Illegal hunters caught due to social media posts

Two men hold a dead mountain lion.
Two of the hunters. Photo credit: United States Department of the Interior

Three US hunters have been caught after their social media posts left a trail of evidence for authorities.

Corbin Simmons, 19, Austin Peterson, 20,  and Trey Juhnke, 20, have each been given a US$1666 (NZ$2566) fine, and a three-year ban on hunting worldwide, the Daily Mail reports.

The group were found to have shot and killed a mature male mountain lion inside the Yellowstone National Park, where hunting is prohibited.

The lion was killed on December 12, 2018, and the group stopped for photos with it before taking it across the border of the park to their vehicle.

Investigators were tipped off to the crime after the group took photos with their kill and posted them on Snapchat. Fellow hunters recognised the location and contacted the authorities.

More photos of the kill were uploaded to Instagram and Facebook.

"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," one agent reportedly told Simmons.

All three reportedly admitted to the crime when initially contacted by investigators, but changed their stories as the investigation went on.

It was later discovered all three fired on the lion. It was hit eight times.

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