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Hunter banned in 48 states after pleading guilty to poaching

Hunter banned in 48 states after pleading guilty to poaching
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A Colorado man has been permanently banned from hunting in 48 states after pleading guilty to poaching-related charges.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) hearing examiner Steven Cooley decided to permanently ban Iniki Vike Kapu, 28, in February after he pleaded guilty to multiple charges of illegally possessing big game animals, according to a report from KMGH-TV

KMGH reported that Kapu was accused of illegally killing 12 deer, two turkeys and a bighorn ram.

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His alleged poaching began in 2018. 

Previously, Kapu pleaded guilty to illegal possession of wildlife and was fined $900 in May 2019. He also pleaded guilty to similar charges in December of that same year in Teller County. In February 2020, he pleaded guilty to illegal possession of the ram and possession of other big game animals in Fremont County, according to the news station. Days later, he was sentenced to six months in jail along with three years of supervised probation, according to KMGH.

Following these infractions and sentences, Cooley decided to enact the ban this year. 

"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 regarding 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.”

Colorado's status as a member of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact means Cooley's ban extends to 47 other states, excluding Hawaii and Massachusetts, KMGH noted.

“Colorado Parks and Wildlife aggressively pursues anyone who illegally takes wildlife. When you poach, you are stealing from all residents of Colorado," CPW area wildlife manager Frank McGee said, adding that Kapu's case should serve as a warning to others considering poaching.

"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," McGee added.