Under Armour’s “dedication” to the hunting community has its limits, apparently.
The No. 2 U.S. sportswear maker recently announced that it will no longer be sponsoring the wife of a man who killed a bear with a spear and posted the kill online. The video sparked outrage among animal rights activists and those unfamiliar with spear hunting, and Under Armour wasted no time disassociating itself from the couple.
Under Armour spokesman Danielle Daly told Reuters that while the company is “dedicated to the hunting community,” spear hunting is a step too far. “The method used to harvest this animal was reckless and we do not condone it,” she said.
The video depicts Josh Bowmar in the woods of Alberta (western Canada) as he stalks and kills a bear with a hunting spear. Bowmar scores a clean hit, but the video does not follow the bear as it runs away. Instead, viewers see Bowmar celebrating his kill: “Can you believe this?” he says, smiling and laughing. “That was something else.”
The Mirror first drew attention to the video, calling Bowmar’s hunt a “sick new low,” “horrific,” and “appalling.” The lede claims that Bowmar “left the animal to die a slow, excruciating death.”
To anyone unfamiliar with spear hunting (as The Mirror’s author clearly is), the kill certainly looks cruel. But, as Josh Bowmar explained to The Huffington Post, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
“The bear I speared only ran 60 yards and died immediately, that’s as humane and ethical as one could get in a hunting situation on big game animals. Trust me, no one cares more about these animals than us hunters, especially me,” he said in an emailed statement last week.
He elaborated in an exclusive article published by Wide Open Spaces: “Anyone that knows animals, they run. When you hit an animal like that, it’s going to run a lot further than 60 yards to evade danger. Which means the bear ran until it died. A bear runs roughly 30 mph. That means it runs about 15 yards a second. So with the bear in the fight or flight mode, running at full speed and only going 60 yards he would have made it there within four seconds.
“That bear was dead within four seconds at most, 10 seconds if he wasn’t running full speed. But let’s go further as to say it was a bear that was capable of running slow and live with it’s vitals cut the way they were, there’s no way it didn’t die within 30 seconds. The animal didn’t suffer any more from my spear than it would with a broadhead from an arrow. The author made me out to be unethical and Under Armour is making me out to be unethical as well. This animal ran on adrenaline and died very quickly and humanely,” Bowmar concluded.
Under Armour, unfortunately, hasn’t found Bowmar’s explanation convincing. They withdrew their sponsorship of Bowmar’s wife, Sarah, who represented (ironically) Under Armour’s new women’s hunting line.
Though there was mention of charges being filed against Bowmar as well, those rumors were dispelled today by the Alberta government, which determined that Bowmar’s hunt was legal.