It's not every day where you read about a shooting involving a dog where the dog wasn't the one getting shot. And while it's no joking matter when someone gets shot by a dog, it's not hard to find the humor in the sheer ridiculousness of the situation. And boy, is the following story ridiculous.

But how did this happen? How did a dog fire a shotgun? How did a man end up in the hospital with life-threatening injuries and one less leg?

Matt Branch (left) was the unlucky victim of a freak hunting accident when a dog tripped the safety and pulled the trigger of a shotgun, shooting the former college football player in the left leg. Photo courtesy of Micah Heckford

In late December 2018, Matt Branch and a group of his buddies got together for an annual duck and deer hunting weekend in northwestern Mississippi for what they thought would just be a normal fun weekend of getting together with old friends. Although the group of longtime friends would see some action out on their hunt, no one could have ever fathomed it would be one of them getting shot... by a dog, nonetheless.

One of Branch's hunting partners, Micah Heckford, told the\_Clarion Ledger_ that everything was fine until they were getting ready to load up and head out after that morning's hunt. As everyone was loading up their gear in a Polaris Ranger, Heckford recalled seeing one of the group's dogs, a Labrador retriever by the name of Tito, jumping into the bed of the vehicle. As the dog walked through the bed of the Ranger, it stepped on the safety of Branch's shotgun and somehow 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."

A photo of a dog (not the one in question) with shotgun and two dead ducks courtesy of The Golf Life.

Branch soon fell to the ground screaming in agony as he friends attempted to make sense of the ordeal. His friends quickly realized what was going on and called 911 as they loaded Branch into the vehicle to get him to a road that could be accessed by an ambulance.

"I think that's when it hit me how serious it was," Heckford told the Clarion Ledger. "It was at that point in time I realized how much he had bled. His pants were just soaked in blood."

Branch would eventually be transported to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi, where surgeons were forced to amputate his left leg and repair his severely damaged femoral artery.

Photo courtesy of Matt Branch GoFundMe Page

Branch's family, friends, and supporters have all come together since the accident to orchestrate a GoFundMe campaign to help the former LSU linebacker on his long road to recovery. Through its first three weeks, the campaign has already raised more than $80,000 of its $100,000 goal.

In an impassioned Facebook post, Micah Heckford spoke out regarding his friend's accident, the support his friend has received so far, and a plea for all of his fellow hunters to promote and practice gun safety when hunting.

"I not only want to get the word out to as many people as possible for the love, prayers and support that we will need to get Matt on track to his long road of recovery, but also to remind all of my fellow hunters of the absolute seriousness of being the utmost careful when it comes to gun safety," Heckford wrote. "I know we all remind ourselves every time we hunt of the basics of being safe, not pointing our guns at one another, not swinging wide on a shot... I would like to encourage everyone that reads this to take the time to not only double check themselves going forward, but take the time to double check everyone else you're hunting with as well."

The full post can be read below:

***PLEASE READ***SHARE IF YOU’D LIKE*** I know there have been many people wondering about the details of the hunting...

Posted by Micah Heckford on Wednesday, January 2, 2019

If there is anything to take away from this story it would probably be that you can never be too careful. Even if you check your gun, check it again, and check it once more, there's always something that can happen out there. It's either that or watch what your dogs are doing on a hunting trip. You never know when they're going to disengage a gun's safety and find some way to pull the trigger.

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