Some people like to murder things for fun and they call it hunting. They don’t do it because they need to eat the meat or use parts of the animal though. They do it for sport.
Austin Peterson, 20, Trey Juhnke, 20, and Corbin Simmons, 19, are Montana hunters that got into some trouble over illegally killing a mountain lion.
The Montana hunters posted photos on social media of a mountain lion that they illegal killed in Yellowstone National Park last year. And those photos are exactly what lead to them being held legally responsible for their crime.
Their social media photos showed them laughing and posing with the lion the murdered. The photos were posted to Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook.
Jackson Hole News & Guide reported that it was other hunters who ratted them out to the cops once they recognized the landscape and contacted game wardens.
Killing mountain lions is only illegal in certain areas and hunters recognized the landscape as Yellowstone National Park. The photos were later deleted but the murderous trio didn’t get off scot-free. Yellowstone special agent Jake Olson chastised the boys telling them that free-running hound dogs who give chase to lions accidentally cross into Yellowstone.
“You know, we ended up getting a lot of this information from a guy in Bozeman off of Facebook cause you guys put a bunch of stuff on social media,” Olson said.
The hunters are supposed to leave the cat unscathed at this point and report the incursion.
“Obviously, that’s where the major error occurred here,” Olson said. “You guys have to police yourself out there. You gotta do this right.”
Their braggadocious social media posts garnered lots of negative attention from animal lovers. Olsen ended up blaming Simmons for fueling anti-hunting sentiments and feeding calls for a no-hunting buffer zone around Yellowstone.
National Park Services prevent the killing of terrestrial wildlife at Yellowstone. The hunters allegedly told law enforcement different stories about how the lion was killed.
The lion was shot a total of eight times with a Glock .45 caliber.
He was first treed by hounds. One of the men climbed the tree to knock the lion out so that the dogs could chase it and they could shoot the animal in the chest. The lion jumped, was shot again, but ran 80 more yards before more shots were fired and the animal was killed trying to hide under a rock.
Peterson originally told the warden that they left the lion’s carcass at the kill site after they skinned it, took some meat, and its skull. But Simmons said they “took it” and left the remains at the Gallatin National Forest 2 miles away from where it was killed.
They registered the lion with a township and range that was about two miles away from the actual kill site. Chief Ranger Pete Webster thanked law enforcement for their “thorough work.”
“Their thorough work spotlighted this egregious act,” Webster said, “and the consequences incurred for hunting illegally in Yellowstone National Park.”
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The trio all plead guilty to violating the Lacey Act and had to pay $1,666 each in restitution and were sentenced to three years of unsupervised probation.
They were also banned from hunting and fishing for a year.
“It has huge penalties, and it can have fallout that can last your whole life,” Olson said. “I want you to understand how close you were to [a] completely life-altering mistake in that regard. And it doesn’t matter that you necessarily didn’t realize you were in the park.”
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