A Colorado Springs man has been accused of illegally killing over a dozen big game animals. Iniki Vike Kapu has pleaded guilty to poaching charges in three counties. The guilty plea comes after a long investigation by Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers following a citizen tip in October 2018 where a red truck was found abandoned in the Pike National Forest with a dead deer in the back with the meat spoiled. Colorado law requires hunters to prepare all hunted big game for human consumption or else it can result in class five felony charges.
A decision by Colorado Parks and Wildlife last week from hearing examiner, Steven Cooley, suspended Kapu’s hunting privileges in Colorado permanently. “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 said. “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.” Kupu’s hunting ban also extends to the 47 other states that make up the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, which is all but Hawaii and Massachusetts. Kapu was not present for his suspension hearing but he has 35 days to appeal the decision.
Kapu was accused of killing 12 deer, 2 turkeys and a bighorn sheep ram. He pleaded guilty to illegal possession of wildlife twice in 2019 in Chaffee and Teller County. He then pleaded guilty again in February 2020 in Fremont County. Kapu also pleaded guilty to illegal possession of three or more big game animals. He was fined $4,600 and sentenced to six months in jail and three years of supervised probation in Fremont County. He also surrendered the weapons he used for poaching.
Agency wildlife manager in Colorado Springs, Frank McGee, gave this warning to any future poachers. “Colorado Parks and Wildlife aggressively pursues anyone who illegally takes wildlife. When you poach, you are stealing from all residents of Colorado,” he said. “And your acts are an insult to all the hunters who follow the rules, who buy the licenses that pay for wildlife management, who respect the hunting seasons and abide by principles of fair chase.”
Anyone with any information about this case or knowledge of a possible crime against wildlife should contact Colorado Parks and Wildlife or your local Wildlife Agency.