How to build a wingbone yelper

Here’s how to craft a unique wingbone yelper in step-by-step detail.

BONE REMOVAL

Find where the bird’s wing joint and body meet. Remove the wing from the turkey by twisting and cutting it free from the socket joint. Do this with both wings. Be careful not to break the wing bones. After that, remove the radius, ulna and humerus bones, all still attached.

BONE CUTS AND CLEANING

Separate the bones carefully. Gently scrape the feathers and meat away with a knife. Place the radius (the thinner of the two middle wing bones), the ulna (the thicker of the two) and the humerus (the largest bone) into a small pot of gently boiling water with a tablespoon of dishwashing liquid. Twenty minutes or so will do. Carefully remove the bones, let them cool and then scrape the remaining residue off.

   Next, cut off both ends of the bones with a small hacksaw — just enough to expose the insides. Remove the marrow with a pipe cleaner, piece of wire or thin nylon cable ties. Carefully clean the interior bone ends with a knife tip. Gently boil the bones another five minutes for one more cleaning. Afterward, soak the bones in undiluted hydrogen peroxide overnight to brighten them. Then dry the bones thoroughly.

BONE FITS AND OPTIONS

Study the bones. The radius has a rounded end and a flattened end (a perfect mouthpiece). Handle the other two. Check bone fits before gluing.

Insert the rounded radius bone end into the ulna. Sand the ends gently if needed. Use epoxy glue for an airtight fit. Let them dry, balancing no-glued ends. Two-bone yelpers make clucks and yelps just fine. Other call makers add the humerus bone for sound projection. To do this, insert the ulna’s other end into the smaller end of the humerus. Glue them for a tight fit. When your wingbone yelper is ready, carefully file off any rough edges, especially near the radius bone’s flat mouthpiece end.

Check the glue seals. If necessary, gently touch it up with sandpaper.

BONE DRESSINGS

For a lip stop, slide a black rubber plumbing washer just below the flat radius mouthpiece. A quarter-inch section of a radius bone — cut from the round end of the radius bone before you build the call — can be glued on the wingbone yelper for a lanyard ring. Some call makers strengthen glued connections with thread wraps. You can also inscribe hunting memories on the bones with an ultra-fine permanent marker. Light epoxy or a spray fixative can preserve written details or drawings, though most fade a bit with time. The memories likely won’t.

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