Breaking news: No spearing, says Under Armour—but an underwhelming response on trophy hunting

By on August 19, 2016 with 58 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

“Under Armour and the Bowmars broke up today,” Sarah Bowmar declared in a tweet yesterday. “I’ll do a blog post in a few days when I am no longer crying. #AntisWon.”

Yes, that’s Sarah Bowmar, who shot a black bear with a crossbow this spring in Alberta the day before her husband Josh impaled a black bear at a bait site with a homemade spear and set off a global furor once the video he posted got more eyeballs than the crew checking his Facebook page. The Daily Mirror, which broke the story, said he attached a GoPro to the spear so he’d have a particularly vivid recording of the human attack on the bear.

Sportswear giant Under Armour has cut ties with the Bowmars, and terminated its agreement with Sarah to act as a brand ambassador for women’s hunting.

Indeed, it’s good news that Under Armour has severed relations and indicated that it opposes spear hunting, saying that the “method Josh Bowmar used to harvest this animal was reckless and we do not condone this method of hunting.”

That said, let’s be clear that spearing is an uncommon practice and this was no profile in courage for Under Armour, and the company’s statement was very cautious and limited in scope. It did and said as little as it could to respond to the news ricocheting around the web about the company’s association with the Bowmars. While it now says it opposes spearing terrestrial wildlife, Under Armour did not come out against any other forms of cruelty in hunting, including the crossbow Sarah Bowmar used to wound a bear in Alberta, whose intestines spilled out of the agonized bear while he ran away in pain and terror. And apparently Under Armour has no problem with hunting in spring, when mothers could be rearing young leaving them orphaned and doomed to a slow death by starvation, or enticing animals to the kill spot with food bait—all part of the story surrounding the Bowmars’ bear killing escapades in Alberta.

Under Armour is an enormously successful and fast-growing Baltimore-based company, which projects revenues of $5 billion this year. It is more than a little commercially tangled up with the sport hunting industry, and was careful not to say anything that would offend any slice of its customer base—counting on the fact that the spear hunting fraternity is a small and marginal group. While CEO and founder Kevin Plank gets so much of the attention and credit for the company’s startling growth, a handful of other key executives are passionate sport hunting enthusiasts whose imprint on the company and its strategic direction is obvious. It has a major hunting line, an outdoor channel hunting show called “Ridge Reaper,” and actively markets its products to that sector of the public.

I get that companies like Cabela’s support just about any and all forms of hunting. It is essentially a seller of weapons, apparel, and all of the other accoutrements of hunting. But the hunting segment of Under Armour’s customer base is relatively small, and it has a largely mainstream audience for whom the idea of killing an animal for trophies and by unfair methods is out of favor. So if it’s going to stay so big in the hunting business, it might as well try and do some good that also reflects the wishes of most decent minded people. It should have some coherence and some minimal standards on hunting issues at the very least. No captive hunts from which animals have no hope of escape, no spring hunting, no use of dogs or baiting, no killing of threatened and endangered species, and no killing simply for a trophy with no other purpose would be a good start.

Saying that you’re opposed to spearing is a good beginning, but not much more than that.

Josh Bowmar’s giddy and ruthless spearing of a key predator, and the Bowmars’ obvious close ties to the company, amounts to a wake-up moment for the world about Under Armour’s close association with the trophy hunting community. Looking at UA’s online roster of celebrity brand ambassadors, epic athletes such as Steph Curry and Lindsey Vonn, and you’ll see that their approach, involving self-sacrifice and human-on-human competition, contrasts sharply with people who take and kill and pick on other creatures and masquerade as participants of sport.

Under Armour now gives me pause. It’s no model of the humane economy. Not yet at least.

Wildlife/Marine Mammals

Subscribe to the Blog

Enter your email address below to receive updates each time we publish new content.


Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Marcy says:

    Hunting for anything other than food is barbaric and should be outlawed. If hunting has to occur for thinning of herds, it should be done quickly and efficiently. Hunting is not a sport!!!!!! Tracking unassuming game so you can hang a trophy on your and obtain bragging rights is just downright cruel. Humans are the only animals that hunt for any other reason but food. I would never support a company that supports this “tradition”.

    • Josh Nasmith says:

      Because bear are food. They taste quite good and feed many. Josh Bowmar honed his skills with practice and was a collegiate javelin thrower prior. Instead of saying how cowardly and awful he is another side to the coin is that the guy sniping the bear from 500 yds has much less courage and skill than Josh Bowmar. UA Hunt was also cowardly in dropping HIS WIFE as it was not her hunt not her posting, guilty by association. I will not support UA Hunt in their cowardly response to the Bowmars.

      • M.McLaughlin says:

        Pretensions such as “courage” and “cowardly” are not the issue.
        Due ot the fact that I do not neter the world exclusively to kill the largest animal I see, I have for years encountered and tracked bears, learning much about the species and of individuals I have known for periods of up to ten years.
        Black bears will generally always leave immediately upon sniffing the presence of a human, , and because they have relatively small home ranges, mothers whose territories are too difficult for many humans to penetrate, wil chase their cubs, following up trees.
        IN Ontario, an extremely few cases of predation on humans has occurred, during the hyperphagic period. Stalking behavior in carnivora species is distinct, and even clear without training to differentiate, unless the human involved is so urban-oriented that (s)he is sufficiently dissociated from 200,000 or more years of normal life.

        Oddly and unknown to most Euroamericans, Grizzly bears do not stalk humans, but because of having larger and more variable habitat, relatively undetectably disappear when they are sure of human presence.
        While I know of a historical population of brown bear that did periodically hunt a human population (I know they are also Ursus arctos), no present griz/brown bears take humans, instead only having a normal previously adaptive bear response , hardly differing from that toward other bears deemed a threat or competitor.
        I also happened to be hiking alone in Yellowstone on the same day that the supposed informed person was killed by a grizzly mother with two cubs, and later eaten to some extent.
        You will remember that that individual neglected to bring bear spray. I did not, and have always used ALL my senses to detect what’s goin’ on. (that day I deferred to an old bison bull who popped over hill within 30 ft. He grunted, I spoke softly, put a tree between us, and backed off through the forest in Hayden valley a couple miles or more from the road).
        Bear spray is shown to be 94% effective in ending a charge, and more recently anecdotal report of failure was due to aiming too high, too late. One must practice.

        Gun possession and use against griz charge is statistically as effective as having nothing at all and standing there.

        While I understand that HSUS promotes vegan/vegetarian human forage style, and grew up learning to hunt and to prepare and eat wildlife, (yes, bear, if cooked enough, can sustain one at need), the pretense that it is somehow necessary as food is utterly false.

        In modern times, a single elk can sustain two meat eaters for a year (due to freezing being widely available) and hunting is thus exaggerated as a forage method. With Seven THOUSAND MILLION humans and tiny bear populations, prevented from reoccupying their normal ranges, it becomes profoundly unethical for any huuman to eat bear.
        I want to continue, explaining some severe extinction-related problems for bears in Asia, but this comment is merely a response to falsehood and pomposity of calling any human armed with weapons “courageous.” THe Maasai once required a young man to find and confront a lion (lions are generally larger than most or all black bears, and actually aggressively interested in humans) in order to show sufficient determination in that seminomadic herding culture,, that he was worthy of choice as a good provider and protector of the group.

        THe innocent and retiring black bear is not such a test of capacities. Bears, by the way learn to distinguish individual humans, and differentially respond to them. I have known at least three, and always felt badly when forced to chase on male who was well over 300lbs when I used to return to my cabin at night . I tried always to tell him to leave the trail! He once entered my small house, and I had to chase him out, raising myself to full height and roaring. He looked at me with, it seemed, evaluative intent, but since I advanced to within 6 feet, decided to maintain good relations, and left.

