A hunter had to have his leg amputated after a dog accidentally stepped on the trigger of his shotgun and sent a bullet through the man’s thigh

  • Matt Branch, 29, was shot in the leg while on a duck and deer hunting trip in Eagle Lake, Mississippi last month.
  • While preparing for the hunt, he put the safety on his shotgun and put it into his ATV’s bed.
  • But a friend’s dog jumped on to the ATV’s bed and accidentally stepped on the gun, pushing off its safety and pulling the trigger.
  • The gun shot a bullet into Branch’s left thigh and severed his femoral artery, and doctors had to amputate his leg above the knee.

A former Louisiana State University football player had to have his left leg amputated above the knee after a dog accidentally stepped on the trigger of his shotgun during a hunting trip.

Matt Branch, 29, is recovering after being shot during a December 28 duck and deer hunting trip in Eagle Lake, Mississippi, the Clarion Ledger reported.

Branch’s best friend, Micah Heckford, told PEOPLE that he, Branch, and two other men were loading up gear in their Polaris Ranger ATV when the accident occurred.

Branch, from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, had put the safety on his gun and put it into the ATV’s bed as he attached a duck decoy to a pole.

It was then that a friend’s black Labrador retriever, Tito, jumped on the bed and stepped on the 12-gauge shotgun.

When the lab stepped on the gun, he unknowingly pushed off its safety and pulled the trigger, shooting a bullet into Branch’s left thigh and severing his femoral artery.


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“Everybody looked up. The first thing I saw was Matt and within two to three seconds he realised he was hit,” Heckford told the Clarion Ledger

Heckford said the group drove Branch to the highway to meet EMT officials who took him to the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

Heckford said doctors had to repair Branch’s artery and amputated his leg above the right knee.

Branch, a married father of one who played football for LSU from 2009 to 2011, is still recovering in hospital, where he will likely stay for two months.

“Yesterday, they removed the ventilator and he woke up,” Heckford told PEOPLE, adding that “all of [Matt’s] MRIs and CT scans came back positive. It’s a great outcome, no brain damage.”

Friends have set up a GoFundMe in hopes of raising money to pay for his medical fees.

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