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From the

One of two men using a high-powered rifle with night vision to hunt coyote fatally shot a federal officer Friday, apparently mistaking him for game, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources reported.

State authorities identified the shooter as Norman Clinton Hale, 40, McDonough, Ga., and his observer as Clifford Allen McGouirk, 41, of Jackson, Ga.

The USDA Forest Service officer was killed at the Ocmulgee Bluff Equestrian Recreation Area on the Oconee Ranger District of the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest in Jasper County, authorities said . . .

Upton had been with the forest service four years, after serving as a game warden for the U.S. Marine Corps at Beaufort, S.C. He also had worked as a conservation officer, game warden and pilot with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission. He leaves behind wife Jessica and 4-year-old daughter Annabelle.

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  1. Please someone, tell me how at 11:00 at night, YOU can visually identify an animal at 100 – 200 yards – in the dark…. please – because I still haven't mastered that.. and if one is supposed to completely identify their target – then why is it stressed that deer hunters wear orange to improve visibility to other hunters. – – – – – Sometimes guys – it's a horrible accident – that everyone would have liked to prevent.

  2. Okk he was hunting cayote an u do this at night…..u hunt them by there eyes and the park ranger was wearing night vison goggles….i knew the hunter personally and he was a very responsible hunter and good man

  3. they played loud calls, and the officer, god bless his soul, he was prone, laid down, watching with his night vision binoculars, that caused his eye to glow, and that is what got him shot, one shot one kill, omg,,,, the worst outcome………..

  4. people can talk bs all day.but at the end of the day only god can judge.clint is a very good man ,father,husband,and friend.

    • He might be a good man, but he KILLED an innocent man. Friend or not, you have to admit that he's guilty of manslaughter.

      • No he’s not guilty of manslaughter. He’s guilty of discharging a firearm in an area he should not have been in. He did not intend to kill this man. There’s no malice or evil here…there’s a horrible accident instead and two families have been devastated. Do you lock up your child when she makes a mistake at the wheel of the car and her passenger is killed because of it? I’m sure you would be fighting to say it was an accident.

        • That is EXACTLY what manslaughter is. Intent is murder. Guess we don’t know the difference do we?

  5. First off,The infrared illuminating beam DOES NOT cause a coyotes eyes to glow!!!

    Amateurs who do not understand how to use equipment think that it works like a regular spotlight causing the rods and cones in the coyotes eyes to glow!


    If Hale would have known what he was doing and how the tools he had worked,then he would not have had to guess and pull the trigger killing the Officer.

    Hale should be banned from ever owning another firearm for life after he serves his time in the Georgia DOC!

    • obviously people are hurting by this. but no – this hale guy should not serve any more time than he already has – which is a prison he lives with every day knowing his love of hunting took a man’s life. be angry – but hope you never have anyone in your family who makes a mistake that causes another harm…. hale made a mistake – and yes, the horrible result was that someone died. take his guns, but going to prison – how sad if that’s the kind of people we are.

  6. None of it matters. If you can’t see what you’re shooting then you shouldn’t shoot. Obviously he couldn’t see what he was shooting. Someone is dead now because the shooter didn’t take using a weapon seriously enough. He wasn’t even hunting for neccessity.

    • you don’t know that. you just know that someone died. this is not murder – this is an accident. no different than if you drove you car into the back of someone while you were texting and that someone was killed. should you go to prison… NO.

      • Yes, you should. If a person’s negligence kills someone, that person should go to prison. Should they serve a life sentence? No. Lex talionis. Personal responsibility.

  7. I see that my post from yesterday has been removed, could it be that truth and honesty it not appreciated here anymore? My opinions were based on the new revelations learned after the court date where Hale plead guilty to all charges. Please do a follow up story regarding this case so everyone can see exactly who they have been defending! The post that I replied to previously was an attempt to besmirch a fallen officers character, the new findings shine an entirely different light on who was at fault in this incident. This individual not only makes all hunters look bad but also gun owners in general. Mr. Farago please help set the record straight by updating this story.

    • pleading guilty because his attorney recommended doesn’t change the fact that this was a terrible accident.

      • I know Clint personally, his children attend school with my kids.I think he should have been charged with murder for not rendering aid after carelessly shooting Officer Upton. Accident or not, any rational person wouldn’t leave even a dog to suffer. Due to his total disregard for human life I believe he should have received life in prison! I pray God gives the Upton family comfort, and also the Hale family for the embarrassment clint has brought to his family!

      • This was NOT an accident. This was a direct result of a person’s piss-poor decision making ability.

  8. Mr. Hale screwed up three ways…
    1. Illegally hunting in US Forest Service developed recreation area.
    2. Did not identify his target.
    3. Worst of all…Finding Officer Upton shot and waiting over an hour to dial 911.
    Can any of Mr. Hale’s friends defend #3? I don’t think so. I hope he serves the maximum prison sentence. Officer Upton was a great man and a friend of mine. He loved his wife and daughter like nothing else. Mr. Hale robbed Officer Upton of watching his daughter grow up.

    • JD….. as you said…. “can any of his friends defend #3”???? really… could NONE of THEM dial a phone.???? I am sincerely sorry for the great loss of officer Upton’s life, it is a tragedy that will impact his family forever – I only hope that to each of you who cast a stone – you never make such a mistake that follows you forever. Clint Hale is a good Christian husband and father as well as a friend of mine and this has changed his life forever as well.

      • Keri…… Leaving someone to die after you accidentally shoot them performing an illegal act isn’t a mistake, it’s a choice! A good Christian? I think not, WWJD? Your friend is a murderer, simple as that! He “was” a friend of mine once but not any longer, and several of his friends that were ask to come to his hearing to speak on his character feel the same as I do.

  9. Why are people with NO clue posting crap on here? They were hunting in a reserve illegally. They were spot light hunting ALSO illegally. They saw a glare because they pointed the light at him. They were DRUNK. They waited 1.5 HOURS to call 911. They stood over his body and watched him BLEED TO DEATH while trying to form a plan of escape. Norman ASKED his friends to leave the site, they refused, he then asked them to leave and come back on ATVs and claim they FOUND A BODY!!! You know him? You are a POS just like him. This friend of yours watched a man bleed to death without even so much as a care. I hope when he gets out somebody finishes the job.

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