        Don’t do this at home; I had known this guy for a few years and deferred to him all along his stream foraging grounds. (and I had a girlfriend who was fearful enough that I had to accommodate her, and additionally, it’s always best to communicate in ways that your fellow conversationalist understands. Bears are like other kids – if you let them believe they can take advantage, they will.

        No courage is involved. Guns are like alcohol, they obviate courage.

    • Steve Smith says:

      With you all the way

  2. Tammy Slack says:

    Yes Stop ALL THE VILE DISGUSTING cave men in this world, stupid stupid MAN !!

  3. kathy humes says:

    Its a start in the right direction. What that man did is /should cost him more than a paycheck. But Thanks Under Armor.

  4. Debra Love says:

    What they do,enticing,spearing,is not hunting.They are just trying to get more attention.Now they have it in spades.No animal deserves what they do

    • M.McLaughlin says:

      Turns out in modern times, that male human exhibition of risk behaviors is insufficient anyway to attract female admiration. it just doesn’t stick like buying a cut shiny dead rock with elaborately printed paper, or scrabbling for social status.
      I direct readers to Wisconsin bear baiting and hound hunting for the worst recent demonstration of misdirected male behavior . . . no, WAIT!
      Bison outside of rut are pretty much a species affable enough to tolerate humans coming up close, and just the past couple days in Hebgen Basin, a kid nailed one with a crossbow, which is pretty much exactly like sneaking up to a barn and shooting it.
      Kid got nationwide attention, and one less human-habituated full-blooded original, supposedly protected bison will return up the Madison River to Yellowstone in spring.

      When the world was free of fences and excessive humans, these guys would head over the horizon in response to killing Now there is nowhere for them to go.

      HSUS does some great work, but we also need to de-fence, de-“own” the west. There were once 60 million bison, 30 millionn pronghorn, countless elk and deer half a million wolves (who amicably traveled along with the Lewis and Clark “expedition of discovery” because the wolves knew that horsed humans would leave some food , and could even help cause a herd to move, exposing the ill, injurred, old, unfit, or excess young for choice of safest and most possible wolf lunch.
      instead the white men shot them, beginning a practice of toy guns and psychopathic ecocidal murderous “pleasure” lasting through the present.
      Right now, there are a few thousand rhino,, a few giraffe, a few elephants, all being gunned down mindlessly due to excessive human overpopulation and technology in Africa.
      Hunting in the USA now includes use of ATVs, trail cameras, even drones, along with long-distance firearms and loads allowing killing at distance closing on 3/4 mile, an extreme that it is unlikely any animal can adapt to. Silencers/suppressors are also used, so that wise elk, who learned to head over ridges, leaving the entire watershed in response to rifle fire, can be gunned down at pleasure.

      I could elaborate on the scent baiting used, but the legal suppressors should be enough to arouse you to demand strong limits on hunting technology.

  5. Doris Muller says:

    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” Upton Sinclair

  6. Lynn says:

    Good I’m glad , but more needs to be done. These company’s that allow this stuff should be put out there so other consumer s can can stop buying their products in hopes of flushing out this horrible trend of disgusting humans

  7. Adelina Flaischer says:

    Such an Inhumain killing of animall should be stopped and this idiots prosecuted!
    Killing for trophies should not be allowed!

    • Jeff says:

      Like it or not we are all apart of the food chain. Every part of this animal was put to good use including the meat. The time may come when you will need the help of hunters to survive.

      • K.C. Townsend says:

        I wonder about this response and it’s writer. At the present time I can’t see a justification for killing these creatures ‘because ‘someday’ we may need to.! We have so many sources of protein for our diets and health.
        We have wonderful new fabrics today that are inexpensive and keep us warm.
        Perhaps the writer wants to protect his weapons and desire to use them?
        Just a thought.

      • Tim says:

        I am with you Jeff. Under Armour has lost my business as a hunter. Surrendering to the activist.

        • John says:

          Dude put out bait to attract bears then threw a home made spear into it with a go pro attached.

          Is that hunting to you? Baiting out bears? Some real skill, patience, and knowledge required to bait huh.

