By Yereth Rosen
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - Rock musician and conservative activist Ted Nugent pleaded guilty on Tuesday to a federal wildlife violation after he failed to track down and kill a black bear he wounded with bow and arrow in Alaska during filming for his reality television show three years ago.
Nugent, 63, pleaded guilty by telephone in U.S. District Court in Ketchikan, Alaska to a single misdemeanor count of violating an environmental protection law, his attorney Wayne Anthony Ross said.
Under a plea deal filed in court Friday and approved at Tuesday's hearing, Nugent agreed to pay a $10,000 fine, be forbidden from hunting in Alaska or any U.S. national forest for a year and to serve two years' probation.
The sentence also requires Nugent to film a public service announcement about responsible hunting to air at least every other week for a year, and to pay $600 in restitution to the state of Alaska.
"I cherish my hunting time and relationships with the people and the wildlife of Alaska," Nugent said, according to an audio recording of the hearing published by Anchorage Daily News. "I'm afraid I was blindsided by this, and I sincerely apologize to everyone for it."
The violation was during a 2009 bow-hunting trip filmed for Nugent's reality television show, "Ted Nugent Spirit of the Wild." Nugent hit and wounded one bear on May 22, 2009 but failed to locate that animal, according to court documents. Four days later, Nugent shot and killed a different black bear, transporting his prey by boat out of the national forest.
Alaska hunting regulations establish an annual bag limit of one black bear per designated geographic area. In that region of southeast Alaska, a wounded bear counts toward the bag limit under state regulations. Regulations also require hunters to track down wounded animals.
By exceeding his state bag limit and transporting the dead animal out of federal territory, Nugent violated the Lacey Act, according to the plea agreement.
Ross said Nugent, at the time of the hunt, was not aware that the wounded bear counted toward his bag limit.
Nugent, who is best known for hit 1970s songs including "Cat Scratch Fever" and "Motor City Madhouse," drew national attention last week because of critical remarks he made about President Barack Obama at the National Rifle Association convention.
Nugent told NRA supporters in St. Louis that he would be "dead or in jail" next year if Obama is re-elected in the November 6 election.
"We need to ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in November," Nugent said in comments directed at administration officials.
Secret Service agents requested a meeting with Nugent to determine if he was a threat to the president. Last Thursday, Nugent said he had a "solid" meeting with Secret Service agents. The Secret Service said the matter had been resolved with no further action expected.
Ross said the year-long prohibition on hunting in Alaska or on any national forest territory and the two-year probationary term will not deter Nugent from hunting in general.
(Editing by Mary Slosson and Eric Walsh)
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