Adventure show star Theresa Vail is being charged with taking a bear without a permit and attempting to cover up her crime. According to reports, the former Miss Kansas shot and killed an Alaska grizzly bear without a valid locking tag. She is further accused of falsifying documents to suggest the kill was legal.
As reported by Alaska Dispatch News, the incident occurred during a May hunting trip, which was arranged by Michael “Wade” Renfro’s Alaskan Adventures.
Authorities confirmed Theresa Vail obtained one locking tag — which permitted her to hunt and kill one animal. Although her first shot struck a male grizzly bear, the adventure show host allegedly inadvertently killed another bear with her second shot.
— AnimalAbusers (@AnimalAbusers) December 8, 2015
Instead of reporting the mistake to authorities, Renfro allegedly arranged a scam to cloak illegal kill.
According to an official report, which was filed by Alaska State Troopers, “Renfro obtained a locking tag under false pretense and then falsified paperwork to support and claim that the animal was taken lawfully.”
The incident was eventually reported to authorities by an Outdoor Channel crew, which was filming the trip for an episode of Limitless With Theresa Vail. A spokesperson for the adventure show confirmed the footage will not be aired.
As reported by KansasCity.com, Outdoor Sportsman Group Director of Communications Tom Caraccioli said the Outdoor Channel has “strict policies and procedures in place that require all of [their] talent and producers to abide by all hunting regulations.”
The Outdoor Channel refused to comment on the charges against Vail. However, the spokesperson did confirm she will be hosting the upcoming season of the National Rifle Association’s series NRA All Access — which will begin airing on December 30.
— The Kansas City Star (@KCStar) December 8, 2015
The hunting of brown and grizzly bears is strongly regulated by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
Most importantly, non-residents are required to obtain a hunting license and a locking tag, which must be secured to the animal “immediately after the kill and must remain there until processed or exported.” Each locking tag my be used only once, and is not transferable to another hunter.
Authorities believe the adventure show star shot the bear accidentally. However, she and her guides were legally responsible for reporting the kill to authorities.
Theresa Vail first gained national attention in September 2013, when she was a contestant in the Miss America pageant. As discussed on her Facebook page, Vail was “the first Miss America contestant in 93 years to display tattoos.” She was also admired for her service as a mechanic in the Kansas Army National Guard and her passion for hunting and Second Amendment rights.
Although she did not win the contest, Theresa was hired by the Outdoor Channel as the host of her own self-titled adventure show. She was later offered a contract with Bass Pro Shops, where she represents a line of hunting accessories and gear for women. Beginning in late December, the former beauty queen will host the fifth season of NRA All Access.
Vail also works as a motivational speaker and often appears at churches, schools, and women’s groups.
Theresa Vail strongly believes her faith and “the many skills she has learned during her continued military service” have contributed to her ongoing success.
In a January interview with Fox News, Theresa said her father taught her to hunt when she was 10 years old. Although she and her father hunted for food, the adventure show star said that for her, hunting was a much-needed escape.
Vail said she faced a lot of adversity during her childhood and was nearly driven to take her own life. The former beauty queen said hunting with her father helped her put things into perspective.
“I nearly committed suicide. My dad was the one that said, ‘You know what Theresa, we need to find you something that you love. Something that makes you want to stay alive’… It became our special thing, none of the other kids did it.”
The adventure show star has not commented on the bear debacle. However, the Outdoor World spokesperson confirmed she and her guides are cooperating with authorities in their investigation into the incident.
[Photo Courtesy Of PRNewsFoto/Comanche Outfitters, LLC]