Back in December 2018, three men were caught after hunting and killing a mountain lion in the northern section of Yellowstone National Park. Now, those men have been sentenced for violating the Lacey Act, which prohibits “trade in wildlife, fish, and plants that have been illegally taken, possessed, transported, or sold.”
The men—Austin Peterson, Trey Juhnke, and Corbin Simmons, all from Montana—were sentenced in federal court and charged with “illegally hunting a male mountain lion,” according to a news release from the National Park Service.
The men admitted to shooting the lion and then transporting the carcass of the mountain lion to their vehicle, the statement said. Simmons “falsely” told rangers that the trio claimed they “harvested” the animal north of the park boundaries in Montana.
As part of the sentence, Peterson was ordered by the judge to pay $1,700 in restitution, and will also serve three years of unsupervised probation. During that time, Peterson is “banned from hunting, fishing, or trapping worldwide.”
Juhnke and Simmons also received similar sentences at hearings in April, according to the Associated Press.
“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,” said Yellowstone National Park Chief Ranger Pete Webster in a statement. “Their thorough work spotlighted this egregious act and the consequences incurred for hunting illegally in Yellowstone National Park.”
While the numbers aren’t exact, the NPS estimates that around 20-30 adult cougars live “year-round” in the northern range of the park.