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Hunting Accident File > VIOLATIONS > 2006

Country singer admits killing penned-in bear

The government alleged that Gentry's taking of the black bear in October 2004 was videotaped and later edited to appear as though Gentry killed the black bear in a "fair chase" hunting situation. According to the indictment, "Cubby" was a "trophy caliber, tame/captive-reared" black bear.

Gentry declined comment outside the courtroom. Minneapolis attorney Ron Meshbesher represented Gentry.

"People thought it was worse than murder," Meshbesher said. "It was a single charge that had to do with improper tagging, and that's all it ever was."

Gentry and co-singer Eddie Montgomery have sold about 4 million records. They won the Country Music Association's Vocal Duo of the Year in 2000. They are known for his such as "My Town" and "If You Ever Stop Loving Me."

The government alleged that Gentry paid Sandstone hunting guide Lee Marvin Greenly $4,650 to shoot the black bear known as "Cubby" on Greenly's 80-acre Minnesota Wildlife Connection property, where he also operates a wildlife photography business. The indictment said that Greenly charges individuals about $750 per guided hunt.

Immediately before Gentry entered his guilty plea, Greenly, 45, appeared before Magnuson and pleaded guilty to two felony violations of the Lacey Act in connection with his work as a licensed commercial hunting guide.

Greenly admitted he and his employees had guided some clients into prohibited areas of the Sandstone Unit of the Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge near Sandstone, where he maintained bear-baiting stations. One of his clients shot and killed two black bears in the prohibited area.

Charges brought against Gentry and Greenly were the result of an investigation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Each of the two crimes Greenly pleaded guilty to is punishable by potential maximum penalties of five years in prison and $250,000 fines. The U.S. Attorney's Office said Greenly agreed to forfeit the two all-terrain vehicles used in the commission of his crimes in the prohibited regions of the wildlife refuge.

Magnuson ordered a pre-sentence investigation for both defendants. Sentencing dates have not been set.

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