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Home >> Hunting >>Turkey Hunting>>Wishbone Call << Back

Making a Wishbone Call

Three decades ago, it was said the wingbone call and its variations were one of the most widely used turkey calls found. E.A. McIlhenny claimed the wingbone had brought the death of more wild turkeys than any type caller. Today, the wingbone hasn't become any less effective, just not as common. With so many easy to use, over-the-counter calls available, the wingbone has been somewhat relegated to the shelves. With a little practice however, it could be your ace this season.

The words "wing bone" often imply many distinct variations of the basic bone caller. Reference to this suction device might be cane, reed, quill, Jordon, Johnson, stem, bone and cane, pipe, suction yelper, Turpin, wingbone and cow horn or horn call.

The bones used to make the wingbone call are most often the humerus, radius and ulna bones from the wing of a wild turkey. A hen bone seems to work best. The ends of the bones are removed, the inside reamed of marrow and grease, and the ends smoothed with a file.

Modifications are many. The larger two bones of the wing may be treated as the smaller then connected with epoxy and wrapped with waxed thread. Hollow tubes of cane, bone, wood, metal, plastic or cow horn might also be attached.

By placing the end of the tongue on the end of the mouthpiece and giving the tongue a ?sudden suck and jerk,? a variety of turkey notes can be reproduced.

The easiest way to use a wingbone is to put the tip of the small bone between your lips and make a kissing sound. You'll get a weird sound at first, but keep trying. If you don't get a sound, pull the tip out slightly and try it again. It takes a while to get the hang of it, but once you do, you can make sounds that are pure turkey. People who have perfected the wingbone call can make yelps, kee-kees, purrs and even gobbles.

How to make your own wingbone call

1. Use a dull knife to whittle or scrape the flesh from the bone and trim away the cartilage from the joint ends.

2. Using a coping saw, hack saw or Dremel tool, cut off both ends of each bone. Remove the marrow and fit the bones together, trim the bones a little at a time to get them to fit snugly.

3. Pack cotton into the joints to make the call rigid. A small, standard-blade screw driver works great for this.

4. Next, seal the joints with a fast-setting, clear epoxy to make the call air tight and let dry.

5. Sand the epoxy to make it smooth and seamless.

6. A lanyard and other adornments, such as beads, can then be added for decorative purposes.

- Rob Keck

*Content courtesy of The National Wild Turkey Federation.

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