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BilletHead

A small how to Bucktail preservation

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       I use a lot of Bucktail in fly tying. I don't yet dye my own but spray over white for color on my shuttlecock streamers. It sometimes is hard to get good bucktail in fly shops. We are coming in on the time of year when the deer hunters including me can get and prepare our own. So we will do a quickie if anyone wants to try it. When skinning my deer for processing I cut off the tail bone and all at it's base. Ziplock and throw in fridge or freezer until you are ready. When you have the time split the skin at base of tail  to the tip and began to skin the bone and meat from. You cannot just yank out the bone it has to be skinned to the tip.  Scrape out any fat and flesh from the skinned tail. Now to clean the blood and grease from the tail. I get a five gallon bucket. Hot water and dish soap. I get carried away with the soap. Wash and wash and wash more squeezing the bucktail. When you think you have it washed it enough do it again. You want it grease and fat free. Rinse well and shake dry as possible. Then paper towel dry. Get yourself a board to nail and stretch the tail. Nail at tip and base then work the width of it until fully open,

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   Pile on borax. I just buy 20 mule team. The moisture will come out and the borax will work into the skin,

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   Set aside to dry. How long? Just keep checking it. I have places in my messy shop where I will just let them go for a month or more. If you are in a hurry just check it in a week or so for dryness. It will be stiff and totally dry like rawhide with hair on. Here is one done,

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   You may say I am cheap but I get better stuff doing it myself.   If you hunt retain your tail and if not I bet you know someone that does.  DIY fellows,

BilletHead

 

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I do a treatment of my wife's hair conditioner on all my tails and rabbit hides. It takes that hard crackly feel away, eliminates static, and doesn't leave a lingering smell.  

For bright colors (chartreuse, red, blue, orange) you can use Spike-it plastic worm dye.  Leave it outside until the garlic scent fades away.  I've read that a vinegar bath sets the dye better but I kinda like it to fade a bit.  

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44 minutes ago, fishinwrench said:

I do a treatment of my wife's hair conditioner on all my tails and rabbit hides. It takes that hard crackly feel away, eliminates static, and doesn't leave a lingering smell.  

For bright colors (chartreuse, red, blue, orange) you can use Spike-it plastic worm dye.  Leave it outside until the garlic scent fades away.  I've read that a vinegar bath sets the dye better but I kinda like it to fade a bit.  

           I have dyed my wild turkey feathers for fletching with Rit dye and then set with vinegar. It does a good job. 

BilletHead

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Thanks for this I am going deer hunting for the second time ever and was very interested in how to do this. Perfect timing from billethead! Now you just haveto release that shuttlecock recipe muahahahahah!

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12 minutes ago, trythisonemv said:

Thanks for this I am going deer hunting for the second time ever and was very interested in how to do this. Perfect timing from billethead! Now you just haveto release that shuttlecock recipe muahahahahah!

        It is coming I promise :) ,

BilletHead

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3 hours ago, BilletHead said:

        It is coming I promise :) ,

BilletHead

Lol I saw that plateau has them for sale and ty said they are excellent flies!

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Excellent Marty!

i buy mine form various places. It’s so hard to find the fine bucktail I like from the fly shops. I’ll rummage through ten tails or more before I find the one I like. Then grab a piece to cut to length. After I cut it off I grab it by the tips with my left hand,  then take my right hand and slide my fingers from left to right with a light grasp. This removes the smaller, shorter, under hairs that cause problems. Only use the hair stacker if needed. 

Good bucktail is so hard to find!!

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32 minutes ago, Mitch f said:

Excellent Marty!

i buy mine form various places. It’s so hard to find the fine bucktail I like from the fly shops. I’ll rummage through ten tails or more before I find the one I like. Then grab a piece to cut to length. After I cut it off I grab it by the tips with my left hand,  then take my right hand and slide my fingers from left to right with a light grasp. This removes the smaller, shorter, under hairs that cause problems. Only use the hair stacker if needed. 

Good bucktail is so hard to find!!

          Yes for sure get rid of the under fur and short stuff out of the clump. Rarely use the stacker either. Like the hair staggered.  I would like a few more tails but really do not want to shoot another deer this season. Have a local deer processer bit they salt and keep the hides to ship off and want the tails intact on the hides. I do have a friend who braintans and he said he had a few for me. Got some from him before and they are pretty mangled :(

   P.S.   If any of you deer hunters that do not tie your own fly's and do me a tail up like above if you have time  I would make you a shuttlecock ,

  BilletHead

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