Making a Wing Bone Turkey Call

Traditional crafting is a wonderful 4-H youth activity. The parts to construct replica tools or items are generally inexpensive since they are mostly made from natural or primitive-like materials. In addition, crafting helps youth to learn about skills and/or traditions of our ancestors and allows for hands-on expression of their creativity, as well as a sense of accomplishment in making something they can use or gift to others.

Basic History of Call Making
When the first turkey call was made is not known. We do however have a good idea when the first calls were already in use. In 1940 the Eva archaic site located in Benton County, Tennessee was excavated prior to the construction of the dam that formed Kentucky Lake. Many early Indian artifacts were unearthed at this time. One of the more interesting items found, at least from this point of view, were wingbone style yelpers made from bone and antler materials. Close examination showed that these calls were made from the actual wing bones of turkeys. Microscopic analysis showed that the bones were heavily worked by being scraped, cut and fit together much like the calls we are used to seeing today. They were accurately dated to 6500 BC.

Parts of a Turkey Call
A typical wingbone call is made of three sections of bone:
– radius for a mouthpiece
– ulna for the mid-section
– humerus for the sound bell

Instructions On How to Make a Wingbone Turkey Call
A wingbone yelper is one tool that holds great appeal for turkey hunters. It conveys a sense of spirituality and connection with one’s prey by using non-edible parts of harvested birds to call living ones to the gun or bow. If taken care of properly, one of these can last a lifetime. It can produce an array of turkey sounds with accuracy and clarity, it’s essentially weatherproof, and has considerable aesthetic appeal. Wingbone calls come in various styles and configurations, but in my opinion the most functional one—and the simplest to make—is a two-piece design utilizing the radius and ulna bones from a turkey’s wing. With a few decorative touches, your wingbone call will also serve as a source of pride.

Step 1
Begin by separating the radius and ulna from the wings. After removing as much meat and sinew from them as possible, use a rat-tail file, small hacksaw or Dremel® to cut away the joints at each end of the two bones, making the cuts as close to the joints as possible. Then use a pipe cleaner or thin piece of wire to remove marrow inside the bones. Next, boil the bones for an hour or until you can easily remove any remaining flesh or sinew by scraping it away with a pocketknife. Soak the prepared bones in 3% Hydrogen Peroxide to whiten, if desired. The level of whitening could take a few days or weeks, depending on what you like. Mason jars works well for this purpose.

Step 2
The standard construction of a wingbone yelper calls for the radius (A) to be inserted into the narrow end of the ulna (B) until it binds, and the ulna inserted into the humerus (C). The larger end of the humerus is the “bell” at the end of the call. When putting them together, keep the slight natural curve of the bones in alignment as you do so. The call can be a two or three section call. The three section call has a deeper tone. The bones are then epoxied together. You should get a nice fit and glued areas should be clean, dry, and grease free. Wrap the glued joints with heavy sewing thread of whatever color you like, and seal the wrappings with epoxy. An alternative is use natural color waxed string and tie a Whip Knot (below) over the joints. Wax string does not need to be epoxied. The Whip Knot can also be used to hold a lanyard or fishing pole rod guide (eyelet) (D).

By: Gus Koerner, 4-H Program Assistant, Andrea Lazzari, 4-H Agent, FS# 6174

Sources:

National Wild Turkey Federation
Call Makers & Collectors Association of America
Outdoor Life Magazine, Turkey Calls: How Make Wingbone Yelper, Jim Casada March 2015

0



Posted: November 20, 2017


Category: 4-H & Youth, Curriculum
Tags: Crafts, How To, Wildlife


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Hi Dianna, I have a post scheduled to go out on 11/24. If you would like to receive our class list sooner, we have a newsletter that goes out on the 3rd Monday of every month! You can subscribe to it here: https://bit.ly/3CxvPY4

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Hi Laura, Thanks for your comment! I missed it earlier, I apologize. Please feel free to quote me and reach out if you have any questions. Several of our golf courses have become certified with Audubon International for their conservation efforts! I also have an article you may be interested in here, page 16: https://cdn.ymaws.com/www.ftga.org/resource/resmgr/turf_digest/2019/ftd_septoct_2019.pdf

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Hello Michael, It's possible that the class in Cocoa is already full. Please contact the instructor, Gus Koerner, at (321) 633-1702 ext. 52320 or email him at gkoerner@ufl.edu for further information.

