TV hunting star and co-founder of Wildgame Innovations Bill Busbice, Jr. has been convicted of poaching and hunting without a license in Wyoming this week. Busbice is the host of multiple hunting television shows such as Country Buck$ on A&E and Wildgame Nation on the Outdoors Channel. Busbice was charged with poaching an elk calf and leaving it to waste. This is a slap to the face of most hunters, as conservation and ethical harvesting are important to the hunting community.
According to sources, Bill Busbice, of Louisiana, was hunting on property he owns in Wyoming when a group of other hunters observed him shooting an antlerless female calf before shooting a bull elk. An unnamed younger hunter seemed to be filming Busbice’s hunt. Upon taking down the male elk, the hunters examined the carcasses and then left the scene. A different man later returned to harvest the male with a backhoe. Busbice admitted to authorities that he had accidentally shot the calf while attempting to kill the bull, and then instructed his partners to hide the calf in a nearby drainage ditch.
This is not the first time Busbice has run afoul of the law. He was cited earlier in 2016 for purchasing a resident hunting license, despite not being a resident of Wyoming. He was also issued a citation for purchase more than the allowed amount of deer tags, for which he paid $1,430 in fines. For the current charges, a judge ordered Busbice to a commuted jail sentence, one and a half years of unsupervised probation, and a fine $23,000 for restitution. Additionally, Bill Busbice will lose his hunting and fishing privileges in 45 different states for the next two years.
Bill Busbice is known for his popular hunting shows Country Bucks$ and Wildgame Nation. Country Buck$ aired on A&E from 2015 to 2015. Busbice is also the host of Wildgame Nation, which airs on The Outdoor Channel. Like the Robertsons of Duck Dynasty fame, the Busbice family became hunting reality stars after growing their small hunting accessory business, Wildgame Innovations, to a multi-million dollar company.
As the conviction became public knowledge, many groups that had sponsored or worked with the Busbice family have cut ties and distanced themselves from the poacher. The Outdoor Sportsman Group and their Outdoor Channel released the following statement:
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.”
Plano Synergy, the company that purchased Busbice’s Wildgame Innovations business and employed him as the host of the Wildgame Nation television show, also sent out the following press release:
Over the course of the past 48 hours, Plano Synergy became aware of a situation which required swift and decisive action.
Today, Bill Busbice and Plano Synergy mutually agreed to end their association. Bill Busbice and his partners sold their outdoor brands to Plano Synergy in 2013. Since then, Bill has been providing services under contract to Plano Synergy, principally as a host of the Wildgame Nation television program, until today when that relationship was severed. Plano Synergy will also be cancelling the Wildgame Nation TV show.
Plano Synergy has a culture that is grounded in integrity and great respect for the outdoors. This comes with the expectation that we will always do the right thing. Our decisions will always reflect our commitments to our customers and consumers. We have a deep respect for the law, tradition and the ethical practices of our sports. We take pride in serving our industry and promote the fair and lawful practices of game hunting. Every day we strive to be a company that is trustworthy, respectful and fair with our consumers, employees, customers and business partners.