Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Game Warden Justin Phillip Hurst

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Law Enforcement Division, Texas

End of Watch Saturday, March 17, 2007

Leave a Reflection

Reflections for Game Warden Justin Phillip Hurst

I had to take a moment today to tell you about your amazing son. He is 14 months old, and he's everywhere and into everything. This morning I put him in bed with me for a while. In his sleep he said, "Dadadada." Those are just simple words of comfort that he speaks to me. And he seems to always know when I'm really hurting for you- he'll either wrap his arms around my neck, or he'll touch the tears on my cheek. He's really touched a lot of the guys. Even the ones who don't have children are swinging him and changing diapers! Our niece asked me yesterday where you are. I told her that "Uncle Justin is in Heaven with God. He's an angel!" She said, "Wow! So that means he's here with us now and can see us!" I couldn't agree more. There's not a moment that goes by that I don't wish you were back by my side. I miss having our coffee together in the morning, and bathing Kyle together. I went duck hunting a few weeks back and felt your presence in the sunrise and knew you were smiling each time a group of ducks flew over. Kyle giggles when he hears the geese; it always brings tears to my eyes. But, Justin, if you could just see how wonderfully supported we have been! Our friends and community have really loved on us. And your co-workers - they have really made an impression on your folks, Kyle and myself, as well as the community. I miss our forever together. I love you.

Amanda Hurst

February 4, 2008

Officer Down...

Those chilling words we never want to hear,
The haunting phrase that rings so clear,

"Shots fired! Officer down..."
The radio broadcasts that lonesome sound.

Brothers and sisters from across the state,
Rushed to your side, but it was too late.

We lost one of the best that fateful night.
We all heard you put up one hell of a fight.

You can rest easy now, Justin
'Cause soon you'll be huntin'

In that big duck blind in the sky,
Where mornin' after mornin' the ducks fly by.

There is not a day that goes by that we don't think of you.
Young Texas Game Warden, so proud and so true.

God has now given us all an angel.
Texas Game Warden on call, ready, willing, and able.

Written by Jennifer Mitchell, proud wife of Texas Game Warden Kevin Mitchell

This is dedicated to the lasting memory of Texas Game Warden Justin Hurst and all fellow officers who have unselfishly given their lives to protect our state's resources.

Texas Game Warden Kevin Mitchell
Texas Parks and Wildlife

January 31, 2008

Each person is given something to do that shows who God is. 1 Corinthians 12:7 MSG


I am sitting in a deer blind, searching not for deer, but for the right words to adequately express what I want to say. It is true that the wood ducks flying overhead searching for a place to roost, remind me of you at this very moment; but the real truth is that I am reminded of you often by the legacy that you left behind.

I did not personally know you or ever have the privilege of working with you; but with the news of our loss of a brother amongst us, I instantly felt a deep ache in my heart. It is an ache that has not since gone away. What do you say to someone who paid the ultimate price? There aren't any words, enough words, ever!

I have learned of your character through the many tributes from those who did know you and love you. You were a strong, brave, courageous game warden who sacrificed his life for the lives of his fellow officers on that fateful day.

You were "quality" in all other aspects of your life. You were a dedicated, devoted, passionate, avid waterfowl expert. You were ambitious, enthusiastic, eager, and willing to share your knowledge and educate others. You were a man of the highest integrity. A loving, kind, compassionate, and devoted husband to your wife, Amanda. You were a new and extremely proud father of a four month baby boy, named Kyle, who was undoubtedly your "sunshine." You were a younger brother to Greg, who loved you and admired you immeasurably. You were the kind of son that every parent dreams of having raised. You made them so proud. You were an asset to your community and the agency that you served. You rewrote the definition for "public servant." You were an angel amongst us, disguised as a Texas Game Warden.

You have taught me, evidence of your own example; I can and should strive to do more. You have inspired me to want to be a better person. You have shown me, that it is true: one person can make a difference in this world, because you, Justin, made a huge difference.....

"Your faith has saved you; go in peace." Luke 7:50

Amanda, Kyle, Greg, Mr. & Mrs. Hurst, family and friends:

Thank you for your strength, courage, FAITH, love and your continued support of all Texas Game Wardens. Psalm 71:20

Karen D. Simmons
Texas Game Warden

Karen D. Simmons
Texas Game Warden

January 13, 2008

Justin and I were roommates in the Game Warden Academy. We were always competing at everything although neither one of us would admit it. Whenever possible I would make Justin go first just so I would know what I was up against. And for all the times he talked me into going first, I would catch myself asking "what would Justin do".

I knew the answer then just as we all know today. Justin would give his all and that's what he gave!

