Hunters who posted their illegal killing of a cougar or mountain lion at Yellowstone National Park on Social Media have been finally caught. Trey Juhnke (20), Corbin Simmons (19), and Austin Peterson (20) had shot the lion in the national park in 2018. Following which, they posted a bunch of pictures onto Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram.
But little did they realize that their shameful bragging would cost them their freedom. Other hunters that came across the images alerted the game wardens. The trio received a worldwide 3-year ban from hunting and was penalized $1,666 each, as per Jackson Hole News obtained documents.
The three men were also found guilty of the violation of the 1894 Lacey Act, which bans the taking, purchasing, or selling of any wildlife in protected areas.
Jake Olson, a Yellowstone special agent, said they received all the information from the pictures they posted on Facebook. The three admitted shooting the lion on 12th December at Montana in 2018. After which they took the body to their car across the perimeter. When the three were questioned individually, the information that they provided was contradictory to each other. The small details, especially, were inconsistent and this mismatch further alerted the agents. Things such as the malfunctioning GPS, spotting the boundary post, encountering the cougar, and the killing shot details were inconsistent.
It was discovered later that the three men had collectively fired and killed the cougar, which was shot 8 times. Chief Ranger at Yellowstone, Pete Webster, thanked law enforcement for their cooperation with respect to the investigation in a press statement. As per The Sun, the legal hunting of mountain lions is limited to 13 states in the USA: Wyoming, Washington, Utah, Texas, South Dakota, Oregon, North Dakota, New Mexico, Nevada, Montana, Idaho, Colorado, and Arizona.
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The hunters shot the animal in the Wyoming area of Yellowstone but this requires a hunting permit as the hunters are allowed only one kill each year. Moreover, all the animals which are killed need to be declared, as well as reported in order to ensure proper conservation.
IMAGE CREDIT: United States Department of the Interior