HEBRON — Ken Fish Jr. doesn’t know who shot him last weekend as he walked across a field in Hebron after an afternoon of hunting.
But he says he is sure the round that clipped off the majority of two middle fingers on his right hand didn’t come from his rifle.
Fish was recovering this week from the loss of the majority of the index and middle fingers on his right hand and a cut to his thumb, injuries suffered around dusk Nov. 25 as he and his brother-in-law, another man and another relative walked in a field near county Route 30.
He said he believes someone shot at them, and he has had to hire a lawyer to try to figure out what is going on with the state investigation.
The shooting remained under investigation by the state Department of Environmental Conservation on Monday, and no one has been charged.
Although the Washington County Sheriff’s Office report indicated officers initially believed the injury was accidentally self-inflicted, Fish said he knows it was not.
The DEC has refused to discuss the investigation last week or on Monday, saying only that the investigation was ongoing. If DEC officials are looking for a shooter, they have done nothing to alert the public to that fact or to seek information from members of the public for potential assistance.
“Until the investigation is completed, we have no information to share,” DEC spokesman David Winchell said.
Washington County sheriff’s Capt. Tony LeClaire said his agency was only involved in the case for a short period of time before it was determined state conservation officers would be the lead agency. Conservation officers generally enforce hunting, fishing and other environmental laws, including investigating hunting accidents.
Neither the Sheriff’s Office nor State Police have been asked for assistance since.
“We assisted them until their investigators could get there, and then it was turned over to them,” LeClaire said.
Washington County District Attorney Tony Jordan said his office has not heard from investigators since being made aware of the shooting the afternoon it occurred.
Fish, 43, of Moreau, gets choked up and angry as he discusses the incident. He spent nearly four days in Albany Medical Center and lost his two fingers from the first knuckle up.
The trio were hunting on land they have permission to use, having gotten there in the early afternoon. They were walking out around 5 p.m. when the injury occurred.
At first, Fish thought his gun may have gone off accidentally and backfired.
“They asked me what happened and I said, ‘My gun must have backfired,’ but then I checked and my gun hadn’t been fired,” he said.
When the damage to the stock was noted, it became clear to him the shot came from elsewhere.
“It was an incredibly loud bang and the gun jumped away from me,” Fish said. “It came from behind us. Someone took a shot at us.”
He said there is a hole in the wooden stock of his gun where he believes the round entered before hitting his hand. His rifle holds four rounds and all four were still in the gun afterward. Conservation officers checked the guns of the two men with him and concluded they had not been fired, according to Fish.
At one point, an investigator told Fish they found footprints into a swampy area nearby that they weren’t able to follow.
As he wonders who shot him, Fish said he has been having nightmares and is trying to figure out how to adjust to life with his injuries. He is righthanded and works as a general contractor.
“My boss has been great, but it’s hard. Have you ever tried to write lefthanded?” he said. “This whole thing is just killing me.”
Family members have set up an online fund to help Fish with medical bills at www.gofundme.com/kenny-fish.