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niveker

Natural Black Squirrel Pelt

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In my neighborhood, we've always had one or two natural black squirrels running around.  Walking the dog one morning last week, I noticed 4 of the little critters on the neighbor's lawn, apparently there was a good crop of mutants this year.  Of course, I naturally think about getting one of the skins for my fly tying. 

Low and behold that same morning on my way to work and just a few hundred feet from my driveway, the Goodyear gods have heard my silent plea and favored me with some fresh roadkill.  I scooped it up in a plastic bag I always carry for such purposes, stored it in the shed until I came home later that day when I put it in the freezer. 

Sunday I had time to skin it. 

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Skinned and fleshed, ready for a washing.  Accidentally separated the tail while de-boning, oh well.  

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washed, drip dried, and combed.  

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Tacked and ready for a top coat of borax.  

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Will post better pics of the hide when finished.  

.  

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 Good for you-  Squirrels have been emptying our bird feeders for years.   It never bothered me back when a bag of decent seed was less than $8- we all got to live.  But In the current economy that same bag of seed is now $12 and the little thieves are starting to get expensive.  Tying a Picket Pins is more enjoyable these days. 

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A timely post as I have never seen a jet black squirrel until just a few weeks ago when I saw one in the neighborhood. I’ve seen him twice now on my after dinner walks. My mind went instantly to its tail and what I could use it for. Nice job prepping it. 

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There's always been one or two in the neighborhood here, this year there's a lot more.  Law of averages meant it was only a matter of time before one ended up under a tire.  I'm going to keep the pellet gun handy this winter, a winter coat with thick under and belly fur should be really nice. 

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As a teenager,  in the sixties, I hunted gray squirrels a lot in North Alabama with my trusty Benjamin air rifle - and don't believe I've ever seen a black squirrel.. Fast forward to many years later and both gray and fox squirrel tails were part of my material supplies for both bonefish and tarpon flies... for many years.   Very interesting...  Here are two tarpon flies with one using gray, the other using fox (or red) squirrel tail collars - they're both my version of Stu Apte's "Apte Too" tarpon bugs from years ago - and yes, occasionally having a weedguard on a tarpon fly might be handy...

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By the way,  a fellow in the natural materials industry mentioned the other day that squirrel skins and tails were getting very hard to come by in bulk for processing,  dyeing, and packaging for fly shops... Seems that these days the small monies they generate aren't worth much effort the way they were in past years... Don't think I like these days very much... 

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I had never seen a black squirrel here in Massachusetts until a few years ago, now I see a few per year.  I was told they are fairly common in the central U.S?

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I believe they are more common in the northern US and Canada, particularly in Michigan's UP.  There seems to be a pretty healthy population in the Amherst area, as well as around Stanley Park in Westfield, where a bunch were relocated from Michigan's UP in the early part of the  last century, or so the story goes. 

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5 hours ago, Capt Bob LeMay said:

Don't think I like these days very much... 

LOL - I hear that. Mepps will give two bits for every squirrel tail you send them.

Nice looking flies by the way. You've probably explained this before but why is the head set so far back on the bottom pattern?

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Back in the years before fluorocarbon came along, heavy bite tippets with monofilament were problematic (hard to straighten out and prone to allow a clinch knot to make the fly offset and not attractive at all).  One of the “fixes” was to snell that heavy leader to the fly so it had to track straight… that in turn encouraged tyers to provide flies with at least 1/4” of bare shank to accommodate the snell.  Some of the tarpon patterns I’m still drawing royalties on were developed back then (late eighties).  The other “fix” was the leader stretcher that was very popular back then.

 Once fluoro came along none of that was necessary- but tarpon still eat those same flies even if no one is snelling them any more… 

ps- the royalties involved are very small… Come up with a pattern like a Clouser or a Copper John… and things change.

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I tie a knail knot so not thru the eye on the bite tippet.  
Good many black squirrels in our MS Delta areas.   Somebody on one of these forums sent me some black tails.  I’m sure I sent him back a box of bugs but can’t remember who.  Had a daughter of fellow worker who helped a local taxidermist who gave me a life time supply of tanned deer hide trimmings. So I gave her a lil rig and box of flies...The Nutall and Shumard red oaks here make huge acorns.  I rake them up and put them in my deer feeders instead of yellar acorns when I can😛. Hope I get this right first time  after these pics b/c no editing thingy.  
 

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Notice they aren’t solid black.   They say they are gray squirrel variety not fox squirrel.

 

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Some around here appear darker than others, some almost look like they are a dark brown instead of black, especially on the tail.   

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I live in northern lower peninsula Michigan. We have mostly black squirrels and gray. The pine squirrels and fox squirrels have just about disappeared. That is just in the last eight years. 

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No fox squirrels here in New England, unfortunately, beautiful coloring on their pelt and their tail. Pine squirrels are around, but you don't see them as often as the grays. We also have flying squirrels, but they're never seen.   I know they're around as my cat leaves the occasional tail on the driveway

Any idea what's causing their disappearance?

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