LULU, Fla. -

Deputies are investigating after a man was taken to the hospital after authorities say he accidentally shot himself with a rifle.

Columbia County Sheriff's Office deputies responded at 11:40 a.m. Thursday to an accidental shooting at 11814 Se County Road 245 in Lulu.

Investigators said the homeowner, Patricia Barber, had a .22-caliber rifle leaning against the front door to defend her chickens from a fox.

Barber's 30-year-old son, Brian Wayne Ward, who also lives at the home, picked up the rifle to move it and dropped it.

The rifle had the safety off and discharged, striking him in the right chest area with the bullet exiting his right shoulder, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Deputies said Ward was conscious and alert when he was transported by Lifeguard Medic 4 to UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville.