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The shot of a lifetime

Above, Peter Curtis poses with his trophy, a 27-pound tom turkey.

Many hunters go a lifetime without "bagging the big one," be it deer ... or turkey.

Peter Curtis, a fifth-grader at John F. Kennedy Elementary School got his shot of a lifetime last week, and took down a 27-pound tom turkey with an 11-inch beard and 1.25-inch spurs.

Peter was hunting on family property south of Hastings with his father, Paul Curtis.

Peter took one shot with his 20 gauge shotgun, his father said.

"He took four shots last year at fairly close range and missed four times," Paul Curtis said. "He was beside himself.

"We practiced a lot more this year, and he was more patient."

Paul described the hunt:

"The tom came to the call but wouldn't come any closer than 45 yards," he said. "Because Peter was shooting a 20-gauge, he needed a 25-yard shot. The tom stood for a while and then turned and left. It answered another call about 10 minutes later."

It took several light calls to keep the turkey close, but it was a real female, not a call, that was the tom's downfall.

"The tom walked to about 35 yards in front of us," Paul said. "He stood there for several minutes looking at us. Just then, a hen came from behind us and walked right past us to 20 yards in front of us. When the tom saw the hen, he came slowly toward us, and once he hit the 25-yard mark, Peter made a great shot and put him down hard. He never flinched."

This is Peter's second year of turkey hunting.

"I've been hunting for 20 years, and never gotten one like this," Paul Curtis said.

"But I'd much rather see him get one like this anyway."

Peter is the son of Paul and Kari Curtis.

Paul said he asked his son the next day what he learned about turkey hunting the day he shot the tom.

"He said, 'Be patient.' I thought he might say it's important to pick the right guide. But I guess he doesn't see it that way."