COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – A Colorado Springs man was sentenced this week after he pleaded guilty to poaching deer, turkey and bighorn sheep in three counties in central Colorado.
Iniki Vike Kapu, 27, was sentenced Tuesday in a plea agreement that combined cases in Fremont, Teller and Chaffee counties. He was sentenced to six months in jail, fined $4,600 and given three years of supervised probation, though he will get credit for 111 days he’s already spent in jail awaiting trial.
Kapu was also ordered to forfeit all the weapons he used in the multiple poaching incidents and could lose hunting privileges entirely, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
His sentence comes after more than a year of investigation and multiple court cases after Kapu was accused of killing 12 deer, two turkeys and a bighorn sheep ram in the three counties.
The CPW investigation into Kapu’s poaching started in October 2018, when someone called in a tip that there was a dead deer with spoiled meat in the back of a pickup truck that was stuck on a road in the Pike National Forest. Officers found the deer, which contained no tags, and discovered the truck had stolen plates.
They also found Kapu’s fishing license inside the truck and discovered Kapu didn’t have a valid hunting license.
A nearby landowner pointed officers to a camper in the woods where Kapu and a woman were staying in a trailer, and found evidence of poaching, including a turkey head, knives, blood and deer hair.
That December, Kapu fled a traffic stop in Chaffee County and was captured after he wrecked the same pickup truck. Animal quarters were found in the truck, along with a loaded gun. Kapu later pleaded guilty to illegal possession of wildlife and reckless driving in that incident.
Last February, officers were called to another suspicious trailer on BLM land in Fremont County, and found six deer heads, a bighorn sheep head, and several animal quarters. They discovered the trailer was the same they had previously found Kapu camping in, and after executing a search warrant, they found weapons and other evidence they said was related to poaching.
Last Feb. 15, Kapu was arrested at a home in Colorado Springs, and a search warrant executed at the home turned up more spoiled meat and evidence linking Kapu to the bighorn sheep poaching.
CPW officers also found social media photos of Kapu with many of the skulls of the animals he was accused of poaching.
CPW Area Wildlife Manager Frank McGee said the officers’ investigative work led to the plea deal.
“As the agency responsible for perpetuating the wildlife resources of the state, Colorado Parks and Wildlife will not tolerate poaching,” McGee said. “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.”