As one might expect, it didn’t take long for everything to come undone for Bill Buspice and his reality hunting show Wildgame Nation which airs on the Outdoor Channel.
Embroiled in a poaching case, Buspice was sentenced earlier this week and in the wake of these events, the industry and his partners are reacting. As word traveled through the outdoor world about the incident that has since cost Buspice his hunting privileges for 24 months as well as his show and partnership with the company who purchased his Wildgame Innovations organization back in 2013.
The first shot was fired by the top brass at the Outdoor Sportsmen Group, who own and manage the Outdoor Channel along with a number of other high-profile outdoor brands. President and CEO Jim Liberatore released the following statement regarding the incident:
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.”
It wasn’t long before another major partner of Buspice’s surfaced, announcing that the two parties had “mutually agreed to end their association.” The message came from the top, once again, this time from the Chief Executive Officer at Plano Synergy, the organization which purchased Wildgame Innovations from Buspice back in 2013.
“Wildgame Innovations, a subsidiary of Plano Synergy, has a culture that is grounded in integrity, and 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. The reported incidents in no way reflect upon the values of our Company, brands, and employees. Our customers and consumers choose us because they appreciate our never-ending zeal to deliver high-quality products and exceptional service.
We are currently gathering the facts surrounding this incident and offer the assurance of appropriate and swift action. We have a deep respect for 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. We ask for your trust and patience as we collect the facts and determine our next steps. We promise to keep you updated in a timely manner.”
Early this morning, Bill Buspice released a statement of his own, confessing to what happened and asking for the hunting community’s forgiveness in lieu of his lapse of judgement.
While we can certainly agree that what Mr. Buspice did was inexcusable, I believe all of us in the outdoor world are hopeful that this tough lesson is one he truly will take to heart and make good on in the future.