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Virtual workshop makes building a turkey call reality

BY Randy Zellers

ON 02-03-2021


Feb. 3, 2021

Randy Zellers

Assistant Chief of Communications

FORT SMITH — The Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center will hold a special turkey hunting workshop where participants will learn to build their own turkey call at 5:30 p.m., Feb. 12. Thanks to some innovative thinking, you don’t have to be present to build.

The workshop will be hosted via teleconferencing software, and participants will be able to pick up a kit including all the materials needed to complete a friction turkey call they can use to chase down their bird this spring.

“Participants who can drive to the center can pick up a kit by 4 p.m., Feb. 11,” said Dannielle Simmons, education program specialist at the center. “And if you can’t drive, if you register and call us by 4 p.m., Feb. 7, we can make arrangements to mail you a kit. After that, the mail may take too long to get there in time.”

Registration for this free online workshop is available at

Building a turkey call

The yelp of a hen turkey may sound like fingernails on a chalkboard to people, but it may as well be whispering sweet nothings into the ear of male turkeys. Over the years, hunters have imitated these sounds with all sorts of instruments, but one of the most popular is a wooden striker scratched across a piece of slate or glass that’s mounted on a soundboard to amplify the vibration. 

“The materials in the kit will include a slate, soundboard and oak dowel to get you started,” Simmons said.“We’ll walk through the steps to build the call, then rough them up and start working on calling techniques as time allows in the class.”

In addition to building a call, workshop attendees will learn a little about turkey anatomy and their life history. The more knowledge hunters have about their target, the more they can adjust their hunting techniques to increase success. 

“Hunting and fishing have seen some added attention in the wake of the pandemic, and we’re constantly looking for ways to keep the outdoors in people’s minds as a healthy alternative to sitting at home with cabin fever,” Simmons said. “While we’d love to host in-person workshops more often, these virtual ones have opened a door to a whole new group of budding outdoors enthusiasts. Even after the pandemic is over, I see incorporating them in our programming as something that’s here to stay.”

Sign up here to build your own turkey call with the AGFC

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