Hudson, N.YT. — A Columbia County deer hunter who admitting to shooting a state Environmental Conservation Officer while illegally hunting after hours was sentenced to six months in jail and will have to pay $20,000 in restitution.
The hunter, Alan Blanchard Sr., 55, of Gallitan, was sentenced June 5 in Columbia County Court by Judge Joanathan Nichols. Nichols also revoked Blanchard’s hunting privileges and prohibited him from owning a firearm for the remainder of his life, according to New York Outdoor News.
In addition, Blanchard was told he must perform 100 hours of community service, during which he’ll have to speak to students in hunter safety training courses.
Blanchard pleaded guilty to a single count of second-degree assault, a Class D violent felony in connection with the Nov. 29 incident when he shot DEC environmental conservation officer James Davey.
Davey was accompanied by Lt. Liza Bobseine at the time, investigating a report of hunting after hours and shots fired.
Blanchard fired his .30-.30 rifle, striking Davey in the pelvic area. The officer is still recovering from the wound.
The case involved the first conservation officer in the state in 30 years to be shot while on duty. Blanchard said he didn’t intentionally shoot Davey, but that he thought he was shooting at a deer.
Shortly after the incident, Basil Seggos, commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Conservation, said, “Lt. Bobseine was able to quickly apply a compress to the wound while calling for help and keeping the suspects under control a half a mile into a field.
“It’s clear that if it were not for her actions, officer Davey would not have survived,” the commissioner said.
Blanchard said in court he and James Brown of Pine Plains were hunting after legal shooting hours “and created the dangerous scenario that led to the shooting.” New York Outdoors News reported.
The pair remained at the scene and assisted in rescue efforts for Davey.
Brown was cited for lesser violations in connection with the incident.