South Carolina has a new state-record wild turkey, with the National Wild Turkey Federation certifying earlier this month a huge gobbler killed this past March in Orangeburg Co., as the state's best bird ever.

Mike Fisher's 24-pound turkey, taken at 8:15 a.m. on March 21, carried a 12-1/4-inch beard and spurs that measured 1.6 and 1.8 inches. By the NWTF's scoring system, the gobbler scored 82.875 points, unseating a Marlboro County turkey killed in 1993 by Christopher Jones. That bird scored 82.5.

Fisher's turkey ranks in the top 50 eastern wild turkeys ever killed in North America, and No. 1 in South Carolina.

He took the huge bird with one shell of No. 6 shot from his 12-gauge Remington 1100 shotgun. He had jake and hen decoys set up in a small field he was watching, with a swamp behind him. The turkey came from the swamp, passed him behind some brush at a range of 20 yards, and eased out into the field.

"When he came out in the opening into the field, he could see that jake decoy, and he blew up. He looked like Darth Vader," said Fisher, who let the bird take four or five steps into the field before shooting.

The turkey was so heavy that Fisher had to stop and put the bird on the ground four times on the quarter-mile walk back to his truck.