The behavior exhibited by some people never ceases to amaze me. Yet often this same behavior has a tendency to down-right disgust me. Especially because to the general public this sort of negative press is often attributed to being a “hunter” and the sport of hunting, not to some criminal act totally separate from our beloved traditions. Again, we’re all given a black-eye because one of our own falls miserably short when it comes to using good judgment and discretion in their behavior.
I’m talking about the recent indictment of country music artist Troy Gentry. Allegedly he is accused of purchasing a tame black bear that federal officials are claiming he shot with a bow inside an enclosed pen. Supposedly he paid $4,650 for a bear known as “Cubby” to use while he taped a mock wild black bear kill here in Minnesota back in fall 2004. I’m reading that the bear’s death was videotaped and subsequently edited to make it look like he killed it in a “fair chase” hunting situation. Supposedly he even registered the kill with the MN DNR as if it were wild in an effort to further this shameful ruse.
If convicted the country singer, as well as the game farm owner of the bear, could face stiff federal charges. Gentry on conspiracy to falsely label an animal and the game farm operator on separate charges. In fact, both could face fines up to $20,000 plus a maximum of 5 years in prison for their respective actions in this little stunt.
Now if I were the judge and they were found guilty…I would be inclined to give them both the maximum penalty because they obviously both are too damn dumb to know how to sensibly act. I doubt either one of them understood the gravity of what they were doing.
Problem is common sense does not always play a big role in directing the lives of some people. Pure greed and the intense desire to be seen as a success among peers will drive men that should know much better to do some really stupid acts. First, take the owner of the bear…if you have a pet animal that presumably you are licensed to keep, how can you sell a pet when you must know the nefarious fate it will eventually have? I guess money has power and intoxicates the sensibilities…how else do you excuse it? Now take the country singer who has even more at stake — namely his reputation. Why would he even take the risk of possibly being publicly exposed as a complete fraud? If convicted he should forever live with the fact the public will see he is a real phony…stripped of any past sportsman accomplishments because now they would all be suspect. Hell, in my book he could have been caught with a street hooker and eventually he might have walked away from that incident salvaging some of his reputation. But not now, not if he is convicted of this violation. Never again should the title of sportsman be in any way associated with his name.
And folks that’s how it ought to be. If the details turn out to be true then apparently Mr. Gentry was under an extreme amount of pressure for the public to see him succeed as a hunter. In the end, all he likely proved was the fact he is a moron lacking a conscience. The sporting community should stand up and ostracize folks like this to never allow them back into our circles. Much like a convicted sex offender has lost all credibility and trustworthiness around kids…is it really much different for someone who purports to be a hunter and sportsman when their behavior has been proven to stoop this low? Seriously, criminals (which is a better term than “hunter” in this case) like this should not be allowed ever again to hold a hunting license…anywhere…period…end of story.
Of course, the likes of defendants such as Gentry will probably claim they were “framed” and the alleged events didn’t happen at all like what is being reported. Yet, I really don’t feel sorry for him. Fact is, he had a video camera rolling that probably served as the biggest piece of evidence against him. I don’t know that for certain, but it’s just a strong hunch I have. Sometimes when the tape is rolling people will do strange and outrageous things for the camera. Of course, it’s one thing to tape events of a hunt as they actually happened, yet another thing to turn it into a Hollywood production by fabricating all the important details.
Personally, I’m not into country music so I wouldn’t be very inclined to listen to this poor excuse for a so-called sportsman/singer anyway. But if I did enjoy that genre of music I would now be very inclined to be voting with my pocketbook and never purchase any of his music again. Besides, why patronize an artist who federal officials are attempting to prove makes poor decisions on spending his money anyway?
© 2006 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.