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Troy Gentry faces charges over bear hunt

Wednesday, August 16, 2006 – Troy Gentry of Montgomery Gentry pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Federal Court for the District of Minnesota in a 2004 incident involving killing a bear. Gentry pleaded not guilty to a charge of conspiring with a licensed commercial bear guide and the owner of a private game farm in Minnesota.

Gentry's lawyer said in a prepared statement, "While up in a tree stand, Troy used a bow and arrow to kill a bear that was running free in a several-acre fenced area in the game farm."

Reports said Gentry purchased a captive bear named Cubby for $4,650 from Greenly and killed the bear on Greenly's property. The kill was registered with the state Department of Natural Resources as if it had been killed in the wild, a violation of the law. The government claims that a videotape of the bear's death was edited to make it appear that Gentry shot the bear legally.

Lee Marvin Greenly, owner of a Sandstone, Minn., wildlife refuge that had wolves and bears on its 80 acres, also was charged in the alleged incident.

A jury trial is slated to begin in Duluth, Minn. Nov. 27. Gentry could face 5 years in jail and a $20,000 fine if found guilty.

"Troy is an avid environmentalist and hunter who supports and follows all game laws," the statement said. "Before he killed the bear, he was told by the bear guide that it was proper and legal to kill the bear, which was not a tamed bear and was never in a pen or cage. Troy used his correct name on his Minnesota bear hunting license and never attempted to disguise his identity."

"The allegation that the video of the bear shoot was edited for the purpose of mischaracterizing the circumstances of the bear shoot is false. The only editing done was to remove the ‘dead time' from the video tape (more than 1 hour long) reducing the tape to about 15 minutes. The video was for Troy's personal use and was never intended to be and was not used commercially. The bear hide was shipped under Troy's name to a taxidermist in Kentucky and prepared into a taxidermy mount.

"Troy is accused of knowingly and willfully conspiring to violate federal law by taking the bear and transporting its hide from Minnesota to Kentucky and later to Tennessee. Troy absolutely denies that he knowingly and willfully did anything illegal and is confident that he will be exonerated."

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