Ted Nugent agrees to plea deal over illegal killing of black bear in Alaska
By Chelsea J. Carter, CNN
(CNN) – Rocker and avid hunter Ted Nugent has agreed to pay a fine, serve probation and record a public service announcement as part of a deal to plead guilty to transporting an illegally killed black bear in Alaska, according to court documents.
The plea deal, filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Anchorage, Alaska, stems from federal allegations that arose during a bear hunt in May 2009 that was filmed for Nugent’s television show, “Spirit of the Wild,” on the Outdoor Channel.
News of the plea deal broke a day after Nugent was questioned and cleared by the Secret Service over comments he made at an annual meeting of the National Rifle Association where he said he would be “dead or in jail” if President Barack Obama were re-elected.
In the plea agreement, Nugent admitted to shooting and killing a bear using a bow and arrow during a hunt on Sukkwan Island in southeast Alaska, just days after he wounded another bear.
Alaska limits licensed hunters to the bagging of one bear per hunting season. Under the law, the wounding of a bear counts toward the season’s bag limit.
“Nugent failed to locate and harvest the wounded bear,” the plea agreement said.
Where the federal charge against Nugent — a misdemeanor count of violating the Lacey Act — comes in to play, according to court documents, is that he left the island by boat with the dead bear and “knew or should have known, in the exercise of due care, that the black bear was taken, possessed or transported in violation of a law or regulation of the United States.”
Neither the federal complaint nor the plea agreement revealed how federal authorities found out about the violation, though scenes from the hunt aired on Nugent’s show. Nugent nor his attorney, Wayne Anthony Ross, immediately responded to a CNN request for comment.
News of the plea deal comes as Nugent is promoting another bear hunt, this time in Quebec, Canada, on his web site.
As part of the plea deal, Nugent has agreed to pay a $10,000 fine, not to hunt or fish within Alaska or on any other U.S. Forest Service lands for one year. The deal also includes two years probation.
Additionally, according to the agreement, Nugent agreed to create a public service announcement that promotes the importance of a person’s responsibility in knowing the rules and regulations of their hunting activities.
The televised announcement, which must be approved by federal prosecutors in Alaska, must be at least 30 to 60 seconds in length and be broadcast every second week on his television show for one 12-month period, according to the plea agreement.
A federal judge still must sign off on the agreement.
Under federal sentencing guidelines, the maximum penalty is one year in prison and $100,000 fine.
Nugent’s attorney told the Anchorage Daily News on Friday that his client, who has previously hunted in the same area, was unaware of the law, which was introduced less than five years ago. He told the newspaper he watched the video clip from Nugent’s show and the arrow “touched” the bear and stuck in the ground.
“There wasn’t any blood trail that they could find,” Ross said. “There was a little blood apparently at the spot, but nothing that indicated the bear was hard hit.”
On Thursday, the Secret Service said it resolved questions regarding comments that Nugent, a conservative activist and gun rights advocate, made about President Obama during a speech at an NRA convention in St. Louis, Missouri.
“If Barack Obama becomes the president in November again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year,” Nugent said, according to a video that the NRA posted on YouTube. “If you can’t go home and get everybody in your lives to clean house in this vile, evil, America-hating administration, I don’t even know what you’re made out of.”
The video has since been removed.
Many have questioned whether Nugent was alluding to violence against the president.
Earlier Thursday, Nugent issued a statement confirming his meeting and describing it as a “good, solid, professional meeting concluding that I have never made any threats of violence towards anyone. The meeting could not have gone better. I thanked them for their service, we shook hands and went about our business. God bless the good federal agents wherever they may be.”
Nugent, the self-styled “Motor City Madman,” gained musical fame in the 1960s as a member of the psychedelic band The Amboy Dukes, then as a solo act in the 1970s and later as a member of the 1980s supergroup Damn Yankees. He is probably best known for the1977 rock anthem, “Cat Scratch Fever.”