          You shouldn’t be allowed to he called a hunter if you’re doing that. The foodstamp, welfare version of hunting.

          • Jean Gorman says:

            I agree John They leave out a lot …………… So skilled aren’t they SAD

          • Dana says:

            Amen, John. We are a hunting family from Kansas. Weak men, and women, hunt like that. My husband sits in a tree not moving for hours with camo and descent on waiting for a buck to come by close enough to get it with an arrow. What these people did is chicken shit sport hunting. They didn’t look malnutritioned or wearing rags to me and needed to kill by any means necessary to feed and clothe themselves or their family.

        • Cd says:

          So you agree with type of killing?

      • M.McLaughlin says:

        Humans learned to hunt effectively without teh unskilled modern weapons. Few modern “hunters’ are even able to see many indicators that show the passage of specific animals I name to those who have accompanied me on walks in nature. Tracking may be a skill I learned as a child from my uncles, but it will not die out merely because some egotistic gunfreak erroneously pretends that he possesses any special skill at all.
        By such time as mentioned, the human race will either have extinguished all or nearly all the large mammals on earth with their sheer excess reproduction, medical technology use, freeway and road building, excessive habitat arrogation, and “management-as game farming.”
        No human is helpless beyond childhood, and present mechanical and metals-technology-dependent “hunters” are NOT saviors, but only a large culpable part of the extinction crisis.

  8. Anonymous person says:

    Well written article.

  9. Brian Pyburn says:

    Please help!

  10. Dodie says:

    It is so difficult for me to understand people who have no compassion for the pain they cause animals that they spear. Dead is dead but please do it humanely

  11. Angeli says:

    I applaud Under Armour company for being realistic and on the side of animals that are being deprived of their animal rights. I do hope Under Armour will also take a look at the atrocities being done to dogs in China and Korea. Hope they can help animal activist to end the dog meat trade in Asia. Thank you HS and Under Armour for being humane and protecting defenseless animals.

    • K.C. Townsend says:

      Thank you for your comments Angeli. I agree that better education about
      plant sources for protein would save many lives as well as spaying and neutering animals around the world..

  12. Anna says:

    He BAITED the bear. That’s not hunting. That’s aggression. That’s cruelty. That’s lazy. That’s dishonest. That’s monstrous.

    He’s a piece evil.

    • Marc Moriez says:

      I guess you are against fishing also.. because of bait..

      Baiting bears is legal in certain States and Provinces, it can put the hunter and the bear in a safer position. Hunting over bait can allow a person to select older bears safely and let the younger ones go safely on..

  13. Jack Sujovolsky says:

    Again….more genes that need o be removed from the population.

  14. Madeleine Knowlton says:

    Trophy hunting should be outlawed…..and it is out of style……

    • Marc Moriez says:

      How do you define trophy hunting? The bears they harvested had the meat taken and processed and eaten. I guess if you eat meat its a trophy?

  15. Paula Hunsicker says:

    This story, the killing of any animal by baiting the spearing is sickening!
    I personally do not believe there is any need for trophy/canned hunting. If you want to hunt, then do it humanely and for food. Otherwise let nature take care of herself. We kill enough animals by running them over with our speeding vehicles! Please stop the trophy/canned/bait hunting

  16. Stephanie Thomas says:

    No more Under Armour for my family. Glad to know that they only react if it might be bad press and only will hurt a small sector of their customer base. I am sure they won’t miss me, but If each person tells 2 more people at least we can all decide to be more humane or ignore.

  17. Souri johnson says:

    I will be supporting your brand that is so wonderful!!!! I love under armour even more!!! Thank you for supporting the beautiful animals??❤️

  18. Donna Leshne says:

    In case you didn’t read that far down:

    No captive hunts from which animals have no hope of escape, no spring hunting, no use of dogs or baiting, no killing of threatened and endangered species, and no killing simply for a trophy with no other purpose would be a good start.

  19. Curt Fields says:

    There is no “fair way” for a human to hunt an animal.

