Calls & Decoys photo

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Dan Marsiglio

Is a call-shy gobbler driving you nuts? No problem. Put your mouth calls away. All you need to do is flap a homemade turkey-feather wing call against your leg or chest to imitate a hen flying down, and he’ll drop right into your lap. Here’s how to make it in three simple steps:

Step 1: Obtain the feathers
Get a turkey wing, either by shooting a non-​call-​shy gobbler, or by buying a primary wing from David Mitchell of Custom Feathers for about $10 (888-353‑8246; ­custom​­feathers.​com). A left wing works best if you’re right-handed.

Pluck the small feathers from the underside of the wing to reveal the quills of the primary feathers. With a utility knife, cut down between the quills to separate them. Then use shears to cut each quill about 1⁄2 inch up from the wing’s base [a]. You’ll end up with eight to 10 feathers. Number each with masking tape to keep them in their original order.

Step 2: Make the handle
To make the handle, draw the basic shape on a 1×6-inch pine board. Cut it out with a jigsaw [b], then freehand drill the thumbhole at a shallow angle with a 7⁄16-inch paddle bit. Soften the edges with a wood rasp. Sand smooth and finish.

Step 3: Assemble the call
Drill holes to insert feathers [c]. You want a snug fit, so practice first on scrap wood. (I used a 1⁄4-inch bit for the first two feathers; 5⁄16-inch for the rest.) Draw a light centerline along the top edge of the handle and drill holes about 3⁄16 inch apart. Apply some exterior-grade wood glue and insert the feathers so they overlap naturally [d]. Let cure for 24 hours.