God Bless You All

Craig Hernandez
Texas Parks and Wildlife

January 10, 2008

My dearest friend Justin,
We did so many things together as kids from Camping, swimming in that old pond, walking miles down the river and playing soccer together. You and I were like brothers and that is something that is never going to change. I know we got seperated some through the years and my only regret is not being around as much as I should have.
I was driving the other day while on vacation back by the river and went by the Patersons. I remembered that time we got stuck in the mud up to our waist and he pulled us out with his tractor, that was pretty funny my shoes are still in there somewhere. I miss you dearly and will never forget you in any way.


Dennis Campbell
Friend forever

January 10, 2008

May God be with your family through this hard time! Texas has lost a great husband, father, person and officer who sacrificed everything to do a job which he loved. If everyone was dedicated to God, family, and work to the degree Justin was, this would be a great world. I believe Justin is with God and we will see him again. Treat everyone with love, honor and be fair in everything you do. Be safe and may God be with us all!


January 8, 2008

I had never meet Justin Hurst until I graduated from the Texas Game Warden Academy and was stationed in Brazos County, Texas. I remember meeting Justin for the first time and realizing that although he was no longer stationed in my County that I had an ally and a friend in the Game Warden world. Justin passed on hand written notes with a map marking violations that he had made in the past. I remember trying to learn my County and referring back to those notes so many times that the edges are worn off the paper. I used to call Justin for I knew if I needed advice or information I could count on him to know, for he discovered places that most never attemtpted to find, his love for the outdoors insured that. After getting to know Justin I found that he was an honorable man who loved nature and mankind. I did not have a son on the night I received the call about Justin but now I do a 7 month old boy who I adore. I never forget what Amanda told all of the Wardens, never leave home without kissing your Wife and Child and letting them know that you love them. I do that every time I leave the house now. Everyone who ever meet Justin in this County always speaks well and recounts the contacts that they had with this man. I always tell them that Justin was the kind of man that I would like my son to be when he is out on his own. Thank you Justin for blessing me with the opprotunity to be your companion. I still have your notes after 4 years in this County for guidance on the river and I keep your number in my phone as a reminder that you will always be there for us all.

Chad Jones Game Warden Brazos County
Texas Parks and Wildlife Law Enforcement

January 7, 2008

Hey Justin. I just came back from a hunting trip in your state and thought I would look you up on here. Everyone I talked to was very saddened by your loss. Keep a watch over the rest of us game wardens. For some reason this has been a very bad season. The violators are really acting up. Rest in peace brother and I look forward to seeing you in Heaven.

nc game warden

November 18, 2007

I can't believe he is gone. What a loss.
I met Justin at Peach Point (now Justin Hurst WMA) in the late 90's when I used to go down there to hunt. He was a great kid, really cared about the land, and would always help me identify all of my birds. The first time we talked I saw his aggie ring and I showed him mine. We graduated a year apart, so we had something in common. I had forgotten all about him after I moved away for a while.
What a devastating loss to his family, his community, and the State of Texas.
I don't know what else to say.
Rest in peace. We will watch the birds fly and think of you.

Christopher Haist
Texas Outdoorsman

October 29, 2007

Always remebered, never forgotten.

A brother

October 19, 2007

I come to the ODMP often to remember my late fiancé Dennis. Everytime I come here it breaks my heart to know that yet another officer has fallen and that yet another family has to live their lives without the man they loved. My heart goes out to everyone who knew and loved Warden Hurst, especially to his wife. Know that you are not alone in the "journey" that you walk. Should you ever need anything please don't hesitate to contact me. The Davis Co. Sheriff's Office in Iowa will always know how to reach me. You will be in my thoughts.

From reading the reflections left for Justin, he sounds like he was a great man with a beautiful spirit. Those of you who knew him in life were so blessed to have been able to share in it. I hope that you will all continue to find a way to celebrate and remember Justin's life and the MAN that he was. Remember that Justin's life was about so much more than the way he died. Justin will continue to live on as long as we continue to remember him.

Warden Hurst, thank you for helping to make this world a little safer for us all. YOU will not be forgotten. Please continue to watch over all of us as only you can. If you happen to bump into my late fiancé Dennis up there give him a big hug for me and the kids. It's been four years but we still miss him terribly.

Wishing you brighter and better days,

Jocelyne :)

"Forever Remembering 26-3"

Jocelyne Brar (Winnipeg, MB Canada)
Surviving Fiancee of Deputy Dennis R. McElderry (EOW: 01/03/03)

September 19, 2007

You have done your job well thank you for your service. Rest in peace my brother.

