Hunting guide charged after luring a bear for Donald Trump Jr. to kill
May 24, 2022, 10:26 AM
CARBON COUNTY, Utah — A Utah hunting guide has been charged with wanton destruction of protected wildlife, a third degree felony, after baiting a bear for a client to kill in 2018.
Wade Lemon, a licensed guide for Wade Lemon Hunting, led Donald Trump Jr. on a bear hunt in Carbon County on May 18, 2018.
Donald Trump Jr. is not named in the charging documents.
However, the Utah Department of Natural Resources “confirmed the existence of a 2018 harvest objective cougar permit and 2018 harvest objective bear permit under the name “Donald Trump Jr.” The Department can also confirm that a harvest report was submitted for each permit. These indicate the harvest of one bear and one cougar in May 2018 in Carbon County with Wade Lemon providing guide services.”
There isn’t any evidence that Trump was aware of the violation.
DNR explained, “When guided hunts are investigated, the “hunter” is normally not the focus of the investigation. The hunter usually isn’t aware that anything illegal has occurred.”
He shared the following Instagram post following his trip to Carbon County in May 2018.
View this post on Instagram
According to charging documents, the end of the hunt was recorded on video, showing the bear surrounded by a pack of hunting dogs before the client shoots and kills the animal.
A “concerned witness” made a report to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, DWR, after the group left the area.
The witness entered the area and observed “a pile of grain, oil, and pastries. A trail camera was strapped to a tree pointing at the bait. The trail camera had ‘WLH’ written on it with the Defendant’s phone number. The camera was turned off and the SD card removed. DWR agents met the witness on sight and documented the graded road, straw, trail camera, and half-eaten bait.”
Investigators interviewed multiple sub-guides who “knew the bear was baited to the property where it was pursued on May 18.”
Charging documents say one sub-guide stated, “the Defendant always keeps bear bait spots on this particular property.”
According to Utah law, luring bears to a bait station and pursuing the animal with dogs is illegal.
DNR made the following statement to KSL TV, “In later reviewing this investigation report, there were aspects of the investigation that we wanted to better understand, which led us to requesting a review by the Utah Attorney General’s office in 2020. An external, third-party review is standard in circumstances like this. In the Utah Attorney General’s investigation, they were able to gather additional evidence, resulting in the filing of a third-degree felony charge on May 17, 2022 for wanton destruction of protected wildlife.”
Three charges were filed against Wade Lemon: a third-degree felony charge for wanton destruction of protected wildlife (in connection with the 2018 bear case) was filed on May 17, 2022, and two class A misdemeanors for wanton destruction of protected wildlife (in connection with a 2021 cougar case).
Details behind the cougar case were not clear.