Hunters Caught Out After Posting Photos Of Their Illegal Kill On Social Media
Austin Peterson, 20, Trey Juhnke, 20, and Corbin Simmons, 19, had slaughtered the animal in the famous national park last year, and went on to post a trail of photos on Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook.
But after bragging publicly, other hunters saw the images and alerted game wardens to the illegal kill.
The men pleaded guilty to violating the Lacey Act of 1894, which banned the taking, selling or purchasing of wildlife from protected areas.
The News & Guide reports that, while questioning Simmons about the incident, Yellowstone special agent Jake Olson said: "You know, we ended up getting a lot of this information from a guy in Bozeman off of Facebook because you guys put a bunch of stuff on social media."
The three men all admitted to shooting the mature male mountain lion in Montana on 12 December 2018, before taking it across the border to their vehicle.
However, during individual questioning, they began to condradict each other on the smaller details - like when they saw the boundary posts, the colour of Peterson's GPS screen when it apparently malfunctioned, where they encountered the lion and who took the shot that had killed it.
It later transpired that all three had fired at the lion, which had been hit a total of eight times.
In a statement about the incident, Pete Webster, Yellowstone's Chief Ranger, thanked law enforcement in a statement about the incident.
He said: "Their thorough work spotlighted this egregious act, and the consequences incurred for hunting illegally in Yellowstone National Park."
According to The Sun, mountain lions can only be legally hunted in 13 American states: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
However, the hunters were in Wyoming's part of Yellowstone National Park, where you must apply for a permit to hunt the animals, hunt within protected areas during the legal hunting season and are only allowed to kill one per year.
Any mountain lions killed must also be declared and reported for conservation reasons.
Featured Image Credit: United States Department of the Interior