Lee Blackmon from York took a day off work to go turkey hunting on April 14, and killed the gobbler of a lifetime that is headed for the NWTF record books. His 7-bearded, 20.4-pound bird scored 168.4 (atypical) by two NWTF scorers. And he killed it with a bow and arrow.

His score knocks K.A. Boulware’s 1990 turkey, which scored 157.2500, out of the top spot in the organization’s South Carolina record book, and crushes the number 1 bow kill nationally. Once certified, Blackmon’s will take first place all-time for a bow-killed turkey in the United States, upending the current leader, an Iowa turkey that scored 149.6875.

Blackmon’s hunt was a pretty typical turkey hunt, he said, without a whole lot of fanfare until he saw the seven beards and 1.625-inch spurs. Then, he knew he had something special.

“I had seen the bird a number of times over the past few months, but I did not realize it had that many beards. You couldn’t miss him when scouting. He was very vocal. It’s been a lot more quiet in those woods since I took him out,” said Blackmon, who was hunting a new lease on property that the landowners said had not been hunted in at least 5 years. 

Blackmon set up inside a tree line bordering a field, and originally planned to handle the calling duties for a friend. As luck would have it, his friend could not get a clear shot at the bird, and gave Blackmon the signal to take it. That’s when the York County concrete worker, who puts in between 60 and 70 hours of work each week, gladly sent a Rage Hypodermic Broadhead 35 yards, sticking the gobbler through the neck. 

“Once he answered from the roost, we spent about 15 minutes calling here and there, then the turkey spent about 10 minutes messing around near the decoys. He hung up about 15 yards away from the decoys, and my buddy just could not get a clear shot, and that’s when I shot him. The hunt was over by 7 a.m.,” he said.

This was the fourth turkey Blackmon has ever killed, and his third with a bow. Of its seven beards, the shortest was 6 3/8 inches long, the longest was 11 3/4 inches long, and the rest were between 7 1/4 and 10 inches in length. Totaled together, the bird had 57.75 inches of beard.

Aside from being the highest-scoring turkey taken with a bow in the country, it is the only turkey in the overall top 50 nationally that was not killed with a firearm. Blackmon’s bird will take the 18th spot on that list.

Blackmon said the turkey was aged at 6-years-old.

“My buddy told me the only reason I killed that bird is because it was so old, it couldn’t see me or hear me,” he chuckled.