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November 9, 2020

Awesome Frank, will do! Thanks so much for the suggestion. :)

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Please, please, please add the FL native climbing aster! (Symphyotrichum carolinianum) The incredible explosion of fragrant purple flowers arrives in November & December, at a point when many other FL wildflowers are fading. To me, the flowers smell like sweet, warm sugar cookies! It's always loaded with pollinators too... Perfect for wetter soils - along the edges of ponds, swales, etc. Thanks, Frank Galdo - Program Coordinator, Florida-Friendly Landscaping, UF/IFAS Extension Pasco County Pics & info: https://flawildflowers.org/flower-friday-symphyotrichum-carolinianum/ http://hawthornhillwildflowers.blogspot.com/2009/11/climbing-aster-symphyotrichum.html https://twitter.com/PascoExt/status/1243217796705763329

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Robin Pearsall
September 24, 2020

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Robin Davidson Pearsall
August 28, 2020

Sally -I I intend to plant landscape that is a natural food source for squirrels. Which of these plants will thrive in Zone 10B? I live in zip code 33026. Thank you very much.

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July 21, 2020

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Mia
June 28, 2020

These plants are very hard to find for purchase. Do you know anywhere in the Jax area? Thank you

suba suba
June 11, 2020

It as hard to find experienced people in this particular topic, however, you sound like you know what you are talking about! Thanks

Gus Koerner

May 13, 2020

Thanks and you're welcome! - gus

Gus Koerner

May 13, 2020

Thanks for your comments! There are so many math and physics principles practiced and demonstrated in archery! If an instructor can remember to point them out while the kids are on the range, he or she can really reinforce what is taught in the classroom. All the instructor has to do, is find the appropriate teachable moment and take advantage of it. gus

Graham Mitchell
May 8, 2020

This is a great use of math an angles to help improve your archery shooting range. When teaching a beginner having them line up a 90 degree angle will be helpful for them to take the same stance each time. Thank you

Diesel Wold
May 6, 2020

Informative, Thanks for this.

Gus Koerner

April 30, 2020

Thanks for your comments! I feel the same way. - gus

Alamin
April 30, 2020

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Gus Koerner

March 26, 2020

Hey Steven! Thanks for your comment. I suggest you get into hunting with a multi-tiered approach, making sure you are comfortable in the woods, you know the laws and regulations of what you plan on hunting, and starting small - with small game that is. Hunting, which includes dispatching small game takes the same skills as hunting large game but with less input and intensity. If you can successfully bag your first raccoon (for example) and process it all the way to the table, you'll be well on your way to hunting larger game as you gain experience. If you haven't taken it, or done it lately, enroll in your local Hunter Safety class by your state game division. They can help. Go out into the woods and scout around. Go to the range and perfect your skills. All these things will not only prepare you for hunting, but will help you decide IF and how you want to go ahead. I hope that helps! - gus

Steven Rinella
March 25, 2020

Great share. I am new in hunting. Should I start with deer hunting? What your recommandation?

Kelly Moutsatsos
March 7, 2020

Thank you for the great blog, Gus. See you at the fair! Kelly Phelan Moutsatsos 4H Horse & Farm LIFE Club

Gus Koerner

July 8, 2019

I'm glad you enjoyed the article! gus

Wes Morrison
June 29, 2019

This class looked to be a lot of fun! I wish I could have made it. What is the recommended “design tool” for a FFL?

Gus Koerner

June 19, 2019

Great to hear Joe! Send me a picture of it. gkoerner@ufl.edu I'd love to see it! gus

Pamela Houmere
May 17, 2019

HI! Can you tell me if either of these species has been found in the Tallahassee area, or anywhere in Wakulla, Leon and Gadsden Counties?

Joe Pavlik
May 12, 2019

Haha I did it I made awing bone call . Thanks for the information .

Don Downs
April 3, 2019

Linda, This is Don Downs, the Conservation/Public Relations Officer for the Cocoa Utilities Dept. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help promote Florida-Friendly Landscaping. I put stuff out on our social media now and then, I'm doing that now for Water Conservation Month. But if you ever need any help or resources promoting a class I'll help however I can.

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March 10, 2019

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Saptarshi Bhattacharya
March 6, 2019

Thank you for your nice blog post. Keep it up.

Bonnie C. Wells, DPM

March 5, 2019

Thank you very much, Gary! I have been impressed with the BMP efforts of the Brevard turf professionals I've visited and will most definitely be helping with the implementation of new programs and certifications in environmental stewardship. Stay tuned!

SAMUEL WOLFE
March 5, 2019

Good Morning, I am interested in using bio solids. I have imported in truck loads of spent mushroom compost to make my home vege garden grow. It is quite expensive-green spent compost delivered to my yard has run me $25/yd. I usually just incorporated it two-three weeks ahead of transplanting and added it as a topping during the season. Since I am a cheep sob and want to find free soil enhancements -silk sand does not support much except cow peas and arugula and mustard. I need to know what you know about the subject. At a cost of just gas and labor a local stable has free manure/shaving for the taking. A yard or so cost me about $4 in gas and labor at no cost-since I go get it with my pickup and my lawn tractor trailer. My question is what would be the most efficient way to break down that material so I can apply it.

