Here’s a tragic reminder that wearing blaze orange and knowing your target are so important. Last week during Ohio’s week-long rifle deer season, a father accidentally shot and killed his son during their annual hunting trip in Delaware County.
The incident occurred while the father-son duo was hunting with a group of friends on Dec. 2. Bradley Smith, 63, mistook his son, 28-year-old Andrew Smith, for a deer and shot him, according to The Columbus Dispatch. The men had been hunting together for 20 years, meeting annually for the state’s whitetail deer rifle season that ended on Sunday.
Andrew Smith had been hunting with his father since he was 7 years old.
“The elder Smith is not facing any charges,” said Tracy Whited, a spokesperson for the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office.
While Ohio requires hunters to wear blaze orange during firearms deer season, that requirement begins 30 minutes before sunrise and ends 30 minutes after sunset, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
On Dec. 2, the sun set at 5 p.m. Andrew Smith was killed 45 minutes later. He was not wearing any blaze orange.
The Delaware County Sheriff’s office, ODNR’s Division of Wildlife, Delaware County Police, and city fire medics were called to the scene, but were unable to do anything for Andrew Smith. He was pronounced dead upon their arrival.
“It’s just the worst kind of tragedy,” Whited said. “He thought he was shooting at a deer. It was his son.”
Meateater sends our condolences to the Smith family.