Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 64

J

Wingbone

UST AS THE GOBBLER stepped clear of a crimson red barberry bush, a tight pattern of copper-plated number six shot stopped him in his tracks. Of all the longbeards I have shot, this particular bird was possibly the most memorable for two reasons. First, it was November when calling in and killing a mature gobbler is generally more difficult than in the spring. The second reason lay draped around my neck — a wingbone turkey call. This call wasn’t your everyday store-bought model. Rather, it was one I had hand-crafted from the wingbones of a hen turkey taken some years before. For a long time I had wanted to make one, to get back to the fundamentals of turkey calling, like an old-timer I had known during my youth. He carried only two calls: a Tom Turpin box call and a homemade wingbone. Cigar boxes filled with beards and spurs attested to their effectiveness in the hands of this master woodsman. There’s something to be said for utility. Native Americans understood this. In 1940, the Eva archaic site, located in Benton County, Tennessee, was excavated prior to construction of the dam that formed Kentucky Lake. Numerous artifacts were unearthed, including complete wingbone style yelpers. Microscopic analysis showed that the bones were heavily scraped, cut and fit together in much the same manner as we do today. The calls were radiocarbon dated to 6,500 B.C. I had amassed quite a collection of turkey bones. Not just any bones, mind you, but the three main ones from a turkey’s wing — the humerus, radius and ulna. If those seem familiar, it’s because human arm bones have the exact same names. From my stash of wingbones, I selected the set that seemed to fit together the best. At first I was intimidated about the possibility of making mistakes, but bone, like wood, can be quite forgiving. Fatal flaws are rare. I read and studied articles I had clipped from outdoor magazines on how to make wingbone calls. Although the Internet — particularly, YouTube — is chock full of step-bystep instructions, I decided to trust my instincts over technology. Another self-imposed restriction was my use of only non-powered handtools to perform the work. The initial stages of manufacture included cutting, reaming and sanding the bones prior to bleaching them ivory white in a concentrated solution of hydrogen peroxide. This all took hours, and I didn’t hurry; I wanted to do it right. Next came fitting them together to provide the desired tone and resonance. Eventually, I got the bones perfectly aligned and connected them using a mixture of hot, gooey pine pitch, fire ash and pulverized cottontail rabbit droppings. I wanted to remain as authentic as possible with what Native Americans might have used. Next, on the humerus I painstakingly scrimshawed turkey tracks and a gobbler in profile. Among the last steps was to attach the call to a lanyard made from white-tailed deer sinew. After many hours of practice with my call I was confident enough to take it afield. Using a wingbone turkey call that I had created with my own two hands seemed to connect me with forces I had not previously felt. Perhaps we are never truly alone.
64

By Gregg Rinkus
GAME NEWS



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012

Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012
Whitetail Predation
Contents
Bill Zee’s Boone & Crockett Club River Bull
75 Whitetails
2011-12 Small Game/Furbearer Harvests
A New Atlas of the Nesting Birds of PA
A Question of Proof
Fifty-Year Quest for a Triple Trophy
Field Notes
Conservation News
Off the Wire
Another View
Fun Game
The Naturalist’s Eye
Straight from the Bowstring
Lock, Stock & Barrel
Crossings
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - Whitetail Predation
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - Bill Zee’s Boone & Crockett Club River Bull
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 4
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 5
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 6
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 7
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 8
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 75 Whitetails
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 10
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 11
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 12
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 13
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 14
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 2011-12 Small Game/Furbearer Harvests
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 16
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 17
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - A New Atlas of the Nesting Birds of PA
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 19
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 20
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 21
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 22
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 23
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - A Question of Proof
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 25
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 26
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 27
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 28
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 29
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - Fifty-Year Quest for a Triple Trophy
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 31
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 32
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - Field Notes
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 34
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 35
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 36
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 37
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - Conservation News
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 39
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 40
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 41
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 42
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 43
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 44
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 45
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 46
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - Off the Wire
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - Another View
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 49
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - Fun Game
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - The Naturalist’s Eye
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 52
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 53
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 54
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - Straight from the Bowstring
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 56
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 57
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 58
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - Lock, Stock & Barrel
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 60
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 61
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 62
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - 63
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - Crossings
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - BB1
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - BB2
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2012 - Cover4
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