Making a Wingbone Call
More than 40 years ago, it was said the wing bone call and its variations were one of the most widely used turkey calls found. Though it became no less effective, a number of different, easier-to-use calls later grew in popularity to meet the demands of sportsmen rushing to join the growing turkey hunting ranks.
Today, there seems to be a resurgence of interest in this traditional call. While a wing bone call comes in many variations, the traditional call is as it implies, made from the wing bone of a wild turkey.
The bones from a hen seem to work better than a gobblers as they are smaller.
Cut the wing from the turkey hen right where the joint attaches to the body. In looking at the wing, the bone nearest the body will be the largest. Next will come the two middle bones, then the tip of the wing. Cut these joints apart, being careful not to break the bones. Discard the wing tip. All you will need are the first and second section of bone. With a sharp knife, clean all the meat from the shanks of the bones and from both tips of the two smaller bones.
Now starting with the largest bone, cut off each end, but only to the extent necessary to expose the pith of the bone. This should give you a shank about 3 1/2 to four inches long. Clean all the marrow out of this bone with a piece of wire, being careful to break out the bony web inside. Lay this bone aside.
Then, cut off each end of the largest of these two bones, again only to the extent of exposing the marrow. After the ends have been cut, this bone should be almost a straight shank with no enlarged ends.
On the smallest bone, examine it very closely and you will find that one end is slightly flatted and the other end is almost perfectly round right up to the knuckle. Cut off the round end so that there is no enlarged end. Now take a file or Dremel tool and file off the flat end a little at a time until you have exposed the pith and only a small portion of the enlarged flattened end remains. This will give you a bone that is almost straight on one end and the other end will be slightly curved and slightly flattened on the tip.
Clean out these bones and then put all bones into boiling water to remove the remaining marrow. When completed, assemble the bones as follows:
Take the largest of the two small bones and insert one end into the small end of the large bone (You might have to scrape or sand the end of the bone to make it fit). It should go in about a half inch. Pack this joint with plastic wood or surgical cotton so that an air-tight seal is created. A little Elmer's or airplane glue or Epoxy will be needed if you use cotton. Be careful not to get the packing into the hollow bone.
Next, put the round end of the smallest bone about the same distance into the end of the next larger bone. Seal the same as you did with the other joint. Let this set up for at least 24 hours, then sand or, if you prefer, paint with spray paint. Add a lanyard for carrying it around your neck, and you're in business.
To use the wing bone call, place the tip of the bone just off center into your lip. Put in just enough to create a suction, then suck in just as if you were kissing. With practice you should be able to produce a yelp, cluck, and even a kee-kee run.