Bill Busbice gets sentenced for poaching elk in Wyoming, and now Wildgame Nation and Busbice have been suspended indefinitely from the Outdoor Channel.
In a world where hunters fight for their rights to hunt, conserve, and ethically grow the sport, news of public figures poaching or hunting unethically can cause quite a stir and anger many.
News broke today of Bill Busbice of Wildgame Innovations and cast member of Wildgame Nation on the Outdoor Channel, being sentenced for hunting without a proper license and intentionally allowing an antlerless elk go to waste.
The case was sparked by reports from several hunters of possible suspicious hunting activity in October, 2016 Spring Creek Ranch, which is owned by Busbice. A lengthy interview with the Game Warden involved in the case published by the Kemmerer Gazette revealed more details.
The report says Busbice shot what was believed to be either a cow or a calf, and that he instructed a ranch manager to conceal the carcass, with no attempt to field dress it or preserve the meat.
Upon the news, Outdoor Sportsman Group and CEO and President Jim Liberatore has just released a statement regarding the matter and it is a big hit to the Busbice legacy:
Following charges of poaching an elk in La Barge Creek, Wyoming, Outdoor Sportsman Group Networks has suspended the show Wildgame Nation and host Bill Busbice, Jr. from appearing on Outdoor Channel. The announcement was made today by Jim Liberatore, CEO and President of Outdoor Sportsman Group Networks. The suspension is effective immediately.
"Outdoor Sportsman Group is committed to legal and ethical hunting," said Liberatore. "We have strict policies and procedures in place that require all of our talent and producers to abide by all hunting regulations. We hold our employees to the highest of standards in order to ensure that we are effectively serving the outdoor community. As a result of the recent charges in Wyoming involving Bill Busbice, Jr., we have suspended the show and Busbice indefinitely from Outdoor Channel."
No jail time was sentenced by the Lincoln County Circuit Court, but it is reported that Busbice is required to pay $23,000 of fines and restitution and lose his hunting and fishing privileges in 45 states in the U.S. until 2019 according to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. That's in addition to one and half years of unsupervised probation for the waste of the elk and not having the proper hunting license.
People make mistakes, and it leaves the industry in a strange situation. You want to help support fellow hunters, but you also don't want to support someone who is disrespecting the sport and going about it unethically. Or it at least it feels that way to me. Bill Busbice has done a lot of good for the industry, and I respect him for that. But then again, intentionally doing something wrong is just unacceptable, and he will have to pay.
Threats of boycotting the Busbice businesses are being sounded, and many are disappointed. Time will tell, but for now, you won't be seeing Bill Busbice or Wildgame Nation on your TV sets on the Outdoor Channel anytime soon.