3 Montana Men Sentenced for Illegal Mountain Lion Hunt in Yellowstone National Park


Three men, under violation of the Lacey Act, must serve three years probation and are banned from hunting, fishing, or trapping after an illegal mountain lion hunt inside Yellowstone National Park.

According to a National Park Service news release, Austin Peterson, Trey Juhnke, and Corbin Simmons, illegally entered the park to hunt mountain lions on December 12, 2018. They shot and killed a male mountain lion in the northern section of the park – north of the Yellowstone River – and transported the carcass back to their vehicle.

To make matters worse, Peterson initially reported the kill to have taken place north of the park in Montana, which interfered with quotas and muddied the system for other, law-abiding cougar hunters in that area.

Earlier this month, Peterson, 20, was ordered to pay $1,700 (approximately) in restitution and fees, and serve three years of unsupervised probation. In addition, Peterson will be banned from hunting, fishing, or trapping throughout the duration of his sentence. Juhnke and Simmons, age 20 and 19 respectively, each received similar sentences at hearings in April 2019.

All three pleaded guilty to the charges at prior court hearings.

“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. “Their thorough work spotlighted this egregious act and the consequences incurred for hunting illegally in Yellowstone National Park.”

Under the Lacey Act, it is unlawful to import, export, sell, acquire, or purchase fish, wildlife or plants that are taken, possessed, transported, or sold in violation of US or Indian law or in interstate or foreign commerce involving any fish, wildlife, or plants taken possessed or sold in violation of State or foreign law.

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