Posts Tagged ‘Turkey Hunting in Colorado’

Turkey Hunting: Making a Wing Bone Call

February 18, 2009

Making a Wing Bone call

While yakking away with Neil about my addiction, and therapy for it, I mentioned using a wing bone call. This lead to him asking where he could get one, and my response was “Just make it.” He asked how, I briefly explained the procedure, and he asked me to write a piece about it for Hunters central. So, here we go; I will also provide a link or two on the subject at the end by people that are much better writers than I am. I will also provide a little background that may or may not be of interest, or help in this little project.

Wing bone calls are a part of American History. Some people can call Wild Turkey’s using only their mouth. Most of us need a little assistance though, and so it has been for centuries. Native Americans were the first to use wing bone calls, and our forefathers were quick to learn about them. They passed on the knowledge of their construction, and I have been told that the skill is still taught across the Appalachian region. I first learned how to build this type of call from a retired Marine that had been raised in the back woods where as often as not; a successful hunt was the difference between eating well or not at all.

Like most new Turkey hunters I was not very good at getting a bird. The better hunting areas were also restricted by license “Draw” that most often did, and still do require several years accumulation of preference points. I was talking about this one day at the now defunct Al’s Sporting Goods in Arvada Colorado. Jeff, the old Marine that became my mentor asked a very good question of me; “Why don’t you put all that whine into a bone? You might even get close enough to get a bird if you do.” I looked at him like the idiot tyro that I was, and things went from there.

First, I needed the wing bone from an older Wild Turkey hen. Second, those previously mentioned hard to get licenses are very easy to get for the fall season, and, you can shoot hens as well as toms. I combined my deer season with a fall turkey hunt and the solution was at hand.

Domestic Turkey’s bones are too thin for making the best calls from, but I learned a work around for that problem which I will cover later.

I cook the bird first myself. Others say that is a “no no” so I am of a mind that it probably does not matter. What does matter is not cracking or crunching the wing bones!

I separate the wing from the carcass, and remove the very tip. Then remove all the meat from the remaining three bones. The technical names are Radius, Ulna, and Humerus but if you don’t have a background in Physiology or Medicine you can simplify them as big, middle, and small. Use a fine toothed small craft type saw and cut off the large ends of the bones. Then place them in a pot of water, to which I add a drop or two of dish soap, and also a few drops of chlorine bleach. That will soften the marrow in the center of the bones, as well as stabilize the colorization. Bring the water to a boil and simmer the bones for a short time. About ten to fifteen minutes seems to work, but don’t toss the water just yet. You might need additional baths for he bones. Remove the bones, and rinse them in clear water. Then, use a small wire or flexible piece of plastic to push out the bone morrow. An old ball point pens inner plastic tube seems to work well, just make sure that the ink is completely flushed. I have seen others recommend small pistol or rifle brushes for this task but all that has ever happened when I tried them was cracking the bones, rendering them useless. Repeat as needed to remove all traces of bone morrow.

Now, after drying the bones fit them together; the big bone to the middle bone, to the small bone. Some fine sand paper or crocus cloth will help to accomplish this. Don’t force the issue just sand the ends for a smooth fit. About a half an inch insertion is about right. Find the best position for you by turning the bones in your hand until you get a fit that feels right for you. Once you have located that, then use epoxy, JB Weld, or a similar product to glue the bones together. Let that set, and you are ready to go. I improve the joint strength by wrapping the joints with thread like you would a fishing rod guide, and coating them with lacquer or fly tying glue. I have also seen some that were supported with shrink tubing.

If using a domestic turkey’s bones follow the above instructions and after fitting coat the exterior of the bones with clear lacquer. A single coat seems to work although I have used as many as three coats before.

No two calls sound exactly alike, and that is a good thing when you are hunting birds that are well educated when it comes to staying alive in hard hunted areas.

