Country stars, community responds to tragic deaths of young hunters

Country group, Maddie and Tae, are helping raise money with the community for the families of the three young men who died Friday during a hunting trip.

CALHOUN COUNTY, Texas - Three young men who went missing during a hunting trip were found dead Saturday afternoon, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. 

The three men went duck hunting near Carancahua Bay between Port Lavaca and Palacios Friday morning.

According to the Coast Guard, the men were Spencer Hall, 19, from Mont Belvieu, Starett Burk, 25, from Wallisville, and Christian Ruckman, 18, from Dayton.

The men launched their 17-foot green, flat-bottom boat around 4 a.m. off of County Road 312.

They were supposed to return Friday morning but one of their girlfriend's contacted authorities when they hadn't returned by Friday evening.

The Coast Guard launched an airplane and helicopter in the search and worked with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Calhoun County Sheriff's Office to coordinate water and land search efforts.

Now the unexpected tragedy is rallying a community to action.

"All they were doing is something that they loved," said Madison Marlow of the country music duo, Maddie and Tae. "They're making memories and a tragedy comes of that and it's heartbreaking."

Maddie is stepping up to help raise money for the families by auctioning off signed guitars and tickets to their Houston concert.

Complete strangers are being moved to do what they can to help.

"Me and my dad we went duck hunting in that area on Christmas Eve," said Maddie. "It could have been anyone of us."

A GoFundMe page created to help the families is already generating thousands of dollars.

"It's going to tell them that they're not alone," said Mike Navarre. "There will be dark times for them but just them knowing that we're here for them in any way possible. Just telling them we're here."

The investigation now shifts to what happened out on the water although the Coast Guard does not suspect any foul play.

Starett Burk's family released the following statement on Sunday. 

"Starett was a best friend to everybody. He never met a stranger. His smile was contagious. His personality was one-of-kind. He was an animal lover through and through. He would never leave a stray dog. To say he loved the outdoors would be an understatement. He was happiest when he was hunting or fishing. He graduated from Sam Houston State University with a criminal justice degree. His goal was to become a Game Warden. We knew that Starett's legacy will live on as long as there are ducks in the sky and fish to be caught. Our hope is that our loss may prevent and educate outdoorsmen, young and old. As our family copes with this loss, we find peace in knowing he is with our Savior Jesus Christ."

If you'd like to help the families you can do so here.


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