Hunters who illegally killed mountain lion caught after posting photos on social media

Hunters who illegally killed mountain lion caught after posting photos on social media

Three hunters in Montana who killed a mountain lion in Yellowstone National Park have been caught, reportedly thanks to pictures the trio posted on social media.

Austin Peterson, Trey Juhnke and Corbin Simmons were sentenced last month to a three-year worldwide hunting ban. Game wardens were alerted by other hunters to their social media photos of the illegal kill, which the three young men had shared to Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook.

When authorities interviewed them, Peterson, Juhnke and Simmons all admitted to shooting the lion in a clearly marked area of the park on December 12, 2018. They then took it back to their vehicle across the border.

The trio later contradicted details in each other’s accounts, including who actually shot and killed the lion, which gave investigators enough leverage to prosecute them. It turned out that all three had fired at the mature male lion. The lion had been shot a total of eight times by the hunters.

Peterson, Juhnke and Simmons have all pled guilty to the charges facing them. They have now been ordered to pay a fine in compensation and have been slapped with three-year unsupervised probation charges, which includes the worldwide hunting ban.

Commenting on their apprehension, Yellowstone National Park Chief Ranger Pete Webster said: "I would like to express a sincere thank you to Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, law enforcement officers at Yellowstone National Park, the National Park Service Investigative Services Branch, and the US Attorney’s Office – District of Wyoming for being involved in this case."

He added: "Their thorough work spotlighted this egregious act and the consequences incurred for hunting illegally in Yellowstone National Park."