Jan. 2 (UPI) — A deer hunting accident killed a father and daughter on New Year’s Day, officials with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources said Thursday.
The accident occurred when four hunters were trying to move a deer through the woods near Barracada Road in Walterboro on the last day of deer hunting season, the S.C. Department of Natural Resources announced.
“Two hunters were shot after being mistaken for a deer,” the state agency tweeted. “Those two hunters succumbed to their injuries.”
The Colleton County Coroner’s Office identified the victims as Kim Drawdy, 30, and 9-year-old Lauren Drawdy, WCSC reported.
Early next week the victims’ autopsies are scheduled.
The rural area of forest and farmland is about 45 miles west of Charleston, state officials said.
The S.C. Department of Natural Resources spokesman David Lucas said more information, including whether the two victims were wearing blaze orange, will not be released until the investigation concludes.
There were 16 total hunting accidents in the state in 2019, 11 of which involved firearms, leading to two deaths, Lucas said. Five involved accidents from elevated platforms, such as tree stands, including a death from a fall.
David Strickland, a hunter and founder of the Carolina Wildlife Syndicate, emphasized firearm safety.
“Your two rules are, never point your barrel at something you don’t want to shoot, and always identify your target before you shoot,” Strickland said, adding that hunters should also know what’s behind their target.
“We live in a hunting culture,” Strickland continued. “Gun safety is something that absolutely needs to be ingrained in the public education system.”