    • Marc Moriez says:

      Hunting isn’t for everyone. But realize this.. there is no real nice humane way for animals in the wild to die.. Other than a logging truck, bullet , arrow and a few other ways, animals in the wild either die in a few ways, they starve, freeze , or get killed by another animal usually … not exactly humane by your standards..

  20. Vincent says:

    Sarah Bowmar crying because she will no longer be receiving that indorsement check?

  21. Jean lee says:

    I will not promote their products anymore if they can’t stand for humane animal treatment. We all know our country is run on money and power at any cost and Under Armor is no different than any other money making company.

  22. Gail says:

    What subhuman enjoys this sick idea of sport. With all the money you have donate it to making the world a better place.

  23. Leslie Hake says:

    Cruel and sickening. Hope one day they come back as one of these hunted animals in the second life .

  24. Tom Anderson says:

    The Bowmars ate the bear, and pretty much everyone I know that hunts eats what they kill. Pls define trophy hunting in the context of the article? If someone eats a deer and also mounts the head is that considered trophy hunting?

    Humans have been hunting for thousands and thousands of years. I prefer to eat the steak of a wild animal rather than a steak I bought at the grocery store. What is all the fuss about?

    • Virginia says:

      Can you not eat just vegetables? I do.

      • Max says:

        Yes and you have to kill those to eat it them too. But why should one have to ear vegetables just because you like to. I like meat and will continue to eat meat. Dont push your vegetarianism on others.

    • Dan says:

      I recently met Josh Bowmar. Really nice guy. What people don’t know is that, the Bowmar’s have donated more than 30,000 meals from the animals they have harvested. They pay for all the processing with their own money. Nothing, and I mean nothing, ever goes to waste. I too, would much rather eat a steak from a deer that I harvest over a store bought 1.

  25. Doris Muller says:

    @Tom Anderson

    Since nobody needs to eat the bodies of dead animals to be healthy or to survive, there is no reason to kill animals and to call them “food.” Each animal is a being who values its life. Man started eating animals out of need, he continues out of greed and selfishness.

    The fact that the carcass is eaten is a flimsy excuse to justify taking a life. This attitude comforts the killer and releases him from any feelings of wrong-doing. If hunters didn’t enjoy killing, they wouldn’t do it. And BTW, killing is not conservation. That notion is nothing more than typical hunter’s mantra.

    Compassion for animals should extend to your plate.

    • Jeff says:

      What about living in Alaska,Russia or anywhere where vegetables are not available! Many African and Arabian countries have very little vegetation do you recommend they just starve to death. If you do away with meat that means we will have to do away with more forest to plant more vegetables killing more animals in the process. For every action in nature there is a reaction. You obviously are a expert and thought this out right?

    • Jason says:

      Hunters are BY FAR the biggest contributors to conservation and the protection of animals and our resources. Our license purchases and contributions through annual banquets help fund the DNR to purchase new lands and wildlife refugees where no hunting is allowed. We also donate the meat of animals to local food banks to help families in need. We also harvest hundreds of thousands of deer in some states (240k deer avg per year in Wisconsin) which helps maintain a healthy population of animals to reduce crop damage and vehicular related accidents. Overpopulation of animals promote disease within and across species which create a far worse suffering than a LEGAL and ethical harvest.

      Ask yourself…Do you contribute to any of the above? If no to any, you should rethink your outlook of hunters and what they stand for and provide to the well being of humanity, including yourself.

      • Dave says:

        You can’t tell these close minded people anything. Not a one has ever walked in the woods and picked up trash , or donated 70to80 lbs of meat to a shelter. They don’t get it. I like the comment above , just eat plants… hahaha because those people are so healthy lol

  26. Tom Anderson says:

    Man has been eating meat for thousands of years and has teeth designed to chew meat. I respect people that choose to be vegetarians but folks should respect people that eat meat, just like man has been doing forever.

    It is not greed or selfishness, it is natural evolution. I am not sure why you think you know the motivations and feelings that I have when I am hunting or what drives me to hunt.

