My First Turkey Call

By Toby Benoit

I’m a turkey hunter. In fact, I am probably more passionate about turkey hunting than I am about any other of the outdoor sports. The excitement of listening to the Springtime conversations of those big beautiful birds is awesome, but when you take an active part in that conversation, knowing what to say and how to say it, can lead you to a euphoric overdose of adrenaline. Because, once that big old he-devil of a tom comes strutting in close, gobbling, spitting and drumming the entire way, it’s a spectacular rush!

I first learned to call turkeys from my grandfather. While I was just a young boy, he would tell me hunting stories and I loved the way his old blue eyes would shine whenever he was retelling the stories of turkey hunts long ago. He taught me the cadences of the calls and told me about a few of the callers and how they worked. One of those callers he taught me about was a wingbone turkey call.

Wingbone callers have been around for centuries. First used by Native Americans to reproduce the vocalizations of a wild turkey, archaeologists have uncovered these calls with estimates in age from six to several hundred years old. I’m aware of a pair of two bone style, wingbone callers on display at the Ah Tah Ti Ki Museum on the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation in South Florida that are in excess of three hundred years old. This call design is the simplest of all of the types of callers and is made with a pair of bones found in the turkey’s own wings.

Now, it’s kinda tough to get the bones to make the caller, when you don’t have the caller to call in the bird, right? Well, no worries because there are enough bones readily available at your local grocery store to satisfy your need. Hope you enjoy eating turkey!

Like I had been saying, it was my granddad who instilled in me my first love of turkey hunting. He told me in great detail how to make a wingbone call and how to use it to lure in an old gobbler; but, he passed away before he and I ever got to share a blind together in the Spring. Some years later, when I was a young teenager, I saved the wingbones from a Thanksgiving turkey and recalling my grandfather’s instructions, I made my first caller.

To my surprise, it wasn’t as difficult to learn how to use as I had anticipated and by the following Spring, I was ready to employ it to kill my first wild gobbler. Now, I wish I could tell you that I killed my first gobbler on that first hunt whilst using the call I built remembering his instructions. But sadly, no…. Them old gobblers are a pretty smart bunch and it was four years later before I was able to finally kill my first wild tom. Many, many old thunder-chickens have been the guest of honor at my dinner table since then and my wingbone callers have helped pass out the invitations.

I have enjoyed great success over the years when using this style of caller and if anybody would like to learn how to make their own, I’ll happily teach you! Please feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] God bless and good hunting!

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