PA State Constable John O'Mara
PA State Constables Office

September 16, 2007

I couldn't sleep last night at a friend's home and picked up The Texas Game Warden magazine sitting near by. My husband is an avid hunter and I though I would flip through this magazine and see if it might be something I could purchase for him to look at. On the cover was a beautiful picture of a happy couple and a father holding his pride and joy.
I turned to page two and it was then I realized this couple I had seen, was no longer living the life shown on the cover page.
I continued to read Amanda's letter and at that moment felt proud to have had a game warden stop us last hunting season to check our cooler for a tagged buck.
The magazine did not metion what had happened to Justin so I borrowed the magazine from my friend the next morning. I was so touched by Amanda's leter that I felt compelled to investigate further. It was not hard to find the horrible incident as I googled his name.
Upon reading what had happpened to Justin, I just had to let Amanda how we as a hunting family are so very thankful for men like your husband. We always have a nervous feeling as we step into our blinds the first time each year. It is your husband and the men like him that ease our fears. I can't tell you how many times we have called the Game Warden out to investigate.
I just wanted you to know that I read your story, feel your pain, and will continue to pray for you and your family. Being a young mother myself with children, it is hard for to imagine my husband not being by my side.
Your husband did not die in vain. He sacrificed the ultimate price but he was doing what he loved.
We do not know what reasons God has for taken some of us so young. It is my prayer for you to continue your life and enjoy that precious little boy. I will pray that your son knows how wonderful of a man his father was.
I just wanted to let you know how much your husbands life and story touched my own heart.
It was so unlikely for me to have picked up that magazine over a People magazine. I hope you know that you are a beautiful person inside and out and that you will get through this. Justin would have wanted you to. Now when I sit in that deer blind waiting for the sun to either come up or go down, I will remember Justin and say a prayer for you and your family.
I just wanted to share how much it touched mylife and gave me some incentive to reflect on my own life.
Thank GOD for your husband,and all the men and women who protect us each day.
Apryl Martin - Montgomery,(Dobbin) TX

Apryl Martin
Citizen of Montgomery County

September 16, 2007

The Badge"
He starts his shift each day
To respond to calls unknown.
He drives a marked patrol car.
A police officer he is known.
He's paid by the citizens' taxes
To make it safe on the streets.
But he usually has a second job
'Cause a waitress has his salary beat.
Now he doesn't know a holiday
'Cause he works all year round.
And when Thanksgiving and Christmas finally arrive
At his home he cannot be found.
He's cursed and assaulted often,
The one whos blood runs blue.
He seldom ever gets a thanks,
To some he's just a fool.
His friends are always other cops
'Cause people just don't understand
That underneath his badge and gun,
He's just another man.
He knows there might not be a tomorrow
In this world of drugs and crime.
And he gets so mad at the court system
'Cause the crooks don't get any time.
And each day when he leaves for work,
He prays to God above.
Please bring me home after my shift
So I can see the ones I love.
But tonight he stops a speeding car,
He's alone down this ole' highway.
It's just a little traffic infraction.
He does it everyday.
Well, he walks up to the driver's window,
And his badge is shining bright.
He asked the guy for a driver's license,
When a shot rang through the night.
Yes, the bullet hit its mark,
Striking the officer in the chest.
But the Department's budget didn't buy
Each officer a bullet-proof vest.
So he lay on the ground bleeding.
His blood wasn't blue - His blood was red.
And briefly he thought of his loved ones
'Cause in a moment the officer was dead.
In the news they told the story
Of how this officer had died.
And some who listened cared less,
But those who loved him cried.
Well, they buried him in uniform
With his badge pinned on his chest.
He even had his revolver,
He died doing his best.
Written By:
David L. Bell
Richland County Sheriff's Department
Columbia, South Carolina
Used with Special Permission of the Author
Copyright © 1999 - All Rights Reserved
and may not be duplicated without permission

Investigator David L Bell
Richland County Sheriff's Dept., Columbia, SC

August 9, 2007

God bless you for your service and sacrifice.

August 2, 2007

I had never heard of an ex-biologist named Justin Hurst before he reported to me as a brand new game warden in Bryan on September 1, 2002, but within a few hours of meeting him, I knew I had been lucky enough to have drawn a winner. He was one of those rare people who couldn't wait to get to work, and he always performed his job as good as, or better, than I had ever seen it done before. He was a natural. He was one of those wardens that was thanked by the violators for arresting them. As good as he was on duty, he was just as good off the clock. I will never be able to sit in my kayak again, without reliving the good times my wife and I had with Justin and Amanda in our boats. Being in law enforcement for 32 years, I already knew it was never good news in a 2 AM phone call, but the call about Justin was the worst I have ever received. God bless and look over Justin. I know for sure that the Good Lord has other game wardens up there, but I'll bet he doesn't have a better one than Justin. We all miss you, Brother.

