Ohio Father Shoots Son Dead in Deer-Hunting Accident

An Ohio man has accidentally shot and killed his son while deer hunting, authorities said.

Bradley Smith, 63, and his son, 28-year-old Andrew Smith, had been hunting with a group of friends south of the city of Delaware, in Ohio's Delaware County, when the shooting took place on December 2, The Columbus Dispatch reported.

The father apparently shot his son after mistaking him for a deer at dusk, Tracy Whited, a spokesperson for the Delaware County Sheriff's Office, told the newspaper.

Whited said Andrew Smith had not been wearing any orange hunting clothing when the shooting took place, at around 5.45 p.m, in a wooded area in the 2000 block of Pollock Road, just outside of the city. He was declared dead at the scene.

No charges will be filed against Bradley Smith, Whited confirmed to the Dispatch.

"It's just the worst kind of tragedy," she said. "He thought he was shooting at a deer. It was his son."

WBNS reported that Andrew Smith, of Columbus, had been hunting with his father since he was seven.

The group of friends, all experienced hunters, had been meeting to hunt white-tailed deer during Ohio's annual deer gun-hunting week for more than 20 decades, the newspaper reported.

According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife's hunting and trapping regulations, hunters are legally required to wear orange from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset when hunting any wild animal during the deer gun season.

Hunting is unlawful unless the hunter is visibly wearing a vest, coat, jacket, or coveralls that are either solid hunter orange or camouflage hunter orange, the regulations state. The requirement applies statewide on both public and private land.

Sunset that day was just after 5 p.m., according to the Dispatch.

The ODNR's Division of Wildlife said an estimated 310,000 hunters took part in Ohio's weeklong deer-gun season, which ended Sunday. They harvested 71,650 white-tailed deer, according to a news release.

In a statement in the release, Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker said the state's hunting season has changed over time, but remains popular.

"Fewer people take a deer with a gun today when compared to the hunting seasons from the 1970s and 1980s," Wecker said. "Regardless of harvest rates, surveys show Ohio's deer hunters still participate during this week, whether they serve as mentors or accompany friends."

The Delaware County Sheriff's Office and the Division of Wildlife have been contacted for additional comment.

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A white-tailed deer is seen eating leaves in front of a home in Bethesda, Maryland on May 27, 2020. Daniel Slim/AFP via Getty Images