We have previously discussed trophy hunters who post images of their kills. That kill thrill is hard for many of us to understand but it is particularly bizarre when the kill is illegal. That is the case of three hunters who killed a mountain lion in Yellowstone National Park in Montana in violation of the Lacey Act. Yellowstone special agent Jake Olson and others took a year but it finally caught Austin Peterson, 20, Trey Juhnke, 20, and Corbin Simmons, 19. The three were sentenced in May.
According to he Jackson Hole News & Guide, the three shared the illegal kill pictures on Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook. When taken into custody, the three lied but gave inconsistent accounts of how they were confused on their location in killing the cat in the national park. The large adult male cat was shot eight times in Yellowstone.
The bragging over the kill and then the lying over the crime made the case impossible to refute. However, these crimes are still rarely prosecuted and lightly punished. The three were sentenced to just a three-year worldwide hunting ban. They were given three-year unsupervised probation and each was ordered to each pay approximately $1,700 in restitution and fees. That’s it.
One can see why illegal hunting is so prevalent when the penalties are so slight, even in the rare cases of prosecution. The reason these men were apprehended was the trail that they left on social media and concerned environmentalists who alerted the Park Service.