Trophy elk hunter tagged for hiring helicopter, lying

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Outback Outfitters guide Jon C. Wick, 46, of Summerville, Ore., and Tod L. Reichert, 72, of Salkum, Wash., have pleaded guilty to criminal violations in a 2007 Blue Mountains elk hunt involving Washington's coveted "Governor's tag."

Reichert purchased the Eastern Washington Any Bull Elk-Governor's Auction Tag for approximately $47,000. Reichert hired Wick for scouting and guiding services.

Reichert also hired a helicopter service to spot elk for the hunt, which is unlawful in Washington and many other states, said Michael C. Ormsby, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.

In December 2007, Reichert killed a trophy elk in the Umatilla National Forest with Wick's assistance outside the area the Forest Service had authorized Wick to provide outfitter-guiding services.

Reichert later falsely claimed that Wick had provided no professional services during the hunt or been paid any money for his services, Ormsby said.

In 2008, Wick again provided professional outfitter-guiding services in the Umatilla National Forest to the purchaser of the 2008 Governor's Tag, which cost approximately $65,000. At that time, Wick did not have Forest Service authorization to provide the guiding services.

In December 2011, a federal grand jury returned an Indictment charging Reichert and Wick with several felony and misdemeanor offenses relating to the elk hunt(s).

Reichert's sentence includes a $5,000 fine and two years' probation during which he cannot enter a national forest.

Wick's sentencing is set for Sept. 13.

Reichert has killed several record-book bulls by outbidding other wealthy trophy hunters to get coveted tags, including $40,000 for the 2007-08 New Mexico Governor's Tag, $19,000 for the 2001 Oregon Governor's Tag, $16,000 for the 2003 edition, and an unpublished amount for the 1999 California tule bull elk tag.

The Washington Governor's Tag case was investigated by the U.S. Forest Service, the state Department of Fish Wildlife and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.