Third-generation New York real estate heir Donald Trump, Jr. is caught up in yet another hunting scandal.
Utah hunting guide Wade Lemon is facing five years in prison for baiting a bear that was killed by Trump, Jr. on May 18, 2018, The Salt Lake Tribune reported Saturday.
But the New York developer may not have been familiar enough with western hunting to know about the felony poaching.
"Trump Jr. is not named in a recent filing against Lemon, but the Utah Department of Natural Resources (DNR) confirmed his identity as the person named in the felony complaint as Lemon’s “client” on the hunt. Prosecutors have indicated there was no evidence showing Trump Jr. would have known about the alleged baiting that went on during the hunt," the newspaper reported. "Without naming Trump Jr., Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings said the hunter in the case 'was actually a victim and now a possible witness in a fraudulent scheme to lead the hunter to believe it was actually a legitimate Wild West hunting situation.'"
Trump, Jr. posted pictures of his hunting trip to Instagram.
"On Sept. 3, 2020, The Utah Investigative Journalism Project requested files on closed investigations against Wade Lemon Hunting. The DNR provided files on cases dating back to 2009 except for the case on the 2018 Trump Jr. hunt. DNR had decided to reopen that case and denied the records request, stating the release would interfere with the now 'open' investigation," the newspaper reported. "DNR turned the case over to the Utah Attorney General’s Office. Utah Attorney General Reyes has close ties to Trump, having campaigned for him and even flying to Nevada to investigate the election results after Trump’s defeat at the polls and signed on to a lawsuit claiming 'unlawful election results.' The Attorney General’s Office reinvestigated the case for months, then handed it off to the Davis County Attorney’s Office to screen for filing of charges."
Trump, Jr.'s guided hunting trip resulted in kills of a black bear and mountain lion.
"Charging documents allege Lemon’s outfitters illegally used bait on the bear shot by Trump Jr. According to the document, a witness identified Lemon and his employees during the hunt in May 2018 and was able to identify Lemon over radio traffic, giving instructions to his employees," the newspaper reported. "The illegal bait, 'a pile of grain, oil and pastries' was discovered with a trail camera pointed right on it with 'WLH' (for Wade Lemon Hunting) written on the side and with Lemon’s own telephone number, according to court documents. The charging documents also include evidence from a subordinate confirming Lemon had him place the bait in the location several weeks before the hunt."
The guide Trump, Jr. hired for his hunt has been investigated before.
"Hunting guides who cater to the wealthy elite have a lot at stake in ensuring successful hunts. These companies employ hunters to scout woods, deserts, mountains and plains for the biggest game, to ensure these high-profile clients have the highest chance for a successful hunt. According to DNR, Wade Lemon Hunting has been investigated eight times for allegedly breaking the law to ensure a successful hunt, though he was not charged with a felony until Tuesday," the newspaper explained.
The vast majority of game taken in America is from hunters who do not require a hired guide.