Television hunting show star and former Kansas beauty queen Theresa Vail pleaded guilty in an Alaska court to killing a grizzly bear without a tag and admitted to covering up the violation.
Theresa Vail, host of the Outdoor Channel hunting show “Limitless With Theresa Vail,” was sentenced to a year of probation and a $750 fine, according to the Associated Press.
Vail was charged for the violation along with her two guides Joseph Andrew Miller and Michael Wade Renfro. The charges against both guides are still pending.
According to court documents obtained by Grand View Outdoors, Vail was accused of killing a female grizzly bear in western Alaska without a permit and conspired with Renfro and Miller to cover up the violation.
An attorney involved with the case said Vail allegedly took a shot at a boar grizzly during a hunt on May 26 near Aniak, Alaska, and killed it. She took her eye off the sights for a split second to reload and saw what she thought was the same bear standing up, took another shot, and later found out she’d killed a second bear. The attorney said Renfro obtained another bear tag after he’d been alerted of Vail’s second kill.
State officials alleged Vail filled in and backdated the second tag to appear as if it had been obtained before the hunt.
“Vail signed a second Big Game Tag Record for a brown/grizzly bear and backdated it … so it would appear to have been purchased the day the bears were killed,” court documents say. “Vail explained to the investigating wildlife trooper that she signed the tag record on May 27 but backdated it to May 26 at Renfro’s request.”
In a statement posted on her Facebook page, Vail acknowledged the second kill and backdated tagging.
“This May, during an Alaskan guided bear hunt, I unintentionally harvested a second bear while attempting a follow up shot,” Vail said Dec. 8. “I then followed poor advice and allowed the second bear to be improperly tagged.”
“I am deeply sorry for my mistakes,” she added.
The Facebook post admitting the violation has been subsequently removed.
The court documents claim Renfro bought the second bear tag, packed it in a bag then flew over Vail and Miller and dropped it out of his Piper PA-18 plane.
Vail’s attorney told the Associated Press she had wanted to report the violation but wound up signing the tag record. He said she was guilt-ridden after leaving Alaska and wanted to report the matter.
Sources tell Grand View Outdoors it was Vail’s video team that urged her to report the violation.
It is unclear whether the Outdoor Channel will continue to run Limitless, with a network spokesman referring the AP to an earlier statement saying the show with the bear kill wouldn’t air.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect Vail’s sentencing in an Alaska court.