  27. Doris Muller says:


    Are you implying that in some countries the population exists solely by consuming dead animals? I live in the US, nonetheless, much of the produce I purchase is imported from other countries. And as for needing to turn more land into farm land, not so. A significant amount of ag lands are used to grow food for animals or to graze animals on. Then there is the fact that most processed foods containing animal remains are very unhealthy.


    I am proud to say that I do not support the killing of innocent animals by purchasing licenses or participating in fund raisers that aid and abet their demise. Departments of conservation pretty much had to be created to protect animals, lands, and many other areas from the destruction caused by the human predator. Therefore, it is only right that those responsible for the destruction should help pay for the protection. If my tax dollars are used in the protection of the animals and their habitat, then, I fully support that use of my money. You state, “. We also donate the meat of animals to local food banks…” As far as I’m concerned, that statement tells me that the victim was killed for the joy of killing, and the killer had no personal use for the carcass–no different than trophy hunting. This phrase, “… LEGAL and ethical harvest.” is problematic. “LEGAL,”– this is true; “ethical,”?– Killing is violence, and violence is not “ethical!; The term “harvest”–brutality by any other name is still brutality.

    @Tom Anderson

    You state, “Man has been eating meat for thousands of years and has teeth designed to chew meat” I will repeat, man started out of need, he continues out of greed and selfishness. And as for the teeth comment, the fact that we grind our food with our teeth has absolutely nothing to do with “meat.” What others eat for the most part is not my concern. But when the choice of diet includes a victim who has been violently killed, then, it ceases to be merely a personal food choice.

  28. Tom Anderson says:

    Can someone please define trophy hunting? How does it differ from hunting?

  29. Fran Leard says:

    This is so inhumane that a big company can support trophy hunting when the animals are hunted for no reason. You better believe they don’t kill for the food.
    How can this be a sport when the greedy cowards have guns and the animals need to run for their life?

    I’m sending out emails to all friends to boycott U.A. for these horrific disgusting
    senseless killings.

  30. Chad says:

    This was a legal hunt. Just because you do not understand it, support it, or talk against it. You are talking about freedoms and trying to take it away makes no sense. Animals are killed everyday all over the world to feed people. Hunting is a way of life for many people around the world and has been since humans first stepped foot on this planet. I have no issue with this legal hunt or any other hunting.

    Legal Hunt. Great Couple. Under Armour Caved. Support Freedoms.

  31. Tom Anderson says:

    What is more humane, a bear living free for his whole life and then quickly dying or chickens being pumped full of chemicals, living in a chicken house with no ability to wander and then quickly dying?

    Both done for food…is everyone mad at Wal-Mart for selling chicken? That is a big company supporting animals being killed for food.

    And no one seems willing to define trophy hunting… I o me it would be killing an animal purely to hang on your wall. That is wanton waste and illegal in (I think) every state. Legality aside, I don’t know anyone that does that, here or abroad.

  32. Debra A Gannon says:

    I thought baiting was against the LAW!! Why aren’t they arrested?? I heard it was very clear in the video they baitef the site. I myself could not watch the video the thougt of watching a beautiful animal being sacrificed for no good reason makes me sick!!! I would like to dress them up as bears send them in the woods and let people hunt them down. See how that feels you sub human POS!!!

  33. David Bernazani says:

    Lisa- you’re wrong. We don’t want any animals to be killed for any reason. Wayne Pacelle is a vegan (as I am) and has been for decades, because he doesn’t believe animals should die for our food, clothing, testing or entertainment.
    Sometimes it’s not easy to find animal-free products, but we do it because we love them. What’s so “hypocritical” about that? And how dare you claim we “don’t give a damn about animals?” You couldn’t be more wrong!

Share a Comment

The HSUS encourages open discussion, and we invite you to share your opinion on our issues. By participating on this page, you are agreeing to our commenting policy.
Please enter your name and email address below before commenting. Your email address will not be published.