Tom Fitts of Lugoff had to wait a little while to have the most-memorable Opening Day of any turkey season last week. He had to sit in his truck, drink coffee and watch it rain for several hours before having a 30-minute hunt that he'll never forget.

Ready to hit the woods by 5 a.m. on April 1 in Lee County, Fitts finally got a break in the weather at 9 a.m., and by 9:30, he was back in his truck with one empty shotgun shell and two dead gobblers – one weighing 17 ½ pounds with a 9-inch beard and the other weighing 18 ½ pounds with a 10 ½-inch beard.

"In just 30 minutes, this was the easiest, the quickest, the luckiest and the best hunt ever," he said.

Fitts was almost excited before the hunt. On March 31, he'd found a group of seven birds loafing around in a wheat field in the middle of one of his favorite hunting areas. What he feared most was the weatherman's forecast of heavy overnight showers continuing into the morning.


The weatherman was spot on. Fitts sat in his truck from 5 to 9 a.m. before the rain stopped and the clouds broke. He didn't have to wait long for his luck to break, either. As soon as he stepped out of his truck, he spotted a group of turkeys crossing the road in front of him, and he second-guessed his decision to stay in the truck.


"My only thought I had was I should have braved out the rain and waited out those birds so I could have been set up properly," said Fitts, who kept on walking toward the wheat fields through a stand of planted pines. As he approached the field, however, he could see movement 200 yards away, across the field.


"Another group of turkeys was walking down a dirt farm road on the opposite side of the field and approaching a small group of trees. I waited until the birds moved behind the trees and then I made my move," he said.


Fitts scurried across the field and moved into position on the opposite side of the small group of trees, hoping to intercept the birds traveling along that woods road.


"It seemed like an eternity, but finally a hen stepped out, and then two gobblers a few minutes later," said Fitts, who sat motionless as the two gobblers stopped in the road and looked directly at him, as if they knew exactly where he was.


"I knew this was my only opportunity to fire on the two white and red heads only inches apart, so I slowly raised my 12-gauge Browning Maxus and quickly shot."


Loaded with 3 ½-inch Federal Premium shells filled with No. 4 shot, Fitts' gun did its job and his aim was true, putting both gobblers on the ground.