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Rock star Nugent fined for baiting deer on TV show
Rock star and gun rights advocate Ted Nugent was fined $1,750 Friday in Yuba County Superior Court after pleading no contest to a charge of baiting deer on his hunting show "Spirit of the Wild."
Yuba City attorney Jack Kopp, representing Theodore Anthony Nugent, entered the plea to Department of Fish and Game charges of baiting deer and not having a deer tag "countersigned" at the closest possible location, said Deputy District Attorney John Vacek.
Nugent, who did not appear in court, also illegally shot an immature buck on the show but was not charged, according to Fish and Game.
Baiting deer is legal in some states but not in California, said department spokesman Patrick Foy. Baiting supplies are sold at some outdoor stores, he said.
The deer was killed in El Dorado County toward the end of deer hunting season last fall but brought to Yuba County. Two co-defendants, Mitchell Neil Moore and Ross Albert Patterson, live in Yuba County, said Vacek.
Moore was a photographer on the Outdoor Channel show. Patterson, who pleaded no contest to taking an animal with bait, actively spread bait called "C'mere Deer." His family owns the El Dorado County property where the hunt took place, said Foy.
Two deer were killed after being baited, said Vacek.
Moore and Patterson also were represented by Kopp and did not appear in court. Moore, who pleaded no contest to possessing an animal illegally, was fined $700. Patterson was fined $1,225.
Judge James F. Dawson ordered all three men to pay the fines by Oct. 1.
Nugent was originally facing a charge of killing a "spike" — an immature buck — on the program, but the charge was dropped during negotiations between his attorney and the Yuba County District Attorney's Office, said Foy.
A spike is a deer with two antlers that have not yet "forked," Foy said.
A Fish and Game warden saw the show in March and "just about fell out of his chair" when he saw Nugent with the buck, according to Foy.
A subsequent investigation led to the baiting charge. A search warrant was served in April at Moore's home in Yuba County, said Foy.
Nugent was "very cooperative" when contacted in March after the show aired, Foy said.
Fish and Game decided to treat Nugent as it would any other violator and so did not issue a press release when the charges were filed Aug. 6, Foy said.
Kopp declined comment as he left the courtroom.
A Nugent assistant at "Tedquarters" in Jackson, Mich., Linda Peterson, and his music management firm, McGhee Entertainment, had no comment.
Nugent is on a concert tour, including several stops in California, according to his website.
A Nugent biography on the website activemusician.com calls him "an outspoken advocate of hunting and gun ownership rights and the owner of 350 guns himself."
Nugent has served on the National Rifle Association's board of directors since 1995 and has had a long adversarial relationship with the animal rights movement, according to the biography.