Monday, November 27, 2006
– Troy Gentry of Montgomery Gentry, pleaded to a lesser offense of inaccurately tagging a bear as, based on a Minnesota prosecution's recent decision to reduce the initial charge from a felony to a misdemeanor.
Gentry had said the bear was killed in the wild instead of an enclosed area.
Under the plea, the 39-year-old country singer agreed to pay a $15,000 fine, give up hunting, fishing and trapping in Minnesota for 5 years, and forfeit both the bear's hide and the bow he used to shoot the animal in 2004. The bear, "Cubby," was killed in a 3-acre private enclosure.
The incident happened when Gentry was with a hunting guide, Lee Marvin Greenly. He pleaded guilty to two felony charges of helping other hunters shoot bears at illegal baiting stations he maintained inside a national wildlife refuge in east-central Minnesota. He faces up to 5 years for each count and a maximum fine of $400,000.
U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson cited on record that to date, he received "a number of communications that did not reflect the charge at all" and therefore concurred that, "Mr. Gentry didn't tag this bear properly. That's the charge." At no time was it ever alleged that the bear was illegally killed, according to a press release from his label.
Gentry attorney Ron Meshbesher said his client's response was to a "simple charge having to do with improper tagging of a game animal. That's all it ever was."
Gentry said, "I did participate in improperly tagging the animal I shot, without realizing the seriousness of what I was doing. For that, I am truly sorry. I relied on the experts around me for guidance, and I regret that today. Not so much because I was fined and punished, but because it appears that I don't have respect for the law. This has been a humbling experience for me and one which I deeply regret."