Poaching is a serious threat to wildlife and the bane of game agencies all over the country. Unfortunately, that’s because poaching is all too common. But every once in awhile there’s a case so egregious that it deserves national attention, like the case of Iniki Vike Kapu. Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials recently dropped the hammer on Kapu for multiple violations related to illegal hunting. Kapu also had his hunting license revoked forever after multiple incidents spanning several years involving multiple species.
Kapu, 27, of Colorado Springs, pleaded guilty to illegally killing 12 deer, two turkeys and a bighorn sheep in three counties. The poaching began in 2019, and the investigation started shortly thereafter thanks to a poaching hotline tip to CPW.
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Kapu pleaded guilty on Dec. 27, 2020, in Teller County, Colorado, and again on Feb. 3 in Fremont County to illegal possession of three or more big game animals and illegal possession of a bighorn sheep. He was sentenced Feb. 11, 2021, in Fremont County to six months in jail and three years supervised probation. Kapu got 111 days credit for the time he spent awaiting trial but was returned to finish the remainder of his time behind bars. He also was fined $4,600. Kapu was fined $900 in 2019 in Chaffee County after pleading guilty to illegal possession of wildlife.
Kapu forfeited all the weapons he used while poaching the animals. A special hearing examiner with the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission also revoked his hunting license permanently. Because Colorado is part of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, that means he cannot legally hunt in 47 other states that are part of the IWVC. The investigation began in October 2018 thanks to a citizen’s tip about Kapu’s vehicle being stuck and abandoned in Pike National Forest. It had a dead deer in the back that had spoiled.
CPW hearing examiner Steven Cooley said Kapu’s actions “cannot be tolerated.”
“Mr. Kapu’s crimes against wildlife are the essence of what defines a poacher by taking wildlife without regard for the laws protecting them,” Cooley wrote in his decision. “Iniki Kapu is viewed as a serious threat to Colorado’s wildlife and his violations are among the worst. The severity and level of indifference for wildlife in this case are rarely seen and cannot be tolerated.”