Rock star Ted Nugent, a 1970s guitar hero for hits including "Cat Scratch Fever," has recently created a successful second career as an advocate for hunting and outdoor ethics.
His television show, "Spirit of the Wild," is a four-time "Golden Moose" award winner on the Outdoor Channel. He has used his celebrity status to help promote better pay and working conditions for California game wardens, and consistently rails against poachers and other wildlife criminals.
So it was with a double take of disbelief that two California game wardens sat down in February to watch the show, and witnessed Nugent allegedly violate several California hunting laws.
The Feb. 9 episode showed Nugent killing a young male deer with bow and arrow near the El Dorado County town of Somerset.
The wardens were alarmed because the footage appeared to show Nugent killing a "spike" buck, or one whose antlers have not yet grown long enough to fork. Killing such a young deer is illegal in California.
It also appeared to show the deer feeding on a powdery material spread on the ground before it was shot.
The Department of Fish and Game launched an investigation, spokesman Patrick Foy said, which later revealed this material to be a commercial deer bait. It is illegal in California to hunt with bait.
"We looked at it and we just shook our heads, saying 'I can't believe he actually aired this episode,' " Foy said. "We were all really disappointed to see this happen with a guy who is a representative of hunters."
Nugent was later charged with 11 misdemeanors related to events that unfolded on his own television show, Foy said.
On Friday, following a plea deal with the Yuba County district attorney, Nugent pleaded no contest to two misdemeanors in Yuba Superior Court: illegally baiting a deer, and failing to have a deer tag signed by a government official after a kill.
Nugent did not appear in court. He was represented by Yuba City attorney Jack Kopp, who did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday. The 61-year-old rocker, who lives in China Springs, Texas, was penalized with a $1,750 fine.
To read the complete article, visit www.sacbee.com.