BELLE PLAINE, Minn. — "The Sibley County Sheriff says that a man who accidentally shot and killed his 9-year-old son while they were hunting apparently mistook the boy for a turkey.
Sheriff Bruce Ponath says that Anthony Klaseus of Belle Plaine and his son Hunter were hunting turkey about three miles west of Belle Plaine around 6:30 p.m. Saturday when Klaseus shot his son in the chest with a 12 gauge shotgun.
Klaseus dialed 911 on his cell phone. Emergency responders pronounced the boy dead at the scene.
"He was absolutely panicked. That would be an understatement," Ponath said. "Very distraught."
Ponath said the shooting was an accident but that his department is continuing to investigate the circumstances."
From the day the kid was born and they named him "Hunter", old Anthony just knew in his heart of hearts that he'd have a turkey stalking partner for life. "Fine lookin' boy you got there, what's his name," someone would ask, and dad would proudly chime in with "Hunter. And he's turnin' out to be one helluva fine one if I do say so myself."
Then came the awful day that dad caught a dose of buck-fever that wouldn't let go. Turkey's aren't very smart and that's precisely why they can be so hard to bag. Coming down from roost you can never tell how an old Tom will act. Sometimes he'll follow the call, sometimes he wants to eat before chasing down the hen making all that racket. Turkey can purely drive a man to distraction and on those days when you're always figuring wrong and suddenly for no apparent reason a Tom heads your way you just GOTTA take him. But it wasn't a champion, once in a lifetime turkey that came bursting from the treeline.
A decent 3" turkey load will toss out one and three quarter ounces of #4 shot at 1300 feet per second. At bad-breath distance and into the chest of a 9 year-old boy that is one powerful kick. Too powerful for Hunter to handle. He and his dad may have waited all day for one clear shot, both were tired and just too reckless for their own good. 9-year-olds can't really be blamed for all that much, and for the rest of his life Anthony Klaseus will feel the sort of soul wrenching guilt that no man, let alone a father, should ever have to live with.
Teach them well. Most importantly, keep them safe.