Rocker Nugent pleads guilty to illegally killing Alaska black bear

Jill Burke

Rocker, hunter and high-profile National Rifle Association member Ted Nugent is a now a federal convict. On Tuesday, Nugent pleaded guilty in an Alaska courtroom to a 2009 misdemeanor hunting violation of the Lacey Act.

Prosecutors have said it was only after the hunt aired on Nugent's television show, that the rocker was busted – viewers recognized a problem with the way the hunt was conducted and turned him in. The crime? Taking more black bear than allowed. Although Nugent only killed and transported one black bear, he had earlier in the hunt wounded another, something the star didn't apparently know was illegal until he got in trouble.

Alaska law requires a hunter who wounds a black bear in the area Nugent was hunting to count it as a “take.” So when Nugent went on to kill a different bear, he violated the law by exceeding his bag limit.

Nugent is banned in hunting in Alaska for one year, will spend two years on probation, and must pay a $10,000 fine. He has also pledged to produce a public service message that will air on his show every second week for a year and will pay $600 to the state of Alaska. The announcement will let hunters know it's their responsibility to know hunting laws and regulations, and will air routinely for year during Nugent's television show.

Alaska Dispatch's own veteran outdoors correspondent Craig Medred discusses the complexities of state and federal law and concludes that a plea deal may have been necessary for Nugent to avoid risks that would be too unpleasant for a television hunting show host and well-known gun-rights activist to take.