CO: 3-county poacher pleads guilty, loses hunting license for life

https://www.9news.com/article/news/crime/3-county-poachert-loses-hunting-license-for-life/73-901ee9b5-60b6-40b2-9298-b10abeb65dea

A Colorado Springs man who was caught poaching in three Colorado counties pleaded guilty to illegally hunting and lost his hunting license for life, said Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW).

CPW said Iniki Vike Kapu, 28, was caught illegally killing 12 deer, two turkeys and a bighorn sheep ram across three counties as part of Operation Game Thief.

Kapu appeared in the 4th Judicial District Court in Teller County in December 2019 where he entered a guilty plea. In February 2020, he appeared in Fremont County district court and pleaded guilty for illegally killing a bighorn sheep – he also pleaded guilty to illegally possessing three or more big game animals.

After pleading guilty in Fremont, he was fined $4,600 and sentenced to jail for six months and three years of probation. He was also forced to forfeit his weapons used in the poaching.

He also pleaded guilty in a Chaffee County case in May 2019 where he was fined $900.

“Mr. Kapu’s crimes against wildlife are the essence of what defines a poacher by taking wildlife without regard for the laws protecting them,” CPW hearing examiner Steven 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.”

Not only will Kapu lose his hunting license in Colorado, but because the state is a member of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, he is banned from 47 other states included in the compact.

CPW said Kapu did not want to participate in the hearing on his hunting privileges and will have 35 days to appeal the lifetime suspension.

Wildlife officials were first made aware of Kapu’s illegal hunting after a tip from the public in October 2018. CPW said they found a dead deer in Kapu’s truck, along with spoiled meat.

Anyone with information of a possible crime against wildlife is asked to call CPW, or report it anonymously to Operation Game Thief (OGT). Call OGT  at 1-877-COLO-OGT or 877-265-6648. Verizon users can dial #OGT. Or email CPW at game.thief@state.co.us.

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