Who are Josh and Sarah Bowmar? Bowhunting couple fined $133K after massive Nebraska poaching ring bust
BROKEN BOW, NEBRASKA: Renowned bowhunting couple Josh Bowmar and Sarah Bowmar were fined $133,000 for their part in the biggest poaching ring ever in Nebraska. A federal judge sentenced Josh, 32, and Sarah, 33, of Ohio, for intentionally hunting white-tailed deer and turkeys in Nebraska without permits and using bait.
The Bowmars, who posted videos of their trophy kills on social media, were accused of taking more than a dozen hunting trips with Hidden Hills Outfitters, a Nebraska-based company, between September 10, 2015, and November 6, 2017. They were charged with violating the Lacey Act, which forbids the unlawful trade in native plants, fish, or wildlife. It was discovered that the Bowmars had illegally transported deer and turkey, both whole and in portions, to their home in Ohio and other locations using pickup trucks, SUVs, and trailers. The Bowmars were sentenced following their October 19 guilty plea to a misdemeanor conspiracy charge in a Nebraska district court. In return, the prosecution agreed to drop four other, more serious charges involving unlawful baiting.
In addition to the penalty, Josh and Sarah were also slapped with a three-year probation during which they would not be allowed to engage in any type of hunting in Nebraska. The Bowmars and their Iowan company, Bowmar Bowhunting LLC, were named as defendants in the lawsuit and each received a $25,000 fine.
The Bomars will also pay a $44,000 and $13,000 monetary judgment to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission instead of forfeiting any property. Additionally, they must fulfill 40 hours of community service.
The Bowmars were a minor part of the massive Nebraska poaching network that was run by their friend Jacob Hueftle, who received a 30-month prison term in Yankton, South Dakota. Jacob's father Nolan Hueftle, 60, received a probationary period. Federal wildlife agents found numerous mounted whitetail deer when the unlawful ring was busted.
Authorities ultimately found 39 individuals guilty of being part of the ring, and more than $750,000 has been recovered in fines, restitution, and forfeitures. The group was held accountable for killing at least 97 big game animals.