Bourjaily: Make a Homemade Trumpet Call
For one of the extra credit questions in April’s “Gobbler Exam” quiz, Senior Editor Colin Kearns asked me if I...
For one of the extra credit questions in April’s “Gobbler Exam” quiz, Senior Editor Colin Kearns asked me if I could make an improvised turkey call. I looked around the top of the landfill that is my desk, found a ballpoint pen, a 12 gauge hull and some duct tape and cobbled together the trumpet call you see pictured here.
A ballpoint pen turns out to be a perfect primer punch, so the first step is to pop out the old primer. Then you take the insides out of the pen, leaving a hollow plastic tube. Put the end of the pen over the primer hole – it doesn’t quite fit, but it doesn’t matter – just hold it in place and wrap the whole thing together with duct tape.
When I tried this, I had never done it before and had no idea what to expect, but it makes sounds which could, I think, call in a really, really lonely turkey. To run it, hold the shotgun shell in the web between your thumb and index finger. You can cup the other hand over that one to make a sound chamber and change tones. Put about a quarter of an inch of the mouthpiece between your lips and, keeping your lips pressed together, make a kind of kiss, sucking into the call. With a little practice, you can get decent clucks and yelps out of it.