Grouse Tails

Discussion in 'Upland Game hunting, Dogs and dog training' started by Bingo boy, Nov 12, 2009.

  1. I was reading a thread , and one of the gent's stated he was drying a tail for pinning.
    Which then flashed a thought .... Usually when I save anything - it's a wing or two for the new pup to practice alittle sight pointing ..

    So what do you guys do ?

    Do you actually collect or save the fan (tail) and have them mounted like a turkey tail etc ... ?


    How many of you actually pluck a grouse as I do preporation for cooking ?

    Wanna kill these ads? We can help!
  2. I save nice looking tail feathers and mount them I have three drying now.

  3. I have quite a few I have dried/drying. Still not sure what I am going to do with them!
  4. Show 'em your stuff Wormdunker.
    Terry has some nice work that he has done over the years.
    He even uses spruce grouse tails on occasion. :D
  5. I save the tails and often mount them in a shadow box frame.

    Got some catching up to do on these. :)
  6. Beautiful display Mark.

    I'm saving a few for a friend that wants to display them in his cabin.
    I feel sorry for him(and his dogs) he is a rather poor grouse hunter and an even worse wingshooter so I take pity on him and donate some of the ruff tailfans I have taken during the season. :D

  7. Did my first one 4 years ago. Liked the color. Have a dozen or so more that I haven't displayed yet.

  8. I save some of them, I have a few in the garage etc...From one of the 1st grouse I shot over my Brittany, I saved a few tail feathers and the two shells it took to hit it. I mounted these inside a picture frame with one of my favorite prints.

  9. Could someone describe the process they use for drying? I dried my first grouse and my first turkey and was very disappointed with the results. They're both in a box in the basement because I decided they really weren't worth displaying.

  10. Hmmmm, I wonder who that poor soul (wingshooter) is???? ;) Although I understand a certain wager may prove otherwise by seasons end :)

    Scott, Do you make the wood base yourself? Is the base of the tail feathers glued in place? I'd like to try one like it myself.

    K9wernet, My simple method: I don't scrape all the skin and fat off the base of the tail, so have to wait for it to dry in the basement. I carefully spread the tail fan out on a piece of cardboard & thumb tack the end feathers in place to hold it open. I put salt under & on top of the base area, cover the tail & base with a couple paper towels and place a heavy book on top to hold it down and in place. I then wait a couple months for it to dry. Once dry, the tail is permanently spread nicely open. Wipe the salt off.
    I cut a piece of leather in an oval shape to fit over the top and bottom of the base then hot clue the leather over the base & quill ends.

    It has worked for me. Hope this helps.
    #10 birdog12, Nov 13, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 30, 2015
  11. I use salt during the drying process too. I can't seem to find borax anywhere. I pin mine to cardboard too. The trick is to put a pin at the center of the base of the tail feathers then spread the feathers and pin the right and left feathers at their base. I don't have a basement so I keep mine out in a mouse free shed.
  12. Thanks Bobby I can't find any pictures handy of the ones I,ve done. But here is one by the master who has shown me how to due them.


    The one's I have done are all varations of this. I did some for both the Lakes Stakes Grouse Ch. and Mi. Woodcock Ch. winners. I've done some for friends like Bobby and BearCreek but those had their dog pictures in center. And no I never use a spruce grouse tail in one, well not yet!
  13. I bought mine from Brad on the Upland Journal, I think they are for sale in his gear section.
    I don't glue anything just fit it into the slot of the plaque.
  14. That's a beauty.
  15. Fellas I know this is a little different than your huge buck you shot but the principles still apply, especially if you have an important tail to preserve (ie last bird, first bird, etc.) That is cleanliness.

    Your enemy is the dermestid beetle. That thing will eat anything protein/fat. It will leave little sawdust like shavings under your bird mount or tail. They like the dark so their work is done where you can not see. You will just pick up your bird mount and it will feel loose and falling apart or you will move your tail fan and the feathers will just fall off. You may also see little things that look like rice hulls but upon closer inspection are actually the exoskeletons of larvae or pupae. The beetle is small and black with some tan on its thorax.

    I can see many of you have some of the rump feathers attached and if you do you have left way lots of meat and tissue for them to eat and wreck your mount. Once invited into your home they will then search out whatever there is for them to eat including your other more expensive mounts, especially birds or poorly handled other mounts.

    To be successful over the long haul you must scrape down all the way to the quills of the tail feathers. The tail will be held by a small amount of connective tissue and when dry will be fragile. To improve the strength you can apply a little glue and cloth ( like birddog12 did), thin bondo, hot glue, epoxy whatever. I would not use elmers glue as a first choice but you could.

    You can use salt or borax to speed the drying time. Just brush it off good before sealing the quill end. If you use borax to preserve it you CAN NOT use elmers glue! They are not compatible. If you are bored mix the two sometime when your kids or grandkids are around.

    Just wanted to put my 2 cents in to maybe save someone some grief. This is from 2 decades of professional and semi profesional taxidermy experience. I am a little obsessive about mount cleanliness and prep procedures!

    I think birddog12's pic is the best set up going. Having it sealed in the picture frame also helps to protect it by acting as a barrier from beetles and moths.


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