With an expectation to perform, the need for those who operate within the wildly competitive hunting television world to question their morals can often come into play. Such was the case in an incident that involved reality TV star Billy A. Buspice Jr. while filming for his show Wildgame Nation which airs on the Outdoor Channel.
Buspice was in court late last month on charges of intentionally allowing an antlerless elk to go to waste and taking an elk without a proper license.
Wyoming game warden Chris Baird received a tip on October 16, 2016, from a group of hunters reporting that they witnessed what they believed to be a wildlife violation on the Spring Creek Ranch, which is owned by Buspice.
“The hunters told me that on the morning of October 15th they observed a man hunting on the ranch,” Baird told WYO4News. “Apparently, there was a younger man with the hunter who had a video camera and appeared to be filming the hunt. They watched the hunter shoot one elk, presumably a cow, and then shoot a bull. The first elk fell within around 60 yards of where the bull went down. They observed the hunter and the cameraman walk up to look at the bull and then leave the area.”
As the story goes, Baird was told that while another man came into field dress the bull elk and take it away using a backhoe, the initial elk, a cow, still lay in the meadow. The following day Baird was able to intercept and interview Buspice before he was scheduled to fly back to his home state of Louisiana, where he admitted to accidentally shooting a calf elk while he was attempting to harvest the large bull.
He went on to tell Baird that he had instructed both the ranch manager and his cameraman to drag the calf into a nearby irrigation ditch to conceal the animal, making no attempt to salvage any of the meat.
“Mr. Busbice told me they had been filming the elk hunt to feature on his reality TV hunting show,” Baird said. The video and audio recording shows that Mr. Busbice shot several times at a large bull in a herd of elk and missed several times. The video then shows Mr. Busbice shooting and hitting a calf, and the calf goes down.
“On his fourth shot, Busbice hits the bull in the left shoulder,” Baird said. It then falls to the ground. At the end of the video you can hear Busbice say, “We have to eliminate that part when I shot a cow.” He also is recorded saying, “Yeah, but we got to get rid of that cow.”
In court last month, Buspice was sentenced to 180 days of jail time suspended on the condition that he lead a law-abiding life during one and a half years of unsupervised probation. Additionally, he was ordered to pay the maximum restitution for both of the elk to the total of $23,000 and had his hunting and fishing privileges revoked for a two-year period.