Basudeb Das
March 5, 2019

Thank you for your post. Keep it up.

Gary Chaney
March 4, 2019

This is a great article Bonnie. Thank you very much for taking the time to visit the courses and talk to the superintendents. I am sure that you were pleased with the knowledge and effort they use daily to be stewards of the environment. Many are BMP Certified but we need more to get this certification and implement new programs to make the best agronomic and environmental decisions on a daily basis.

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February 21, 2019

How can I keep squirrels out of my mango? there are oaks on the property behind mine, the limbs overhang my back yard. they can actually jump from the closest oak limb to the mango. it is prohibitive cost wise to have the oak limbs trimmed. is there any other way to prevent?Margaret Azar321-704-3967, Melbourne

Holly Abeels

February 18, 2019

The counties currently involved in the FL Horseshoe Crab Watch Program are Franklin, Taylor, Dixie, Levy, Hernando, Pinellas, Manatee, Martin, Indian River, Brevard, Volusia, and Nassau. There are some counties that will be incorporated in the future including those in Southwest Florida (and Collier county). Here on the East Coast of Florida we see horseshoe crabs nesting between December-May depending on where you are. On the Gulf Coast of Florida they see them nesting in the spring and fall (Feb-May and Aug-Oct). It's unknown what the nesting time is in southwest Florida. If you ever do see horseshoe crabs please report them to the FWC Wildlife Hotline for horseshoe crabs at this link: https://myfwc.com/research/saltwater/crustaceans/horseshoe-crabs/ (click on Report Your Nesting Horseshoe Crab Sighting). You can also download the free FWC Reporter App and report sightings through your mobile device (https://myfwc.com/news/all-news/sighting-app/).

Kenneth S. Ridlon
February 17, 2019

Is any yagging being done in Collier County? When is the best timr of yr to watch for mating crabs? Several yrs ago I was doing daily searches at Tigertail beach/lagoon. Found a good number that I sexed, measured etc. Never knrw where to send tbe data. Any contact person for this area?

Deanu
January 9, 2019

Seems like People have forgotten all these after PUBG Mobile is introduced :)

Holly Abeels

December 3, 2018

Thanks Michael. I've put you down on my list and will be in touch once training dates are set.

Holly Abeels

December 3, 2018

Thanks Ivan. I've put you down on my list and will be in touch once training dates are set.

Linda Seals

November 29, 2018

Hi Erin, unfortunately I do not have another one planned. I will keep your email address and let you know if we have another one.

Linda Seals

November 29, 2018

Hi Cynthia, this class was in August. I don't have another one planned.

Ivan green
November 26, 2018

I'm in for a mid Brevard county location.

Cynthia Adkins
November 14, 2018

Would you please provide me with more information, like date and cost?

Michael Lee
November 13, 2018

I'm interested and can work for Kirk in Indian River County or Holly in mid to south Brevard.

maghfirah pustaka
November 5, 2018

thank you for the info, very interesting

Erin Carrigan
October 17, 2018

Is this going to be offered anytime soon? I was registered for a previous course but it was cancelled. Thank you. Erin

Gus Koerner

October 11, 2018

Thank you Mary. Feel free to call me anytime to discuss youth shooting sports in our region. Gus 321-633-1702, Ext. 52320

Shannon
October 10, 2018

I wouldn't reccommend freezing. AVMA guidelines for reptiles and amphibians has this to say about it: S7.3.7 Unacceptable Methods Hypothermia—Hypothermia is an inappropriate method of restraint or euthanasia for amphibians and reptiles unless animals are sufficiently small (< 4 g) to permit immediate and irreversible death if placed in liquid N2 (rapid freezing). Hypothermia reduces amphibians’ tolerance for noxious stimuli and there is no evidence that it is clinically efficacious for euthanasia. In addition, it is believed that freezing can result in the formation of ice crystals in tissues that may cause pain. Consequently, because amphibians and reptiles lack behavioral or physiologic means of demonstrating pain or distress while hypothermic, generalized prohibitions on hypothermia for restraint or euthanasia are appropriate. Localized cooling in frogs may reduce nociception, but this localized effect is not appropriately applied to the whole body as a part of euthanasia procedures. Freezing of deeply anesthetized animals may be justified under circumstances where human safety could be compromised.

Mary Watkins
September 27, 2018

Gus, We shoot lever action smallbore and pistol cartridge rifle metallic silhouette at Seminole County Gun and archery and Chuluota Sportsmans Club on second Saturday and second Sunday of each month. Also smallbore and Hunters Pistol at Chuluota SC. Mary Watkins

Bradley T.
June 14, 2018

We have just posted an article about the Tegu Lizard being spotted in Brevard County.

Randy Moore
May 22, 2018

Thanks Mr. Gus!

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