"Men Plead guilty to Illegal Elk Hunting Activities Occurring in the Umatilla National Forest"
Spokane - Michael C. Ormsby, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington announced today that Jon C. Wick, age 46, of Summerville, Oregon, and Tod L. Reichert, age 72, of Salkum, Washington, entered guilty pleas to criminal counts relating to hunting activities occurring in the Umatilla National Forrest.
Documents presented in court revealed that in 2007 Reichert purchased the Eastern Washington Any Bull Elk-Governor's Auction Tag (known as a "Governor's Tag") for approximately $47,000. Reichert hired Wick , who operated an outfitter-guiding service known as Outback Outfitters, to provide outfitter-guiding services for the hunt. Reichert also hired a helicopter service to spot elk to aid in hunting, which is unlawful in Washington State. In December of 2007, Reichert killed an elk in the Umatilla National Forest with Wick's assistance and outside of the area in which 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.
In 2008, Wick again provided professional outfitter-guiding services in the Umatilla National Forest to the purchaser of the 2008 Governor's Tag, which Tag cost approximately $65,000. At that time, Wick did not have Forest Service authorization to provide the guiding services.
On December 6, 2011, a federal grand jury returned an Indictment charging Reichert and Wick with several felony and misdemeanor offenses relating to the elk hunt(s). On June 25, 2012, Reichert entered guilty pleas to interfering with a Forest Service Officer, in violation of 36 CFR § 261.3(a), and to knowingly giving false
information to a Forest Service Officer, in violation of 36 CFR § 261.3(b). On the same date, Wick entered guilty pleas to providing guiding services outside of the area designated in his special use permit, in violation of 36 CFR § 261.10(l) and to providing a service without a special use authorization, in violation of 36 CFR 261.10(c ). All of these charges are class B misdemeanors offenses that carry a maximum penalty of up to a six-month term of imprisonment and a $5,000 fine.
Reichert was sentenced immediately following the entry of his guilty pleas. The Court sentenced him to a two-year term of probation and imposed a $5,000 fine. During his term of probation, Reichert may not enter or remain in any National Forest for hunting or other recreational purposes. Wick's sentencing hearing is scheduled for September 13, 2012.
Michael C. Ormsby stated: "The protection of our wildlife resources is vitally important to the public and wildlife crimes will not be ignored by this Office." Barb Severson, United States Forest Service Special Agent in Charge, said: "We will continue to enforce the permitting process and the laws designed to protect the natural resources for all users."
The case was investigated by the United States Forest Service, the Washington State Department of Fish Wildlife and US Fish and Wildlife Service. The case is being handled by Timothy J. Ohms, Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.