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Homemade birch bark call
How many of you have made your own birch bark call? Is it hard to do and is it worth it?
It’s easy to make a serviceable one. Much harder to make a real good looking one. Thirty bucks will buy a “classic” birch bark call. Black rolled roofing and a few staples makes a very good call as well.
If you’re shooting long bow or round ball, then definitely opt for the good looking birch call
If it’s compound and carbon, then go tar paper or plastic jug :)
Not hard at all. I'd say it's worth the hour of time it takes to throw one together. It's a fun little project and a neat souvenir of the hunt after it's over with. It looks good hanging next to a set of moose antlers, as well.
I've made big ones and small ones. The one I have now is a little worn out so I may make a new one for this fall. It does take a little time to put one together so that it doesn't fall apart after a few uses. My hunting buddy has a fiberglass one, not sure who's called in more but we both called in bulls.
Not hard at all. I made one on a fly-in fishing trip to Ontario a few years back. Once rolled up in the shape you want, wrap with twine to hold the shape till it is dried. Then when that is done, drill holes and sew it together with artificial sinew. If I can remember to get some pictures when I get home, I’ll post them.
Funny you mentioned that Ambush as I shoot a longbow and wood arrows.
My dad made one, and he used leather to stitch it. It looks really really good. He shoots a rifle. ;)
It's about a 10 minute project in the field, with a roll of electrical tape, a sharp knife and a tree.
Is it worth the effort? Mainly, is it worth carrying it around? Or should I just skip it and use my hands?
Powder, unless you have a megaphone boice like my sister in law go with a call rather than hands. Higher volume will bring in more animals as more will here it. I have heard of calls man made being heard from 6 miles over water.
Brian that's how I made mine. Must be an east coast thing ;>
Is there a time of year when the bark slips better? Or Is there a time of year when the bark dries better? Or Does it matter?
I have to travel to moose country, so birch bard isn’t very practical for me. I had a fiber glass one (don’t recall the brand, just a guy that builds them in his garage). It was good. Left it with my guide last hunt.
I think the difference in a “horn” and hands is pretty drastic myself. It is certainly a pain to tote around, but to me worth it. We called to a bull across the valley last fall, I guesstimate him 2.5-3 miles away, I have absolutely no doubt he heard us loud and clear.
Not sure the cone shape is better than a wiffle bat style elk tube. Cone is traditional because it was easy to roll that way.
This is the one I had. Apparently it’s called “bull magnet”. I would buy another.
Hands work pretty darn good.
Called this guy in from about 1 1/2 miles with my bitch bark call. Had to use duct tape of course. Called a bunch of bulls in with it. Called them in with my hands too. Pretty easy to call in October. My buddy and I would paddle remote streams even without tags in the Sioux Lookout country of Ontario just to call bulls. Was a blast. The rack on my wall is a 55" Minnesota moose from 04.
Here's a closer look. Nothing fancy but great sound.
Last season we had a Bull Magnet call in camp. We also had my trusty Phillips 66 Aircraft Oil bottle (1 qt) with the bottom cut out. After trying both, the Bull Magnet got tossed aside into the blueberries by our tipi. Right or wrong, we both agreed that....to our ears....the oil bottle sounded much more realistic in raking / thrashing, and serves just as well as a directional megaphone. By an oversight, the Magnet got left next to a spruce tree near camp when we flew out. I’m guessing a certain big chocolate grizzly is going to turn it into a chew toy before I get back there.
Went all the way to Quebec, and all I got was this lousy call.
Maybe you can use it tomorrow, Troy.
The wife assures me that I’m plenty loud enough without it, Chuck!
Agree with Kevin’s post. The plastic oil can-on-a-stick sounds extremely realistic for scraping/raking brush. My Alaska guide, Bruce, says to use a conventional oil can, though. The synthetic ones don’t sound as realistic ;-)
Haha T-roy, no wonder you didn’t call in a moose. That’s a French beer drinking funnel!!
For bull grunts we used to punch a little hole in a two pound coffee can and pull a long round shoe lace through the hole and knot the end. You wet the string, reach up into can and pinch the string between thumb and fire finger. By pulling and sliding you fingers down the string at different speeds and lengths, you could learn to make a very credible bull or cow grunt. But they were a noisy, bulky pain to carry around.
Multi-Viscosity oil cans work better in all temperatures.
To add to Kevin Dill’s advice. In very cold weather a full synthetic jug could make the difference. Also keep in mind if you’re hunting in Canada, these are Metric moose. If you’re just looking for a meat moose then a two litre jug will work But for the serious trophy hunter, a step up to the four litre jug is the answer.
Natural internal baffling, make the moans draw out longer and smoother than Kessler’s.
I have one. Sounds good. Wouldn’t take it moose hunting tho.
Some guys voice moose calls are much quieter than others and need an amplifier of some sort like a birch bark call. I’m told my moose calls sound great but are not very loud so I use one when I remember to bring it. Or an elk tube. Or I actually change my call sound to more of a loud O when I want it to carry further. I don’t think moose are too picky about exactly how it sounds but they do need to hear it...
Moose in Canada aren’t too smart. Whatever you can come up with, a 1liter oil can, or a Tim Hortons cup would probably even work! ;)
I’m hoping you still have my Bull Magnet Nick! Lol Gonna need it again soon. :-)
I made two while on a hunt in Quebec. Our native guide showed us how. Everything was natural. We cut-n-peeled the bark from the tree and soaked in the lake over night to make it pliable. While it was soaking, we got some long root/vine (can't remember the name of it) that was growing there. Carefully split the root/vine along the length and that will be what you sew the call up with. It splits easily. Once the bark is pliable, start by rolling one corner to the size of your choosing and use a piece of rope/line to hold it in place. You will have one corner exposed on the outside once you roll it. Take your knife or saw and gently cut that corner of the wood off so you now have a long, straight seam (edge). Take something pointy and sharp and "drill" two rows of holes along each side of the seam about 1" apart lengthwise. If your pocket knife has an awl on it, that will work. Thread the root/vine you split earlier thru the holes you "drilled" just like you would if your were sewing a hole in your pants or socks. Tie off the ends of the root/vine on each end of the call. Once you have it sewn up, take your knife or hand saw and gently saw the excess wood off the big end of the call to make it flush and smooth. That way you can stand the call up on it's end. You can stop there or you can reinforce the big end (or both ends) of the call with a 1/2" to 1" wood strip around the circumference of the big end of the call. Sew that on just like you did for the seam. That's pretty much it. It looks pretty sharp and natural when you're done. If you're the artsy type you can carve, etch or paint a design on the side of the call.
Wow. I got a lot more replies than I thought I would! Thanks!
When you make a call, do you put the outer bark of the tree to the inside or outside?
Outside. It naturally curls that way to begin with.
I like to be different and rolled mine so that the outer bark is on the inside. I made one each way and liked the look much better of the inner bark on the outside, so I went with it.