Ex-LSU player’s leg amputated after dog shoots him: ‘His pants were just soaked in blood’
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 in Mississippi.
Micah Heckford said he and a group of friends were on an annual duck and deer hunting trip in Mississippi on Dec. 28. The outing took place on land farmed by family members of Heckford’s best friend, Matt Branch, who played football for LSU from 2008-2011.
“They farm all the land around Eagle Lake,” Heckford said. “Every year we go over there.
“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.”
That morning began no differently than any other.
“It was a normal morning,” Heckford said. “We got up, made coffee and talked about our game plan.
“Everybody was pumped up. We rode the levee the day before and there were a ton of ducks. We were excited.”
The game plan called for Heckford, Branch, Branch’s cousin, David Joe Branch, Branch’s younger brother, Connor Branch, and friend, David Lamonte, to spread out and hunt along a slough. Later in the morning, they planned to regroup and hunt together.
That’s when a pleasant morning turned into a crisis.
“At approximately 9:40 a.m., David Joe, David, Matt and I were all standing around the bed of the (Polaris) Ranger and Matt had laid his gun down flat in the bed of the Ranger and walked around on the passenger side to finish loading up,” Heckford said. “I was at the tailgate no more than 4 feet away from him.”
Seeing that the hunters were loading the vehicle, another hunting companion, a Labrador retriever named Tito, jumped in the bed of the Ranger. As he walked around finding a place to sit, he stepped on the safety of Branch’s shotgun and 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.”
Branch began screaming and fell to the ground. The gun had shot through the bed of the vehicle and struck his left thigh.
Bad dog! Bad, bad dog!
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