Family members remember 3 hunters found dead during duck hunting trip

PALACIOS, TX (KTRK) -- The Burk family is clinging to each other and to their faith after losing 25-year-old Starett Burk in a duck hunting accident this weekend.

His mother, Tracey, said she spoke with him Thursday night before he and two other young men -- Spencer Hall and Christian Ruckman -- went duck hunting in Matagorda Bay.

"And I texted him Friday night at 6:01 and said, 'are you keeping warm, bear?' and I didn't hear back from him," Tracey said, "But that means he was in the arms of God and he was warm. And he loved God and wasn't afraid to die. "

VIDEO: Scene where hunters were recovered
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Steven Romo reports from the scene where three hunters' bodies were recovered.

According Calhoun County Sheriff Bobby Vickery, the conditions on the water at the time of the accident were rough. Temperatures were in the '20s with winds up to 25 mph. The water was extremely cold.

Vickery said the three young men were in an aluminum boat about 17 feet long, with two dogs and all of their hunting supplies.

"It looks like maybe they got into some boat trouble," Vickery said, "It wouldn't have taken much if they were weighted down, with the wind, the waves."

The boat was found capsized. U.S. Coast Guard teams recovered the bodies of all three young men from the water. They also found the body of one of the two hunting dogs that were in the boat with them.

Steely Burk is Starett's younger sister. She said she, too, is relying on her faith for support.

"There was never a Sunday that he didn't tell me I looked pretty before we went to church," Steely said, "He would always tell me how proud he was of me."

She said her brother didn't have a knack for singing on key, but that did not stop him from singing with heart. She said he was also a fan of country music duo Maddie & Tae. The duo, from Baytown originally, donated signed guitars and tickets to an upcoming performance to raise money for all three victims' families.

The Burk family encourages others to treasure every moment with loved ones.

"We know he's in the arms of Jesus," Tracey said, "And that's what's gonna get us through."

The medical examiner has not yet released the official cause of death.

Funeral arrangements for Starett Burk are as follows:

Viewing on Wednesday, 1/11, 5-8pm, at Sterling Funeral Home in Anahuac. Funeral on Thursday, 1/12/17, 10am, at First Baptist Church in Anahuac.
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