3 Montana hunters who illegally killed Yellowstone mountain lion caught after posting celebratory photos on social media
The trio—Austin Peterson, 20, Trey Juhnke, 20, and Corbin Simmons, 19—uploaded pictures showing off their illegal kill on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat
Three Montana hunters who illegally slaughtered a mountain lion in Yellowstone National Park last year were sentenced to a three-year worldwide hunting ban after they were tracked down via social media by the authorities.
The trio—Austin Peterson, 20, Trey Juhnke, 20, and Corbin Simmons, 19—uploaded pictures of their illegal kill on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat, according to documents received by the Jackson Hole News & Guide.
These pictures were seen by other hunters who alerted the game wardens after they recognized the landscape.
In one of the pictures that were posted on social media, two of the men were seen standing behind a tree branch that the dead animal was draped over. In another picture, one of them could be seen holding up the lifeless animal with a grin on his face.
After the arrests, Yellowstone special agent Jake Olson told reporters, "We ended up getting a lot of this information from a guy in Bozeman off of Facebook because of a bunch of stuff on social media."
The men admitted to killing the mature male mountain lion on December 12, 2018, before taking it to their vehicle across the border.
When all three of them were interviewed by the authorities separately, they changed their stories, according to Fox.
They contradicted their stories on key details such as when they saw the boundary posts, where they encountered the mountain lion and who among them actually took the shot that killed the animal.
Authorities found out that all three men shot the mature male mountain lion. They also figured out that the animal was shot eight times and that they killed it after it crossed the border into Yellowstone.
Pete Webster, Yellowstone's Cheif Ranger, thanked the law enforcement in a statement about the incident. "Their thorough work spotlighted this egregious act... And the consequences incurred for hunting illegally in Yellowstone National Park."
Their actions were a violation of the Lacey Act of 1894, per the National Park Service. The act prohibits the taking, selling or purchasing wildlife that hail from protected areas.
In the state of Wyoming and Yellowstone National Park, hunting of mountain lions is legal, but the three men deliberately crossed the park's borders and killed the mountain lion in a protected area.