Call Soup" by Al Stewart
Life March 1985
If you plan to be one of the more than 250,000
wild turkey hunters in this country who will bring a bird home this
year, then you have a unique opportunity before you. In addition
to having your turkey and eating it, too, you can make a special
wingbone call to do the trick all over again. To get the three necessary
bones, you must make a soup. Begin by gathering these ingredients:
2 or more turkey wings
(substitute domestic turkey wings if wild wings are unavailable)
3 qt. Cold water
2 leeks (wild preferred), coarsely chopped
4 celery stalks, including leaves, sliced
5 carrots, sliced
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp. Instant chicken bouillon
1 tsp. Dried thyme, crushed
1/2 tsp. Dried basil, crushed
2 whole cloves
4 peppercorns, slightly crushed
1 tsp. Salt
1 8oz. Package of egg noodles
Garnish of fresh parsley or chives
shows steps from wing to finished turkey call.)
Remove wings from bird at the socket joints closest to body and
carefully pluck all feathers. Wash and place wings in a large pot;
add cold water. After bringing to a boil, lower heat to simmer and
skim any surface residue off the water with a large spoon. Add remaining
ingredients, except noodles and garnish, and partially cover. Cook
for 1 1/2 hours or until meat separates easily from the bones. Remove
wing bones from soup and add egg noodles, simmering slowly until
done. Season to taste and then serve with a sprinkling of parsley
or chives. This easy-to-make soup serves four to six.
Once you have enjoyed the soup, here are the
materials you'll need to make the wing-bone caller; three bones
from one wing (humerus, radius, ulna), white glue, cotton balls,
a hacksaw, a small wood file, a pipe cleaner or small wire, and
a Hacksaw to remove the bone ends so the pieces will fit together.)
Using a hacksaw cut the ends off all three bones to expose the marrow.
Swab the insides of the bones with a pipe cleaner to remove as much
marrow as possible. Boil the hollowed bones in water for a few minutes.
If matter still remains, use your pocketknife to remove it, particularly
in the humerus (large bone).
The small bone (radius) has one round end
and one flat end. Insert the round end into the small, open end
of the middle-sized bone (ulna). Pack with cotton to make it airtight,
being careful not to get any in the hollow portion. Then glue.
Next, place the opposite end of the ulna into
the small end of the humerus, which serves as a sound amplifier
for the call. Use cotton and glue to seal this joints and make it
airtight, too. Allow glue to dry for 24 hours, and then file any
rough or sharp edges on the flat mouthpiece of the bone.
To use your new call, place the flat tip of
the small bone on your lips, and kiss or suck air through the call's
length to create a raspy yelp. Cup your hand over the open end of
the call to change the resonance and to produce more realistic sounds.
The cluck can easily be made by placing your tongue over the small
hole in the mouthpiece and quickly sucking while simultaneously
pulling your tongue off the hole. With practice, you can produce
all turkey sounds with this call except the gobble.
are easily made on the turkey call. Many hunters replace the original
amplifier to get more volume and to transmit the sound for longer
distances.) How many variations of the wing-bone call
you make depends only upon your mechanical ability and your imagination.
Most people use the radius as a mouthpiece. One variation is to
use a hollowed cow horn in place of the humerus for the sound amplifier.
The radius is inserted into the small end of the cow horn and secured
with cotton and blue. Other substitutes for the sound amplifier
include a three to six-inch piece of hollow wood shaped like a trumpet,
a piece of can grass, a deer femur, and a spent shotgun shell.
Another amplifier involves attaching a piece
of two-foot-long, three-eighths-inch rubber surgical hose to the
mouthpiece and connecting the other end to a cow horn. The hose
and cow horn add to the versatility and variation in sound. All
of these changes tend to give the call greater volume.
The wing-bone call is certainly not a new
idea. Archaeological evidence suggests that Indians were the first
to use it. In 1787, a man named Beale Bosley was nearly shot by
an Indian while calling turkeys with a wing-bone at the site of
what is now Nashville, Tennessee. Another young pioneer, William
Nowlin, used the three hollow bones from a wild turkey wing to call
a gobbler into shooting range in Dearborn, Michigan, in 1894.
Edward McIllhenny, who was a well known Louisiana
naturalist 70 years ago and author of the first book on wild turkeys,
wrote that the wing-bone call caused the death of more turkeys than
all other call devices put together. In fact, the use of calls was
so effective than, in the mid-1930's Pennsylvania outlawed their
use for several years.
How effective is the wing-bone call today?
I have used my homemade models with excellent success, especially
on wet, rainy mornings when box and slate calls get damp and don't
function. I use a wing-bone call to locate birds on the roost in
the early morning and in the evening. This call tends to be louder
than others used and will elicit a gobble from birds at greater
distances or when other calls get no response. Hunting tradition
is another reason I like using wing-bone calls.
Calling adds an exciting dimension to the
sport of turkey hunting. There are few things more rewarding than
fooling an ol' tom into shooting range, and nothing more satisfying
than knowing that you did it with a call you made yourself.