Grace Carr on January 9, 2019
A hunting trip went awry when a labrador retriever accidentally shot a man on a duck hunting outing in Mississippi.
A dog named Tito shot former football player Matt Branch while they were on an annual duck and deer hunting trip near Eagle Lake, The Mississippi Clarion-Ledger reported Wednesday. The incident occurred on Dec. 28.
Branch was on a trip with a group of friends, including longtime friend and hunter Micah Heckford, whose land they were using for their outing, The Clarion-Ledger reported.
The incident occurred when the group loaded up a Polaris Ranger. Tito jumped into the bed of the vehicle, accidentally stepping on the safety of Branch’s shotgun and pulling the trigger. The bullet tore through the bed of the vehicle, striking Branch’s left leg.
“The gun shot. Everybody looked up. The first thing I saw was Matt and within two to three seconds he realized he was hit,” Heckford said, according to The Clarion-Ledger.
“His pants were just soaked in blood,” Heckford recounted, quickly realizing how serious the injury was.
Branch was taken to the hospital soon thereafter. His leg was amputated at the University of Mississippi Center, according to the Mississippi newspaper.
Branch previously played as an offensive lineman for Louisiana State University from 2008 to 2011. He has a wife and 1-year-old son.
A GoFundMe page was started on Dec. 31 to help Branch pay the cost of his numerous medical procedures. The GoFundMe has raised over $71,000.
“If there’s a shell in that gun, anything can happen,” Heckford said.
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