Information about this nefarious but widespread activity is hard to get. Obviously, the people involved prefer to keep a low profile. But here’s an example of the kind of mind set that allows it to proliferate.
In 2004, Troy Gentry, half of the musical group Montgomery Gentry, paid Lee Marvin Greenly, the owner of Minnesota Wildlife Connections, to kill a “large trophy caliber bear” that Greenly owned by the name of Cubby.
Greenly promotes himself as a wildlife photography business providing captive-held animals for individuals to photograph in a wild setting.
Cubby was a tame bear, hand fed by Greenly with no fear of people. After the bear developed dental problems, Greenly sold him to Gentry, a bow hunter, for $4600, then helped him stage a video that portrayed the “hunt” as a wild encounter.
The video contains a scene in which Gentry and Greenly talk on camera about the big hunt they have planned, down in a swamp where they’ve seen bear activity.
One Acre Forest
In the video Gentry watches for the bear from high on a tree in the “woods”–in reality, an acre of trees surrounded by an electric fence.
wanders into the shot drawn to bait beneath Gentry’s post. He draws his bow, shoots an arrow that strikes the bear in the side and shoots a second arrow at the bear as it walks away. The video was edited to show the arrow traveling in slow motion as it strikes the bear. At least some of this video footage was prepared by Gentry for later use on television or in a music video. Gentry also arranged for photographs to be taken that implied he had killed a wild bear.
Greenly takes a trophy shot of Gentry with the bear, then they tag him with a Minnesota hunting license and register him with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources as though it was lawfully taken from the wild population.
The bear’s hide was shipped to a taxidermist in Kentucky. Gentry gave a copy of the video of the shooting to the taxidermist. A video showing a stuffed Cubby in Gentry’s game room was aired on television (on the Outdoor Channel) three times during the week of July 24, 2006.
Meanwhile, the US Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) investigating wildlife violations on the Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge near Greenly’s property, turned up evidence of illegal hunting that led to Greenly who admitted that Cubby was not a wild bear.
Greenly and Gentry were charged with multiple violations of Minnesota wildlife law. Gentry pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of falsely registering a captive bear as being killed in the wild. Under a plea, the then 39-year-old singer agreed to pay a $15,000 fine, give up hunting, fishing and trapping in Minnesota for five years, and forfeit both the stuffed bear and the bow he used to shoot the animal.
In exchange for Gentry’s plea, federal prosecutors dropped a felony charge of violating the Lacey Act, which authorities said bans possessing or transporting illegally obtained wildlife.
at what it called a light punishment, the animal protection group Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK) sued the US Fish and Wildlife Service to turn over the videotape of Gentry’s canned hunt. In 2010 they won a three-year battle, gained possession of redacted photos showing Greenley and Cubby, and the video. SHARK released it on YouTube (October 25, 2010) so Gentry’s killing of an innocent bear can be seen by everyone.