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Fly Tying

Fox Tail Smell

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Hello I'm Marilyn. I got a fox tail today from road kill and I was wondering what the best way to clean it would be.

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Remove from the tail bone and slice it down the middle and stretch it out on a board with nails and either salt or borax it and with the salt if it ever gets humid it well get wet again so I recommend borax.

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I get the feeling you're not prepping it for fly tying, Marilyn.

If you are, just throw it in a container and cover it with clay style cat litter. (oil dry) That will pull out all the moisture and you can use the hair as needed.


If you're trying to make something ... wearable ... take it to a taxidermist/tanner. They can treat it right so it will still be soft and flexible.

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Since the tail is removed from the animal one method I found works well.

Removing the bone from the tail

1. Loosen the skin around the base of the tail until the bone is completely exposed.

2. Firmly grab the bone with a vise grip or pliers with one hand.

3. With the other hand twist the tail clock wise or counter clock wise.

Keep winding it up until you feel the hide move freely then stop.

Next replace your twisting hand closer to the tail tip and begin twisting again.

Repeat the process of twisting the tail and moving up until the tail slips completely off the bone.

Note: if you don't stop twisting after the hide is free and move up you can rip the hide.

4. Next slowly slit the tail open with a pair of sharp scissors until it is open from base to tip.

Scrape out any fat remaining at the base or inside the tail.

5. Wash the tail with dawn dish detergent and rinse.

Blot the tail with paper towels then either blow dry or go to the next step.

6. Nail the tail to a board with the skin side up then apply a layer of borax to the skin.

This helps to absorb mositure and oils as well as deter insects.

I either dry the tail in the basement or if it is sunny I'll dry it outside.

Dry time varies from a week in the house or 2 days if left in the sun.

When skin is dry use a soft brush to remove the borax and place the tail in a zip lock bag to deter insects (soft hair brush old tooth brush or paint brush).


Borax can be purchased at Wallmart.

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