COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) - A 28-year-old Colorado Springs man who had already pleaded guilty to illegally killing wildlife in three Colorado counties has been banned indefinitely from hunting in Colorado and 47 other states. A permanent suspension of Iniki Vike Kapu's hunting privileges was issued last week, Colorado Parks and Wildlife announced Monday.
Kapu pleaded guilty to misdemeanor poaching charges in Teller, Fremont and Chaffee counties beginning in late 2019 through mid-2020. He served six months in jail, was fine $5,500 and surrendered all the weapons he used in the poaching incidents, CPW stated in a press release. In total, he was accused of killing 12 deer, two turkeys and a bighorn ram illegally.
"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 Steve 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."
The state of Colorado is a member of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact which facilitates coordinated enforcements and prosecutions between states. It began as a pact in 1989 between Colorado, Nevada and Oregon. That means Kapu's suspension applies to every state in the union except Massachusetts and Hawaii, the only non-members.
"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," said Frank McGee, CPW area wildlife manager in Colorado Springs. "When you poach, you are stealing from all residents of Colorado."
A citizen tip in October 2018 triggered CPW's months-long investigation of Kapu. Authorities received information about a red truck, stuck and abandoned on a remote road in the Pike National Forest. Inside the bed, they found a dead deer. The meat was spoiled. By law, Colorado hunters are required to prepare all harvested big game for human consumption.
CPW credited officers Tim Kroening, Philip Gurule and Kim Woodruff for their work in the investigation, as well as partner agencies including the Teller County Sheriff's Office, Chaffee County Sheriff's Office, Fremont County Sheriff's Office, El Paso County Sheriff's Office, the U.S. Forest Service, the Colorado Springs Police Department, the Wyoming Game and Fish Forensic Laboratory and 11th and 4th Judicial District Attorneys' Offices.
Kapu, who declined to participate in last week's hearing on his hunting privileges, has 35 days to appeal the lifetime suspension to the CPW Commission.
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