How to Use a Wingbone Turkey Call

by Dave Hurteau For all you gobbler hunters out there, I give you the first in any number of turkey-related … Continued

by Dave Hurteau

For all you gobbler hunters out there, I give you the first in any number of turkey-related posts that will appear this month and next:

Way back in 2004, with the help of New York turkey call maker Jim Young, we ran short piece in the pages of Field & Stream on how to make your own wingbone call. All these years later Jim’s phone won’t stop ringing. Folks are making wingbone calls just fine, he told Video Editor Mike Shea, but no one knows how to use them. The secret, Jim says in this video, is in the “tight kissing motion.” Have a look and give it a try, with the call that is. His original article on how to make the call is below.

_From the archives, Sportsman’s Notebook March 2004: **
**Winging It: The Ancient Art of Making a Wingbone Turkey Call

Native Americans started using wingbone turkey calls as early as 6,500 B.C. Today, these ingeniously simple calls still fool gobblers and are fairly easy to make – at least, that is, with the expert instructions here, provided by professional wingbone call-maker Jim Young (813-661-9460, of Auburn, New York. – Dave Hurteau

1. Remove The Wing. Make the cur right where the wing meets the body; you need the entire shoulder bone. Then, while the wing is still fresh, remove the feathers, skin, and as much meat as possible. You’ll end up with three bones: the humerous, ulna, and radius.

2. Cut And Cook. Remove the ends of the bones with a hacksaw, leaving as much bone as possible. Put the bones in a pot of water and dish detergent and boil for about an hour.

3. Hollow The Bones. Take a wire or pipe cleaner and remove the bone marrow from the radius. Next, put a small amount of paper in the ulna and push it through the bone using a piece of wire. Then, take a small pocketknife a clean out the lattice -type bone structure inside the humerous.

4. Fit And Glue. Insert the ulna about ¼ inch into the humerous. Now, notice that the radius has one round end and one flattened, oblong end. Insert the round end into the ulna, leaving the flattened end for the mouthpiece. You might have to file or sand the bones to get a proper fit. The ideal call will be about 8 to 8.5 inches long. When all looks good, epoxy the bones together. At this point the call is perfectly functional, but you can improve its appearance by filing any excess epoxy, rounding off the mouthpiece, and buffing the entire call with two types of files (course and fine) and three types of sandpaper (60, 150 and 600). Head for the woods.