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I went out and bagged 2 squirrels yesterday. After cleaning them, I left the tails out to dry so as to use them to tie some flies. When I went out this morning, they were gone!!! Turns out that the neighbors cat had taken them. Tonight, they are on the roof!!! I was just wondering how I should dry them? Is the roof method OK? How long do I need to leave them in the sun before they are good to go? What else can be used that may be a byproduct of my hunting: rabbit, goose, deer, turkey, etc.?
 

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From the rabbit the mask is used.

From the deer the fur and tail.

Turkey feathers are very good to have. I think they have two feathers that are unique to all the other feathers. These two feathers are desirable amoung some fly tiers.

This what I have found in the short time I've been tying flies.

If you go to some fly tying web sites and places that sell fly tying material you can see what they sell and you'll know what to save.

Hope this helps.
 

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I have an old pair of electric clippers I use to shave the hides to use as dubbing.

I put squirrel tails in my garage but I suppose the roof method could work.:p I don't do anything other than hang them in the garage.
 

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Tails are not safe on the roof either.
Salt th butt ends and place them in a cardboard box in the garage.
Use alot of salt.
You can even bury them(butt ends) in salt
 

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Sorry OSD, these are grey ones that I intend to use. I am sure that I will get plenty more so will keep you in mind. Trout, I hung them in the shed but I like your idea better, the cat wont be able to get into them if they are in a box with salt. Thanks for the help!! How long shall I cure them?
 

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make sure you get every scrap of flesh and fat off of the skin at the butt end of it. Also, be sure that it gets dried out. After that, I would prolly even use a bug killer, then put in microwave. Bug killer will kill live bugs, the micro explodes all the eggs. NOTE: be sure to get all the fat off the skin, or you risk it turning sour on ya.

steve
 

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what about putting them in the freezer for a few days??
 

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a freezer will kill the live bugs, but does NOT kill the eggs, the eggs are typically dormant, and the best way to kill them i have found is to nuke em.

steve
 

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o, i thought it killed all the bugs, makes sense i guess, since most bugs that would inhabit a live animal are there all year long, even in the freezing temps
 

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I've known people not to have a problem, but I've also known people to have LOTS of trouble, including one that had to throw away thousands and thousands of dollars worth of mat'l because of a bug infestation. Once they have taken hold, its really hard to save anything, easier and normally better to dump and start over.

The only wild non-treated skin that I have not had any problems with (through my non-scientific tests) is wild boar. (Makes great mayfly tails instead of moose mane) The hair is ungodly coarse and the skin dries as hard as a rock (need dremel to cut). For some reason bugs don't like this stuff, possibly because it has no fine hairs, i dunno.


steve
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Ok it looks like I need to: have fat and flesh off, leave them in salt for a whileto dry them good, shoot some bug killer on them, freeze them, then nuke them, then dry them, etc. Then repeat the process..... I am all about not paying someone else for something that I can "make" myself!! Will keep you all updated!
 

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Hunter, lol..so how much fun do you really want to get into? Squirrel tails, if you can debone them that is the premo way to go. I have found borax to be a great drying/anti smell agent over salt but salt will work. Like others said, get as much meat, fat ect off before you dry them. I also like to give them hides a gentle bath (woolite) to get blood, mucus, dirt ect off before I dry them.

Squirrels, tail is excellent and whole hide. If you do not like to tan hides a good pair of electic hair clippers will take off the hair for dubbing..the tummy stuff is outstanding.

Deer, tail (again, debone) belly hair up to and along sides is outstanding for spun hair flies, a Deer mask (yep I have capped a few deer) lay that flat after scraping off flesh, tack to a pc of scrap board and again borax. Great short hair for things like small roberts yellows.

Turkey, everything

Phesant, tail, whole body feathers, all have a use somewhere in fly tying.

Woodduck, hang onto the breast and side feathers, much desired wood duck feathers for wings

Grouse, woodcock, starling, whole skins as feathers are outstanding for nymphs and soft hackle

Turkey, wings, all feathers have possiblities.

Waterfowel, wing feathers, assorted breast and flank feathers and if you can find there oil gland, the feathers around that are soaked in there natural floatant, very good for dry fly wings. (Name for these guys has excaped my simple mind)

Woodcuck, some great short hair for small wings and dubbing.

Cat hair, just clip off while live and be discreete, family members who love there cats will just figure it was in a fight.

Have fun
 

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the feathers around their pineal gland are called cul-de-canard, very light and fluffy, saturated with natural floatant. Relatively expensive, nice to use on dries and emergers, and definitely cripples.

steve
 

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Oh, to add more, muskrat is very good hair, as the superfine and dense grey and brown base hair can be used very well on hex nymphs and a few stone nymph patterns to simulate pulsing gills. Man them are killer patterns....

steve
 
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