The man, Billy E. Brown, was deer hunting with two friends and his bulldog early Saturday outside Wesley Chapel, Fla., when he was wounded, The St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times reported.
Authorities said Brown and one of the other hunters were driving down a rough, rocky road in a pickup truck to their hunting stands when Brown's dog, Eli, got excited and bumped a Browning .308-caliber rifle. Brown was shot in the thigh.
It wasn't clear how the dog, which was sitting between Brown and the passenger managed to discharge the rifle or if the gun's safety was engaged, the newspaper said.
Brown, the general manager and executive vice president of the Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative, underwent surgery later Saturday morning and was listed in critical but stable condition at the hospital, his family said.
It is at least the second time in recent weeks a hunter has been shot by his dog. Authorities in Utah said a duck hunter was wounded in late November when his dog jumped on a 12-gauge shotgun, causing it to fire a round of birdshot in the man's buttocks, The Salt Lake Tribune reported at the time.