A former Louisiana State University offensive lineman had his leg amputated and is in intensive care at University of Mississippi Medical Center after being shot by a dog while duck hunting near Eagle Lake.
On December 28 Matt Branch went on an annual hunting trip with a group of friends. Every year 6-8 friends would go to his families property for a deer and duck hunt.
Matts friend Micah Heckford said, “For the most part there’s five to eight of us that have been going six or seven years now. We deer hunt in the evenings and duck hunt in the mornings.”
“It was a normal morning,” Heckford said. “We got up, made coffee and talked about our game plan. Matt had laid his gun down flat in the bed of the Ranger and walked around on the passenger side to finish loading up I was at the tailgate no more than 4 feet away from him.”
It was at this point that a lab jumped up on the tailgate to join the hunt. The dog stepped on the safety then pulled the trigger.
“The gun shot,” Heckford said. “Everybody looked up. The first thing I saw was Matt and within two to three seconds he realized he was hit.”
Matt was taken to a hospital where his leg was amputated. His cognitive ability seem to be fine, and he is expected to make a full recovery.
“All of us have hunted for 20 years or more and none of us thought about that happening,” Heckford said. “We were just moving 200 yards to set up and hunt.
“The opportunities for an accident are there and we just don’t realize it. We think we’re being safe, but are we? If there’s a shell in that gun, anything can happen.”
A GoFundme account has been set up in Branch’s name to help with expenses.