MARYSVILLE, CA - Rock star and hunting enthusiast Ted Nugent pleaded no contest last week to charges stemming from a television appearance earlier this year that showed the rocker using forbidden methods to kill a young deer.
An attorney for Nugent, 61, entered the plea in Yuba County Superior Court Friday to misdemeanor counts of baiting a deer and not acquiring an authorized signature after killing a deer, according to California Department of Fish and Game spokesman Patrick Foy.
Foy said the case started when two California game wardens saw Nugent kill a young deer with a bow and arrow in Yuba County on Nugent's Outdoor Channel series "Spirit of the Wild" last February.
"They watched him appear to shoot a spiked buck, which is an illegal buck to take, because it's too small. And he had it right there on television, and it wasn't live, it was taped," Foy said.
On the show, Nugent is shown using a commercial deer bait called "C'mere Deer" to lure a young buck, then shooting the animal with a bow and arrow. Using bait to entice animals for hunting purposes is illegal in California.
Nugent also pleaded to failing to get his hunting tag countersigned, which means that while the killing of the deer itself may have been legal, Nugent did not receive a signature from an authorized individual to confirm the kill's legality. The other counts against Nugent were dropped as part of the plea agreement, including charges of killing a deer too young to be hunted, Foy said.
In a deal negotiated by his attorney, Nugent pleaded guilty to two of the nine charges he initially faced.
Nugent, who did not appear in court last week, must pay a $1,750 fine for the case to be complete, Foy said.
"We were disappointed because he had been an advocate for hunting, so for him to make this decision was very disappointing," Foy said.
Sacramento bow hunter Oscar Ramirez said local hunters were stunned by Nugent's actions.
"To do something illegal and put it on the show was very disappointing. it absolutely, as a hunter, is difficult to hear that," Ramirez said.
Nicknamed the "Motor City Madman," Nugent has sold over 30 million albums over his four-decade career as the guitarist and singer behind such 70s hits as "Cat Scratch Fever" and "Stranglehold."
In recent years, Nugent has been an outspoken advocate for conservative views and an ardent supporter of hunting and gun ownership rights.