COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) – A 27-year-old Colorado Springs man has pleaded guilty to poaching charges in three counties. Iniki Vike Kapu was accused by state wildlife officials of illegally killing 12 deer, two turkeys and a bighorn sheep starting in 2018. He was sentenced to six months in jail and fined $4,600.
In late 2018 someone provided a tip to Colorado Parks and Wildlife that led them to ultimately discover Kapu’s illegal activities. The tipster alerted them about a truck found stuck in a remote part of the Pike National Forest with a dead deer in the back. The truck wound up having stolen license plates and the animal didn’t have a carcass tag on it, which is required under Colorado hunting rules. Investigative work led wildlife officials to a location where Kapu had been living in the forest in a camper. There were more signs of illegal hunts there.
“At the campsite, officers found evidence of poaching including deer hair, a turkey head, burned arrows, knives with blood and deer hair on them and rubber gloves with trace evidence,” CPW officials wrote.
Two months later, a U.S. Forest Service officer tried to stop Kapu in Chaffee County after a loaded gun was spotted in his car. Kapu took off and after a chase he crashed his truck and was arrested.
A few weeks later in Fremont County someone alerted authorities to a new camping location of Kapu’s on BLM land.
“Officers arrived to find six deer heads, a ¾-curl bighorn sheep head and several quarters of meat outside the trailer,” the CPW wrote.
It was later determined that Kapu had posed online with some of the animals he poached.
“Our officers are determined to stop people like Mr. Kapu who think they can simply go kill any animal they like. Mr. Kapu is not a hunter. He is a poacher,” said CPW spokesman Frank McGee, a wildlife manager in Colorado’s Pikes Peak region.