Donald Trump Jr's hunting guide used illegal bait to lure bear, report says

Utah court documents claim hunting guide baited bear that former president's son killed in 2018 trip

Donald Trump Jr, executive vice president of the Trump Organisation, was reportedly part of a Utah hunting trip in 2018 that used illegal bait to lure a bear. AFP
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A Utah hunting guide is facing felony charges for using illegal bait — “a pile of grain, oil and pastries” — to lure a bear that Donald Trump Jr then killed in May 2018, The Salt Lake Tribune reported, citing court documents.

Mr Trump is not named in the filing against Wade Lemon, who faces felony charges for the death of the bear killed on May 18, 2018.

But in the felony complaint, the Utah Department of Natural Resources confirmed Mr Trump's identity as the “client” on Mr Lemon's hunt.

No evidence has indicated that Mr Trump would have been aware of the alleged illegal baiting that occurred during the hunt, prosecutors said.

“Great weekend in Utah with some good friends in the outdoors,” he wrote in an Instagram post on May 19, 2018.

Photos in the Instagram post show Mr Trump wearing camouflage and standing on a cliff's edge in front of a view of a forested landscape. Photos in the post also display the Trump International Cabins.

Mr Trump, son of former US president Donald Trump and executive vice president of the Trump Organisation, was in Utah to launch hunting advocacy group Hunter Nation, which would go on to form a political action committee that spent tens of thousands of dollars on advertisements attacking Democrats during the 2020 US election, the Tribune reported.

None of Mr Trump's alleged kills in Utah weekend appeared on his social media pages, but the Department of Natural Resources reported that he bagged a bear and a cougar during the trip.

Prosecutors allege Mr Lemon and his hunting troupe illegally used bait to lure the Carbon County bear killed by Mr Trump during the hunt.

A trail camera discovered the illegal bait with “WLH” (for “Wade Lemon Hunting”) written on the side and with Mr Lemon's telephone number, the Tribune reported, citing court documents.

Mr Lemon told the Tribune he was surprised by the charges and said: “As far as I knew, everything was above board.”

The Trump Organisation did not immediately return the Tribune's request for comment.

A decade ago, Mr Trump and his younger brother, Eric, sparked controversy after pictures surfaced online of them posing with big game animals they had hunted on safari in Africa, including an elephant, a leopard and a crocodile.

Updated: May 23, 2022, 4:35 PM