SEATTLE -- Just when they thought Ted Nugent didn’t have any more arrows to unleash, it turns out he did: specifically, an arrow aimed at a bear during a hunting trip in southeastern Alaska that has now landed the rocker-turned-outdoorsman in federal court.
In a plea agreement filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Anchorage, Nugent will plead guilty to one count of transporting an illegally hunted bear — an offense that could result in a $10,000 fine.
Nugent, 63, was on Alaska’s Sukkwan Island in May 2009 filming an episode of his Outdoor Channel television show, “Ted Nugent Spirit of the Wild,” which is described on his website as the “ultimate hands-on conservation lifestyle television show.” According to court documents, he was bow hunting near a bait station designed to attract black bears when he fired an arrow that wounded a bear, which then ran off.
Nugent “failed to locate and harvest the wounded black bear,” the plea agreement said, and then four days later, he shot and killed another black bear at one of the registered bait sites and then transported it off the island.
The problem: Alaska hunting regulations say the first wounded bear fulfilled his bag limit; the second one was an illegal kill. Transporting it off the island made it a violation of the federal Lacey Act.
Nugent has been in the news over remarks he made at the National Rifle Assn. convention earlier this month in which he called the Obama administration “vile, evil and America-hating” and invited the president to suck on his machine gun.
“If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year,” Nugent predicted at the convention.
The plea agreement filed Friday — the same day as the criminal charges — doesn’t call for jail time, though the count he’s pleading to theoretically carries a penalty of up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine.
Instead, prosecutors will recommend two years of probation, a prohibition on hunting and fishing in Alaska and on any U.S. Forest Service lands for one year and a fine of $10,000. The agreement also calls for Nugent to create a public service announcement to air every other week on “Ted Nugent Spirit of the Wild” for a year emphasizing the importance of hunters being familiar with the regulations in areas where they hunt.
A judge has to approve the sentencing recommendation during a hearing set for Tuesday, at which Nugent will appear by telephone.
Nugent’s attorney, Wayne Anthony Ross, is a longtime gun rights activist who twice ran for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in Alaska. He did not return telephone calls or emails Friday, but he told the Anchorage Daily News that the arrow only grazed the first bear and it scampered off.
“They've got apparently some crazy law in Southeast [Alaska] that says if you even touch an animal with an arrow, it becomes your animal,” Ross told the paper. “He looked to see if he had hit it and didn't believe that he'd hit it fatally.”
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