Theresa Vail, a former Miss Kansas, has pled guilty to killing an Alaska grizzly bear without a state hunting tag.
Vail, who was also the host of an adventure television show, reportedly held a single, non-resident bear tag, according to court documents. The Associated Press reported, via MSN, that Vail went on a guided hunting trip last May, where she saw two bears — one male and one female. Vail shot the male bear and then fired a second shot intending to hit the male bear again. However, Vail’s second bullet struck the female bear, resulting in the death of both animals.
Joseph Andrew Miller, who was Theresa Vail’s guide on the hunt, contacted the master guide, Michael Wade Renfro. Together, they made the decision to fly out another tag for Miller to attach to the female bear. Renfro then had Vail sign the tag document on May 27 but insisted she backdate it to the date of the original hunt. The charging documents, according to the Wichita Eagle, stated that the authorities were never contacted about the death of the second bear.
Former Miss Kansas Theresa Vail pleads guilty in illegal hunting case: https://t.co/IrEZGv91FU
— The Kansas City Star (@KCStar) January 8, 2016
Vail, who hosted the Outdoor Channel series Limitless with Theresa Vail, pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge on Wednesday and was sentenced to one year probation and a $750 fine. Her sentence also included $1,300 restitution that she could possibly split with Renfro and Miller if they are also convicted of the misdemeanor charges. The second charge against Vail was dismissed in court.
Myron Angstman, Renfro’s attorney, said his client has “accepted responsibility for his actions and regrets them.” Angstman said they are currently negotiating with the state in hopes of coming to an agreement “that everybody can live with.”
Kevin Fitzgerald, Vail’s attorney, said she had wanted to report the violation to the authorities sooner, but she ended up signing the tag instead. After becoming overwhelmed with guilt for harvesting the second bear, the authorities were notified.
— goHUNT (@goHUNT) January 8, 2016
In December, the Outdoor Channel released a statement saying that they are committed to “legal, ethical hunting.” They added that Vail and her production team had alerted the authorities to the situation in June, and that particular hunt never aired on television for their viewers to see.
“Outdoor Channel is committed to legal and ethical hunting,” an Outdoor Channel spokesperson said at the time. “We have strict policies and procedures in place that require all of our talent and producers to abide by all hunting regulations. In June, Theresa Vail and the ‘Limitless’ production team alerted the authorities of the situation. The hunt never aired on Outdoor Channel.”
Theresa Vail, the 25-year-old former beauty queen, has since apologized for her actions for taking poor advice and going along with an illegal hunt. She said she is “deeply sorry” for what she did and has been cooperating with the authorities completely since the hunt.
“This May, during an Alaskan guided bear hunt, I unintentionally harvested a second bear while attempting a follow up shot,” Vail said in a statement, according to Fox News. “I then followed poor advice and allowed the second bear to be improperly tagged. A few days later, the film crew and I reported the incident and have since fully cooperated with the proper authorities. I am deeply sorry for my mistakes.”
[Photo by PR NEWSWIRE/Associated Press]