An athletic clothing company has severed ties with the wife of the Ohio hunter who killed a bear with a spear in Alberta, Canada.
The video of Josh Bowmar impaling the animal sparked such outrage that it prompted a vow from the Alberta government to outlaw spear hunting in the fall. Officials are also mulling a decision to file charges against Bowmar.
Bowmar’s wife Sarah was also featured in the video. A spokeswoman for Under Armour, a sportswear supplier based in Baltimore, said while the company is “dedicated to the hunting community,” spearing the bear may have gone too far. The company has decided to end its sponsorship of Sarah Bowmar.
“The method used to harvest this animal was reckless and we do not condone it,” said the spokeswoman, Danielle Daly.
Social media users called for a boycott of Under Armour products because of the brand’s association with the Bowmars, who runs a fitness business in Ohio.
But many also came to the Bowmars’ defense, blasting Under Armour’s decision as unfair.
“Apparently you can lose your sponsorship for doing what you were sponsored for. Logistics,” tweeted Olivia Jones.
The controversial bear hunting video was posted in June on Josh Bowmar’s YouTube account. By the time it was removed from public view on Monday it had accumulated more than 208,000 views.
The 13-minute video shows Josh Bowmar heaving a huge spear — with a camera attached — at a bear approximately 40 feet away.
“I just speared a bear!” Bowmar celebrates in the video. “He’s going down. I drilled him perfect … I smoked him.”
At least one YouTube commenter threatened to do to Bowmar what he did to the bear. Twitter users called the killing sick, inhumane, shameful and disgusting.
Alberta’s Environment and Parks department called spear hunting an “archaic” practice. Spear hunting is already illegal in Ontario.
“It’s extremely frustrating to me,” Josh Bowmar said in a recent telephone interview. “They’re trying to make this out to be the next Cecil the Lion situation. It’s clearly not. I didn’t do anything illegal. The bear died very humanely. The truth is I honestly care more about animals and hunting than anybody could.”
Bowmar denied reports that the bear took 20 hours to die, saying it ran 60 yards before collapsing and was likely dead in 30 seconds.
“If I was a killer, why wouldn’t I pick up a rifle and shoot him from 500 yards (460 meters) away and just kill?” said Bowmar, who threw the javelin competitively in college at Heidelberg University in Ohio. “Yet I chose a weapon whose effective killing range is only ten yards (nine meters). That gives the animal the greatest chance of escape. That’s showing the most amount of respect for the animal, not the least amount of respect. So I don’t understand why this is getting so much hatred on it.”