A father and daughter hunting on New Year's Day in Colleton County were accidentally shot to death, authorities said.
Kim Drawdy, 30, and his daughter Lauren, 9, were shot by another hunter around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday off Barracada Road near Walterboro. Four hunters were trying to move deer, also known as driving deer, when Drawdy and his daughter were mistaken for a deer and shot, the S.C. Department of Natural Resources said.
They died at the scene, Colleton County Coroner Richard Harvey said.
Drawdy's Facebook account shows he and his daughter were avid hunters.
Lauren Drawdy was a fourth-grade student at Cottageville Elementary School. "We are devastated by this news, and we send our deepest sympathies to Lauren's family," the Colleton County School District said in a statement. "It is always difficult to experience the loss of someone so young."
Kim Drawdy had attended Walterboro High School. His greatest passion was spending time outdoors, according to his obituary.
The S.C. Department of Natural Resources is investigating the incident. Spokesman David Lucas said they have not made any determinations yet. More information, such as whether the two were wearing blaze orange, will not be provided until the investigation concludes, he said.
South Carolina has a few hunting accidents each year, Lucas said. There have been several recently near the end of the deer season, which ended Jan. 1 in South Carolina.
In 2019, there were 16 total hunting accidents across the state, Lucas said. Eleven of those accidents involved firearms, leading to two deaths. Five involved tree stand accidents, such as falls, which led to one death.
"It's not a thing that happens a lot," Lucas said. "Hunting accidents are rare in general, and fatalities even more so."
David Strickland, founder of the Carolina Wildlife Syndicate and a hunter himself, said he believes that many of these accidents happen because of a failure to teach firearm safety in the classroom or the household.
"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. It's also important to know what's behind your target, he said.
Strickland said he learned from a young age how to hunt safely and use a firearm, but that nowadays few children or teenagers learn basic lessons about hunting safety, despite a growing interest in the activity.
"We live in a hunting culture," Strickland said. "Gun safety is something that absolutely needs to be ingrained in the public education system."