To use a Wing Bone Yelper place it in your hand, cupping the call, then make a kissing or smacking noise over the end. It does take a bit of practice and you should try different positions in order to find out the best combination of kissing sucking angles and so on. Basically a yelper call, using bones from young and old birds, as well as from both Toms and Hens can have different results that can be a great boon in different hunting or photography situations. I once “froze” a Mountain Lion while Turkey hunting long enough to get a once in a lifetime picture using a Wing Bone Call made from two different Jake’s.

Patrick Sperry © 2009

Permission granted for not for profit, educational or brief review purposes.

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January 12, 2009



Burlington, Colo. – Two more parcels of land have been set aside for wildlife recreation and added to the South Republican State Wildlife Area in eastern Colorado.  The Colorado Division of Wildlife and landowner Rodney Kleweno established a joint land protection agreement on 1,760 acres in Kit Carson and Yuma Counties. The agreement includes public access for sportsmen.

The north parcel, in Yuma Co., is about 660 acres of cottonwood, river bottom, and agricultural crop land.  The South Fork of the South Republican River flows through this parcel and provides excellent waterfowl, turkey, small game, and deer hunting opportunities, as well as wildlife habitat for nongame species.  The south parcel, in Kit Carson Co., is about 1,100 acres.  It is a mixture of shortgrass rangeland and CRP land.  This property will provide pheasant, small game, and deer hunting opportunities.

“The funding for these easements came from money provided by sportsmen who bought Habitat Stamps as part of their hunting and fishing license purchases,” said Shaun Deeney of the Colorado Division of Wildlife.  “These are excellent properties that benefit many wildlife species including deer, turkey, upland game birds, waterfowl, raptors, song birds, and a variety of small game species.”

“This project gave me the opportunity to protect my property from future development.  Knowing this land will be kept in agriculture for my family to continue to farm and ranch is important to me,” said Kleweno.

Since the parcels are in the immediate vicinity of the South Republican State Wildlife Area near Bonny Reservoir, they will be managed under the same regulations as the South Republican SWA.  The parcels will be open to year-round walk-in access to hunters, anglers, or anyone who purchases a Habitat Stamp, but the properties will remain in private ownership.

For directions or more information about hunting or fishing opportunities, call the South Republican SWA at 970-354-7317.

For more information about Division of Wildlife go to:


November 20, 2008

Get off your butt, and take a kid hunting!

DURANGO _ Young hunters who did not fill their fall turkey tags will have a second chance at bagging a holiday bird at the end of November.

A special late fall season for all Colorado hunters under age 18 is set for Nov. 22-30. Any youngsters who did not get a turkey during the regular fall season can hunt in southwest Colorado. Each hunter must be accompanied by a mentor who is 18 or older. The mentor cannot hunt and must have a Colorado Hunter Safety Card.

The special season opens a new opportunity for youth in Colorado’s southwest corner, said Tom Spezze, southwest regional manager for the Colorado Division of Wildlife.

“Unlike other areas of the state, in the southwest we don’t have upland game birds,” Spezze said. “Turkey hunting gives our young hunters a great opportunity to learn about hunting, and this special season will encourage families to get out together to hunt.”

Turkey hunting is somewhat easier in the fall than the spring. Hunters can take birds of either sex in the fall, and turkeys travel in flocks and can be tracked on the ground. Turkeys are abundant in southwest Colorado and large expanses of public land allow hunters to enjoy a high-quality experience during this season.

The season also follows the last big game season.

“This is a great time of year to hunt; people will have the woods to themselves,” Spezze said. “And you never know, your son or daughter could provide your family with a turkey for Thanksgiving or Christmas.”

Young hunters who previously purchased a regular fall turkey license anywhere in the state for 2008 are eligible for this special season. Separate licenses will not be sold for this season.

The season will be open in these game management units: 52, 54, 55, 60, 61, 62, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 82, 83, 411, 521, 551, 681, 682, 711, 741, 751 and 771. For more information refer to one of the Colorado hunting brochures or the DOW Web Site ( for the exact locations of these units.

For more information about Division of Wildlife go to:

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