Poacher shoots at wildlife officer, goes to prison for 20 years

Poacher attempts to shoot officer while he and a friend were fleeing from a CDFW wildlife officer who observed them spotlighting deer. During the ensuing pursuit, Shaw Eugene Hof, Jr. attempted to shoot the pursuing officer from the back of the pickup truck used during the commission of the crime.

The California Hunting Post published several reports on this poacher and the resulting manhunt.

Read about the details of the crimes (poaching, evading arrest, attempting to shoot a law enforcement officer, etc.) in the above-referenced article.

Shawn Hof, Jr., the accused poacher, managed to elude the pursuing officer on foot after the pickup truck the poachers used in the commission of their crime crashed into a tree.


suspected poacher - CDFW

Shawn E. Hof, Jr. (CDFW photo)

Thereafter, Shawn E. Hof, Jr. successfully managed to stay away from law officers and the legal machine for about one year. Nevertheless, the relentless pressure from the law enforcement community and numerous private organizations with ties to wildlife law enforcement eventually began to wear him down. These private organizations contributed funds to a financial reward for the apprehension and conviction of the accused Shawn Hof, Jr.

Finally, in August 2017, presumably because of the relentless pressure exercised by law enforcement and the community of wildlife officers, poaching Shawn E. Hof, Jr. saw no other way out but to surrender to authorities.

Humboldt County Superior Court Judge John T. Feeney issued a 20-year sentence on Jan. 16, 2018. Hof, Jr. must serve at least 85 percent of his sentence because of the serious nature of the offenses. They include assault with a firearm on a peace officer, being a felon in possession of a firearm, using threats and violence upon an executive officer, negligently discharging a firearm in an occupied vehicle, and finally, one misdemeanor count of “spotlighting”.

His accomplice, Thomas Wheeler, 19 of Fortuna, received a suspended sentence of eight years in state prison for the use of a firearm in aiding and abetting the assault on a peace officer. Additional counts were evading a peace officer with wanton and reckless disregard for person and property, two misdemeanor violations for allowing another person to shoot from a vehicle, and spotlighting.

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s office and the Humboldt District Attorney’s Office lead much of the original investigation.

Several private organizations, including the California Wildlife Officers Foundation, California Fish and Game Warden Supervisors and Managers Association, California Waterfowl Association, Defenders of Wildlife, Humane Society of the United States, The Nature Conservancy, the Sportfishing Alliance and others contributed $ 20,000 to a reward for information leading to Hof’s arrest.

I know and understand why many hunters have an ambiguous attitude towards wildlife law enforcement and law enforcement in general.

Citizens support law enforcement in the majority of cases. However, because law enforcers live and move in a close-knit group of like-minded that sport a ‘law enforcement’ mentality, it is very difficult for some of them to avoid antagonizing ordinary citizens with ‘special enforcement days’ right around major holidays. Others specialize in checking and enforcing minor legal provisions that are hard to understand for ordinary citizens. Some rules and/or procedures are without a doubt justified others strike me more or less as a simple money grab.

And let us not overlook the mentality of “us versus them”  that is inherent in closed groups of like-minded people.

I wish these members of law enforcement could see the blindfolds that create these petty enforcement actions. Meanwhile, these trivial actions create their fair share of ill-will towards law officers.

However, spotlighting wildlife and firing a high-powered rifle at a peace officer does definitely not belong in this category of small-minded law enforcement. Every hunter ought to support wildlife officers in their daily efforts to protect our wildlife.  After all, you want to go hunting another day, don’t you?

Thus, this case is a good example of justified law enforcement by officers not only to protect themselves but the public at large. Why not concentrate more on cases like that?

Oh, I see. Parking meters do not run away and shoot back.


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Publisher and Editor in Chief at United Seabears
Peter Jaeckle is the publisher and Chief Editor of the California Hunting Post.You can find him also on Google+,Twitter, Facebook and on many other sites. Over the past decades he has written on investments, dogs and dog rescue, economic and on environmental topics.

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