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$10,000 reward offered for suspect accused of shooting at state game warden while poaching

A group of environmental organizations are offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the capture of an alleged poacher accused of shooting at a California game warden in Humboldt County last month.

Authorities allege that Shawn Eugene Hof Jr., 24, was illegally hunting wildlife with a group of others when he fired multiple shots at the warden on Aug. 21. The warden was not injured.

Hof is described as 5 foot 9 inches tall, 150 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.

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The incident occurred near Highway 36 and Redwood House Road, about 30 miles southeast of Eureka, according to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The wildlife officer had been working his standard patrol duty and looking out for poachers who aim bright lights at deer or other animals, causing the animals to freeze in their tracks. The illegal practice is sometimes called spotlighting or jacklighting.

Spotlighting poachers often stay in their cars as they travel down roads through the wilderness at night, according to Capt. Patrick Foy of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The officer spotted poachers and attempted to make a traffic stop, but at least one person inside the car opened fire toward the officer. The car sped away but the officer gave chase, and “repeated” gunshots were fired toward the officer during the pursuit, Foy said.

The officer was armed but did not return fire, he said.

The chase came to an end when the poachers crashed into a tree, jumped out of the car and ran into the woods. Authorities searched the area but did not locate the suspects, who left their getaway car behind, Foy said.

The reward is being offered by the California Wildlife Officers Foundation, California Waterfowl Assn., the Humane Society of the United States, the Sportfishing Alliance, the Nature Conservancy and other private donors.

Anyone with information in this case is encouraged to call the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office crime tip line at (707) 268-2539.

ben.poston@latimes.com

Follow @bposton on Twitter.


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