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niveker

Natural Black Squirrel Pelt

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Down here, the flying squirrels are nocturnal.  They're around, you just don't see them during the day.

As far as I know, we don't have black squirrels here.  They are a melatonin variation of any squirrel species.  In areas where they are most prevalent, the strain is out competing the regular colored squirrels.  I've never lived where they are, but we vacationed on Rice Lake in Canada, and they were everywhere.  They were solid black.  No white belly, tips or underfur.  Just black.  For us visitors, they were an exotic species. They were used to being hand fed and some would even sit in our laps while they ate.

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We have quite a few black squirrels around here.  There are some neighborhoods in the burbs where all the squirrels are black.  I've seen a few in my neighborhood.  I've yet to see one when I'm out squirrel hunting.  No fox squirrels in eastern PA.  The only time I've hunted them was I was in Columbus, OH for my DLA intern training back in the early 80's.  Definitely have more meat on them than the local gray squirrels.  I saved a couple of the tails to hang on my rear view mirror, but I wasn't in to fly fishing back then.  I don't usually save the hides, but I did find a neat trick for the tails.  I was cleaning a couple of grays and found if I made a couple of cuts at the base of the tail I could peel the tail off of tail bone.  Turned them right side out, filled them with Borax and hung them to cure.

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Most peeps just leave the bone in lettem dry as long as they don’t rot.  Lil trick pulling bone out.  I spilt mine after then salt to dry.  Philly, I’ve had no luck trying to split out to the end with a knife. Use 2 big nails, 2 screwdrivers to strip.  Trappers have “tail strippers”

 

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I was just checking the drying progress.  Tail is good to go, the hide is still a bit greasy, so I scraped the skin side against the square edge of the board and covered with more borax.  All of the tails I've bought have the bone in , this one I deboned, and broke it in two in the process.  I had it in the freezer for a week or so before skinning it, I've heard the tail comes off easier the fresher it is, but I don't know.  The dry, deboned tail is very brittle, it just broke into a third piece as I was whacking the borax off.  Pissed me off.  Next time I may leave the bone in.  

That's  a beautiful tail there, denduke.     

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I leave the bone in on the raccoon tails I get.  I just put them in a jar, then fill the jar with clay based kitty litter (oil dry material).  After a few weeks, it's dried out like an Egyptian Mummy.  I leave them in there when not in use ... keeps them dried out.

Oh, that reminds me.  I've got some deer tails sitting in a box of kitty litter.  Forgot all about them until just now.

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Final product -

a nice mix of colors, almost pure black in the center, light gold tipped hairs changing to a more vibrant ginger along the flank and belly.  

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23 hours ago, niveker said:

Final product -

a nice mix of colors, almost pure black in the center, light gold tipped hairs changing to a more vibrant ginger along the flank and belly.  

IMG20221113092334a.jpg

IMG20221113092531.jpg

IMG20221113092601.jpg

IMG20221113092353.jpg

IMG20221113092551.jpg

Wow, great looking pelt- nice work!

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Niveker you’re right tons of black squirrels in canada, I swear in southern Ontario they’re the size of a small dog. And not afraid of people. 

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23 hours ago, DFoster said:

Wow, great looking pelt- nice work!

Thanks DF, I'll tie up a few black squirrel nymphs this winter and keep them in my box in case I ever run into you on the water

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21 hours ago, Northcaddis said:

in southern Ontario they’re the size of a small dog.

Lol - are you sure they're not black groundhogs?  

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On 9/5/2022 at 4:03 AM, niveker said:

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?

Your cat.  Lol

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8 hours ago, niveker said:

Thanks DF, I'll tie up a few black squirrel nymphs this winter and keep them in my box in case I ever run into you on the water

Thank you for the kind thought and it's certainly possible as we occasionally fish the same waters.  I'll be  the one smoking a cigar, wearing waders and a tilly hat- Oh wait....😄

Seriously though each time I meet a friendly fly angler in your neck of the woods I say "Kevin is that you"?  Haven't got a "yes" yet.

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