Game Warden: guns and alcohol don't mix

By Jena Johnson - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - We're learning more about the environment that contributed to Sunday's apparent murder-suicide at a Sabine County deer hunting lease. Two men were killed Sunday afternoon off of Highway 87 and FM 330. A Sabine County sheriff's deputy said alcohol was a factor in the crime.

For many East Texans, the thrill of a hunt is an outlet for enjoyment. With hunting season here, some game wardens are using this incident to reach out. There are no laws against drinking and hunting, so really, their only line of enforcement is education.

Nestled in the woods are choices that thousands of hunters will have to make. "Lots of good judgment is destroyed by people consuming alcohol out here," said James Barge, Angelina County Game Warden.

Barge said state law can't prevent people from drinking while hunting on private property. "Not until bad conduct occurs, you know you have to be in a public place for public intoxication to apply," he said.

Guns have been a part of Barge's life for years, but he's never crossed these woods with guns and alcohol. "Guns and alcohol never mix," said Barge. "The same things to make it a problem to drink and drive make it a problem to drink and hunt."

"Drinking and hunting is just about like drinking and driving because when you drink you're going to do things that you wouldn't normally do an it's the same thing in hunting," said Rocky Thigpen, experienced hunter.

Barge said every hunting trip leaves him with a story to pass on. He wants other hunters to remember that these woods are filled with life changing decisions.

"Are you going to create tragic memories where people have gotten injured or killed out here in these woods by being reckless and consuming their alcohol," said Barge. "You're going to make a memory, the question is, which memory are you going to make?"

Hunting season officially starts November 7th. If you need to brush up on your hunter's safety guidelines, click here.

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