Three local residents have been fined for wildlife violations in a case involving two trophy bull elk killed in Eastern Washington more than a year ago.
The state Department of Fish and Wildlife brought the charges against four people in October after a lengthy investigation.
According to the WDFW, Christopher Mayeda, 38, of Kelso, and his wife, Tracey Mayeda, 40, each received coveted tags for a muzzleloader special hunt in the Dayton game unit of the Blue Mountains. Only four tags were given to the 311 muzzleloader applicants.
On Oct. 1, 2008, according to the WDFW, Christopher Mayeda shot a 6-by-6 point bull elk and put his wife's tag on the animal. It's illegal to put someone else's tag on an animal.
Steven A. Hamm, 33, of Kelso, was assisting Mayeda, the WDFW said.
According to the agency, Christopher Mayeda called his wife in Kelso, and she drove to the Dayton area with Jason M. Ford, 39, of Castle Rock, to retrieve the elk.
The next day, Christopher Mayeda allegedly shot a 6-by-7 point bull and put his own tag on it.
Christopher Mayeda was charged with unlawful hunting of big game, unlawful transportation of wildlife, hunting license violations and providing false information.
On Dec. 16, Christopher Mayeda pleaded guilty in Columbia County, Wash., District Court to the four hunting violations. He was fined $1,000 plus court costs totaling $6,295.
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The elk head and rifle Mayeda used were confiscated and his hunting privilege was suspended for two years.
His pickup also was confiscated by the WDFW, and he paid $3,000 to get it back.
Tracey Mayeda was charged with unlawful transportation of wildlife and a license violation.
The Columbia County prosecutor's office agreed to dismiss charges against Tracey Mayeda if she has no more criminal violations for the next year.
"I felt she had the least amount of culpability of anyone in the whole group," said Columbia County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney June Riley.
Ford's charges include unlawful hunting and transportation of wildlife and providing false information. On Wednesday, Ford pleaded guilty to both charges and was fined $1,000.
Hamm was charged with unlawful hunting and transportation of wildlife. On Wednesday, Hamm pleaded guilty to unlawful transportation of wildlife and was fined $295 plus court costs.
Sgt. Ted Holden of WDFW said he doesn't think it's uncommon for hunters to use other people's tags. "This one was a little more sensational because it was two trophy bulls, and they're such sought-after permits."