In the new age of social media it’s not uncommon for events to go from obscurity to the public spotlight within hours. Such is the case of hunting enthusiasts Josh and Sarah Bowmar. Several days ago the couple posted a video to YouTube of Josh legally spearing a Canadian black bear which caused the anti-hunting public at large to rear its ugly head to lash out at them.
Part of the backlash for the couple’s videoed hunt was an online petition signed by a whopping 4,300 people to have Sarah dropped from her Under Armour sponsorship deal. Amidst the pressure from the misinformed and ignorant public, Under Armour caved and parted ways with Sarah as of today. Sarah was a part of the clothing giant’s “Women of Will” campaign which focused specifically on female hunters. In fact, Under Armour has partnered with a variety of other notable female hunters including Tiffany Lakosky and Eva Shockey in order to push their line of apparel specifically designed for women hunters.
While there are a variety of issues brought up by this current event including spear hunting animals, the anti-hunting movement, and the use of social media to spread hate and ignorance, the severing of ties of a sponsored hunter by a company who allegedly supports hunting seems to be the most troubling for our tightly-knit community. While Under Armour has penetrated the hunting industry in a big way over recent years, the backlash from hunters may soon change their trajectory.
A quick visit to the Under Armour Hunt Facebook page shows hundreds of comments from dissatisfied hunters who believe their failure to support a hunter in her time of need shows a lack of commitment to their support of hunting in general.
According to an article on Business Insider, Under Armour has released the following statement.
“The method used to harvest this animal was reckless and we do not condone it. Under Armour is dedicated to the hunting community and supports hunting that is conducted in compliance with applicable federal, state and local laws and hunting practices that ensure a responsible and safe harvest of the animal.”
They have also taken to their Facebook page to defend their position on the matter.
So while hunters have been killing animals with spears since the dawn of mankind, Under Armour has elected to deem Josh and Sarah’s actions as “reckless” despite their legality and the quick recovery of Josh’s bear.
As this story continues to unfold, the question remains if Under Armour will cave in to the pressures of hunters who are urging them to rethink their stance on sponsoring Sarah Bowmar the way they caved to the pressure from the anti-hunting masses.
We also eagerly await comments from the litany of high-profile hunters in the Under Armour camp including Lee & Tiffany Lakosky, Mark & Terry Drury, Jim Shockey, Eva Shockey and Cameron Hanes among others. Will these sponsored hunters speak up in support of the injustice their former teammate faces? Or will their social media feeds go surprisingly quiet in this matter? Only time will tell.
Popular hunter Tim Wells, who also regularly hunts with a spear, took to his own Facebook page today calling Under Armour “cowards” who “drop and run when our enemies are at the gate”
Friday evening update:
Hunters have now formed their own petition on Change.org to bring Sarah Bowmar back to Under Armour. Click here for that petition.
The first video of a hunter burning his Under Armour clothing has now surfaced on Facebook.
Long time hunting TV personality Keith Warren has also weighed in on Facebook tonight.
Cam Hanes is the first UA sponsored athlete to publicly respond. As always a very well thought out and intelligent post from one of hunting’s most prominent figures.
Remi Warren, host of Solo Hunter TV, has also responded with a similar to comment as Cam Hanes. In a nutshell saying he supports Under Armour because they support him.