Bill Magee
TPWD Captain, retired

July 31, 2007

God must have wanted some help to watch over the redfish and whitetails in heaven. Thanks for doing what you do Justin.


July 18, 2007

God bless you and your family. Thank you for your years of service and dedication. May your family always feel your presence and Gods peace.

Jackson County Sheriff Dept/TPWD-Lake Texana

July 4, 2007

My prayers for the family of the brave brother in lawenforcement.
The passion one has for the outdoors cannot be explained. The natural recources which are all gifts from God shall be protected for all to share. Justin Hurst life was taken protecting the natural recources we all enjoy.

Detecetive: Steve Packard
Hedwig Village Police Dept.

July 3, 2007


I wanted to let everyone know that the State of Texas has honored your service by renaming Peach Point Wildlife Management Area the Justin Hurst Wildlife Management Area.

Park to be named for slain local game warden

By CHRIS BARBEE, El Campo Leader News

- The 12,000-acre Peach Point Wildlife Management Area west of Freeport will soon be known to hunters and other waterfowl enthusiasts as the Justin Hurst Wildlife Management Area.

The Texas Legislature passed May 29, and Gov. Rick Perry signed June 2, House Bill 12, Section 53 of which makes the name change official. HB 12 includes 59 sections dealing with all kinds of issues affecting state parks and recreation.

Soon after Texas Game Warden Justin Hurst of El Campo was killed March 17 in a shoot-out near Lissie with a suspected poacher (which involved another game warden, Texas DPS and Wharton County Sheriff’s Department officers), word got out that the Texas Wildlife Commission would be asked to consider renaming Peach Point for Hurst since he had worked there as a game biologist from 1995 through 2001.
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department officials said shortly after Hurst’s funeral March 21 that the renaming was all but a done deal. And so it was.

The late game warden’s wife, Amanda, said Tuesday she thinks the renaming ceremony and dedication will be held in October, which is exactly when large numbers of Hurst’s beloved migrating waterfowl are arriving on the Texas coast.

“Justin would think we are making way too big a deal out of this, but I think it’s awesome,” Mrs. Hurst said. “I think it’s very much a fitting memory for him, and I think it’s good for the biologists that he worked with. It’s been their baby, and was something they wanted to do in remembrance of Justin.”

Darryl Darnell, Agent V
Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission - Enforcement

June 10, 2007

I am a veteran of the iraq War USMC 0331 and a former explorer of the Detroit Police Department 12th Pct (now the northeastern district) and Homicide Division, 1300 Beaubeain,, I who was medivaced from Iraq, now on disability at 26 (22 when it happened) I lost my father at 12 due to suicide, the amount of courage that Game Warden Hurst has shown is unprecedented and he is my fellow American and I am heartbroken that this country is less safe from his loss God Bless and please let his child know... they have an idol to astrive to be God Bless and Semper FI OOOH-Rah HE IS A MAN AND AN AMERICAN

LCPL Teslak
USMC DPD explorer

June 5, 2007

Warden Hurst,

You will never be forgotten, you have given the ultimate sacrifice and for that, I will always remember what you have done. Thank you!

Rest easy man, we have the watch now, you take care of that little boy and your wife.

Deputy Eric Essinger
Washington County Sheriff's Dept., West Bend, WI

June 1, 2007

I just enjoyed the night out with family and friends on my 41st birthday. I opened my new issue of Texas Parks & Wildlife that I always am eager to read. I was saddened to read about the passing of Texas game warden Hurst. Being an outdoorsman, I am sometimes honored by the presence of a Game Warden in the field. They are never disrespectful, always courteous, and willing to answer any questions that I are others in the hunting party may have. It is so sad to hear of this loss and I would like to pass along my condolence to his family and friends. God Bless, Donnie K. Hall

Donnie Hall

May 23, 2007

To a true brother in blue. May you rest in peace now we have you watch. To your understanding wife who put up with all the late night calls and late night where you were late getting home or working when everyone else was out enjoying the wilderness. Don't dwell on the sadness just remember the wondrfull times. To you lovely little be proud of your father and keep him alive in your heart and actions. Remember he will allways be watching over you all. And i know i speak for all the members of your Dept. Don't hesatate to call if anything is needed you will ALLWAYS be family no matter how much time goes by. God Bless and stay safe and never forget.

Cpl. John Atkins
Maryland Natural Resources police

May 19, 2007

You have given the ultimate sacrifice in honor of your profession and the public that you served. The State of Texas was blessed to have you serve them with such honor and courage. Our prayers are with you and your family.

The Maine Warden Service

Captain Joel Wilkinson

May 16, 2007

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