Conservation Wildlife Management

Watch: Colorado Parks and Wildlife Saws Poachers’ Guns in Half

The agency wanted to make an example of wildlife poachers
Katie Hill Avatar
colorado parks and wildlife destroys poachers' guns

A state wildlife agent destroys a rifle that was confiscated from a poacher. Colorad Parks & Wildlife

Colorado Parks and Wildlife put their miter saw to work in order to make an example of the lawless criminals who illegally kill wildlife. On Jan. 26, the Southeast Region office hacked apart an estimated $10,000 worth of rifles, shotguns, handguns, bows, and arrows. All were formerly used by poachers and confiscated. The agency filmed the destruction and posted it to Twitter with a message: poachers beware.

“Poaching is not hunting. Poaching is unethical and illegal. It can get you a criminal conviction, a fine, and banned from hunting,” the tweet reads.

CPW technician Bret Mathers operates the saw in the video. Sparks fly as the blade chews through steel, composite, and wood. The next video shows the pile of carnage, some of which was stacked in a 5-gallon bucket.

Colorado parks and wildlife poacher guns and bows
Chopped pieces of rifles, shotguns, bows, and arrows stacked up at Colorado Parks and Wildlife's Southeast Regional office. Colorado Parks and Wildlife / Twitter

Some followers didn’t approve of the agency destroying these weapons. They asked whether this “anti-gun rhetoric” was really necessary and why the agency didn’t auction the guns off or sell them to raise money. But CPW later clarified that those weren’t options under state law.

“By law, we have two options with confiscated firearms. If they match the needs of our agency or another law enforcement agency, we can recycle them. Otherwise, we must destroy them,” CPW SE Region writes. “It’s not often we confiscate the exact model, caliber, etc., firearm we can use.”

Law enforcement agencies in most states sell or auction off confiscated firearms for the revenue bump, the Associate Press reported in 2018. This is a bit of a controversial practice, but the pile of weapons in this video looks different than your average state police haul. Pieces of hunting rifles and two classic red recoil pads, one on an old Winchester and one on a Ruger, stick out in various directions. It makes you wonder how many of those guns were generational hand-me-downs.

CPW confirmed in the thread of tweets that weapons used by infamous Colorado poacher Iniki Vike Kapu were among those chopped up in the video. Kapu poached 12 deer, two turkeys, and a bighorn sheep across three counties in Colorado in 2019. He was sentenced to jail time and probation and was fined in February of 2021.