Posts Tagged ‘Wild Turkey’

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.

Additional online related resources:

Turkey Hunting in Colorado 2009

January 31, 2009

If you, like me, are a victim of Turkey Hunting addiction, it’s time to get off your butt, and get your applications for limited licenses turned in. There is a new area available, and you need to get your app in real early. I’ve never hunted there, but I’m thinking that it should be excellent!

Go HERE for more information. Be advised that if you are using Firefox it will not allow you to view the site. For some reason, it thinks that the DOW website will harm your computer.

So, got your shotgun or bow set up and ready? If not, now is the time to make sure that all of your gear is in top shape. That includes your body, if you are out of shape yourself after the holidays then start a program to get your body into hunting form.

Draw permits get you into the better areas but they can be tough to get some years. Do to the hard work of the Division of Wildlife, the National Wild Turkey Federation, and yes, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Wild Turkeys are pretty widespread across Colorado. Over the next month or so I will post about some of the better non draw places to hunt Turkeys that I know of, and, I hope others will also let folks know some of the general areas that have proved to be productive. No, I don’t expect anyone to give up their actual honey holes. But, we as a species, hunters in general, are a declining species over all, and nothing will keep more people afield than a reasonable chance of success.

Wild Turkeys, and other things of interest

April 12, 2008

Some things do indeed interest me. One of them is the Wild Turkey. It is, in my most humble opinion, the only Big Game Bird, at this point in time. If Wild Turkey’s could smell?

 We, as in us, would be the prey.

What bird accelerates at a faster rate than the Wild Turkey? None. Period. What animal, has re-entered places where it had been indigenous, been destroyed, and then became a part of the landscape?

I see turkeys when I drive my route at work. Near Fort Lupton. Just west of the Platte River. I see Turkeys when I am fishing, up in the mountains near Idaho Springs. When do I not see turkeys? Why, when I have a license to hunt them, in that place and time.

That, is why, it is called hunting!

Turkey Hunting in Colorado

March 7, 2008


Turkey hunting is one of the fastest growing hunting sports in North America.  Colorado’s 2008 Spring Turkey Season opens April 12 and the Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) is hosting two free seminars to help novice hunters learn more about hunting wild turkeys.
The first seminar is Tue., March 18 in Denver from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Hunter Education building at 6060 Broadway.  The second is Sat., April 5 in Colorado Springs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the DOW office at 4255 Sinton Rd.  
The seminars will provide hunters with an overview of turkey hunting in Colorado.  DOW biologists will discuss turkey habitat, locating birds, safety tips, current laws and regulations as well as hunting tips and techniques for the novice hunter.
“These classes are geared for the novice and first time turkey hunter,” said Steve Lucero, an education coordinator with the DOW.  “It’s a great opportunity for an introduction to turkey hunting.” 
The seminars are free, but class sizes are limited, so participants must pre-register.  For more information or to register, call (303)291-7545 for the Denver class, or (719)227-5200 for the Colorado Springs class.
Consistently, successful wild turkey hunting requires a high degree of skill. Wild turkeys are extremely wary and possess keen color vision and very good hearing ability. Turkeys can see in a radius of 270 degrees.
Scouting for sign left by turkeys is a great way of increasing the odds of a successful hunt. Signs to look for include roost trees, droppings, feathers scratch and dusting areas and listening for gobbling.
Colorado is home to two subspecies of wild turkey: the native Merriam’s and the Rio Grande, which was introduced to the state in 1980.  Merriam’s are primarily found in open meadows and in ponderosa, oak brush and pinion juniper stands in mountainous zones west of Interstate 25.  The Rio Grande species inhabit cottonwood and creek bottoms adjacent to agricultural lands in the eastern portion of the state. 
The population of wild turkeys in North America reached a low point in the 1930’s, but conservation programs by state wildlife agencies and private partners have restored the birds throughout most of their historical range. 
Today, wild turkey populations are booming in Colorado thanks to transplant efforts, protection through game laws, and habitat improvement projects – funded in large part by sportsmen’s dollars.  “There are more turkeys in the state than ever before,” said Lucero. 
The price of a turkey-hunting license is $21 for Colorado residents, $11 for Colorado Youth, and $101 for non-residents.

For more information about Division of Wildlife go to:

%d bloggers like this: