Survival Skills: How to Make Your Own Game Calls

There are many ways to call wild game. But how can you call those critters if you brought no calls with you? What if it's an emergency and you need to lure animals in for your food?

The answer: build your own calls with things you find in the field. Check out these three time-tested calls.

Hare and Fawn Cry
If you can't produce an animal-in-distress sound with a blade of grass held between your thumbs, you can try whittling a wooden fawn bleat or hare cry call. You'll need a finger-thick stick 5 to 6 inches long, and a strip of bark for a reed. Birch bark is best, but you can use other bark strips or blades of grass in areas without birch.

Split the stick in two with a knife and carve out a trapezoid-shaped channel on each side, making sure the channels line up. Sandwich the bark strip in between either side of the split stick and tie one end of the stick together tightly, leaving a few inches of bark hanging out the untied end of the stick. Pull the bark strip taught, and blow through the carved area of the stick. Play with the reed tension and your volume until you can make the call cry.

Squirrel Nuts
Rub together two rough-skinned hickory nuts to draw the attention of squirrels or their predators. I once sat on a log, scratching two hickory nuts together for 10 minutes or so, only to find that a curious squirrel had crept up behind me on the same log, barely 5 yards away. I guess he thought I had gotten into his stash.

Elk and Moose Horn
Birch bark comes to the rescue again for this field-built call. For those who know the various sounds made by elk and moose (and have a gift for mimicry), a cone of rolled bark can act as a megaphone to amplify your best impressions of these animals. If you have enough bark, make the cone about a foot and a half long, with a large opening of six inches at one end and a smaller opening of one and a half inches. "Eee"s, "oooo"s and "yuh"s can be projected through the horn.

Have you made your own calls in the field? Tell us your methods in the comments.