube and social media accounts. Four charges related to hunting in bait areas were dropped in their plea agreement.

Sarah Bowmar hunted deer and turkey in a bait area without a valid permit on November 1, 2016, according to the indictment.

The Lacey Act can be easy to break, said Preston, her attorney. When people violate state wildlife rules or regulations and then bring plants or animals across state lines, it triggers violations of the Lacey Act, he said.

“It’s so simple that what would be the lowest offense under state law, the equivalent of a speeding ticket, can become a federal case with huge penalties,” he said.

The Bowmars will be sentenced in Omaha on January 12. Each faces one year in prison and one year probation. According to the agreement, they have to pay a total of $44,000.

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Josh Bowmar Hunt sponsored a Canadian law, his business is being sued

The state poaching case is the latest in a series of incidents that have drawn Bowmars supporters and online criticism.

In 2016, Josh Bowmar, who was living in Ohio at the time, baited a trap in the Canadian woods and then impaled a bear with a long spear that had a camera attached, according to Reuters. The video went viral in Canada, outraging some local residents, hunting groups and animal rights activists. Bowmar was never charged because Alberta did not outlaw spear hunting at the time. In February 2018, the province banned spear hunting over the video, according to Canadian news agency Global News.

The killing was ethical and “nobody cares about these animals more than us hunters,” Bowmar told Reuters at the time.

In October 2021, Bowmar Nutrition was sued by consumers who said lab tests showed some of its products contained 10% to 67% fewer grams of protein than advertised, according to the Iowa Capital Dispatch. Some of those lawsuits were dismissed in March, according to Capital Dispatch, but the case is ongoing.

Hunter accidentally shoots himself while trying to fend off a grizzly bear in Wyoming, officials say

Josh Bowmar’s controlled burns spiraled out of control

In a YouTube video. Released on August 13, Josh Bowmar accidentally set fire to his pickup truck when a “controlled burn” went out of control.

“Thank god no one was seriously hurt making this video unless you are the Ford F350 LOL. Accidents happen in agriculture. It’s unfortunate that Josh caught his favorite vice in FIRE, but sometimes you win and sometimes you learn,” the caption to the video Posted on Bowmar Bowhunting said.

Meanwhile, state charges are pending against Josh Bowmar after another “controlled burn” on his Clarke County property went out of control this spring. At 11 a.m. on April 10, Bowmar started the fire on his Clarke County property “despite extremely high winds and dry conditions,” according to a lawsuit filed Oct. 18 by Brian and Susan Crites, who live in Waukee and country owning contiguous to that of Bowmar. The fire spread to the land of the Crites and burned down a hut.

Brian Crites declined to comment on the lawsuit to the registry.

Bowmar was charged with reckless use of a firearm or explosive, a serious offense punishable by up to a year in prison. Clarke County Sheriff Rob Kovacevich told a deputy investigating the fire, “It was extremely windy that day and he was surprised that anyone would be burning openly,” according to a criminal complaint. The fire was left unattended “at some point during the day,” the criminal complaint said.

“Bowmar did not take the necessary precautions to ensure that the fire did not escape from the Bowmar farm,” Crites’ attorney Dustin Mueller wrote in their lawsuit ‘and spread to the Crites’ farm.’

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Philip Joens reports on public safety and RAGBRAI for the Des Moines Register. He can be reached at 515-443-3347 at [email protected] or on Twitter at @Philip_Joens.

This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Iowa YouTubers Josh, Sarah Bowmar Plead Guilty in Poaching Case

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