Ted Nugent Reaches Plea Deal After Shooting Black Bear for TV Show

A judge will decide whether to accept sentencing recommendations, including probation and PSAs on his TV show, or send him to prison for a year.
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Ted Nugent has been ensnared by federal prosecutors for shooting a black bear for his TV show, Spirit of the Wild, which airs on the Outdoor Channel. The controversial rocker has agreed to a plea deal for violating the Lacey Act, a federal law that protects certain game species and carries penalties up to a year in prison.

Nugent has been under fire this past week for comments he made at a National Rifle Association meeting. In St. Louis ten days ago, he said about the Barack Obama administration, "We need to ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in November."

The Secret Service investigated and late last week announced that the matter had been resolved.

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But Nugent hasn't been so lucky over a nearly two-year-old hunting trip in Alaska.

According to the plea agreement, between May 21 and May 26, 2009, he went to U.S. Forest Service property on Sukkwan Island in Southeast Alaska. Nugent was filming for his television show, which is produced by his own company called Spirit Wild Productions.

On May 22, he shot and wounded a bear. Alaska law has a seasonal bag limit that limits hunters to one black bear per regulatory year, and wounded bears count towards the total. Instead of locating and harvesting the wounded bear, Nugent continued to hunt, and on May 26, he shot and killed another black bear. The scenes made his TV show.

Violations of the Lacey Act, a misdemeanor, carry up to one year in prison, a $100,000 fine, and five years of probation.

As part of Nugent's plea agreement, he has agreed to two years of probation, a $10,000 fine, and to film a public service announcement that will be broadcast every second week on his TV show for a year. It's up to the judge whether to accept or reject the sentencing recommendation.

The plea agreement was signed by Nugent on April 14, so it's unlikely that the action was retaliation by the federal government for his controversial comments at the NRA meeting. Two years ago, in a similar case, Nugent lost his deer license in California after he entered a no contest plea to a hunting violation.

E-mail: eriq.gardner@thr.com

Twitter: @eriqgardner