(NEW YORK) — A former beauty queen who was the Miss America contestant to openly display tattoos is facing charges for accidentally killing a bear and allegedly trying to cover it up.
Theresa Vail, a former Miss Kansas, was on a bear hunt in Alaska with her TV show, Limitless With Theresa Vail on the Outdoor Channel, when the incident occurred.
During the legal bear hunt, Vail had “permission to shoot one bear” but “accidentally killed a second,” according to police records obtained by ABC News.
Police allege Vail then tried to falsify a locking tag to make it appear the second bear kill was legal.
“When a guide or assistant guide is involved, it’s very important they operate well within the boundaries of the law,” Commander Rex Leath of the Alaska Wildlife Troopers told ABC News. “If they operate outside of the law, it really undermines the whole purpose of having a professional guide organization in the state of Alaska.”
Michael Renfro, a guide with Renfro’s Alaskan Adventures, was the lead guide on the hunt with Vail and has also been charged.
“If I could do it over again, I would definitely do it differently,” Renfro told ABC News. “There was no personal gain to myself or my business.”
“The only gain was that hopefully Theresa wouldn’t lose her career,” he said.
The Outdoor Channel said in a statement to ABC News the hunt in question never aired and that the network is, “committed to legal and ethical hunting.”
Vail told ABC News in a statement that she “followed poor advice and allowed the second bear to be improperly tagged,” adding that she “reported the incident” and has “fully cooperated … with authorities.”
“I am deeply sorry for my mistakes,” Vail’s statement read.
Vail is described on Outdoor Channel’s website as a Miss America Top 10 finalist in 2014 who now, “serves her country in the Army National Guard, and continues to travel the world encouraging others to experience the outdoor lifestyle.”
An arraignment is set for next week. Vail and her guide are each facing two misdemeanor charges. Each charge could carry up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
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