Call them in and shoot them yourself. By far my best tying materials from mammals and birds are those which I've killed. Predator hunting is great fun. Takes a while to get proficient but it's well worth it. If you use an e-caller, it takes no time and very little skill, and any moron can do it. I couldn't imagine if my wife had the same point of view as yours (to be). The flies look great.
I have a few friends locally who hunt on a regular basis and I have asked them to keep an eye out for a few things. Coyote is one thing they target regularly as well as squirrel. I asked to go out with them sometime to give it a try but I first have to get my firearm and hunting license and take a few hunting/gun safety courses. The girlfriend just has a big heart, part of the reason I love her. She lets be be and does not give me much trouble with my hobbies or interests, as long as it is not right in her face.
Shooting an animal and getting the hide is the easy part, IMHO. Preserving the hide and fur is the hard part.
I am finding that to be true. My friends who hunt left me a few squirrel tails to preserve and I am currently in the process of giving it a try. I first cleaned the fur well with some dish soap, let it dry and then placed them in the freezer for a month to kill off most of the bacteria and parasites. My next step is to let them thaw, cut off as much of the meat on the bone as possible and then dry using a large container filled with salt. We will see how it works out.
Good looking skin and very nice flies! I agree that it's crazy to be paying fly shop prices when you can find good stuff in bulk. Even if you only need half the skin, you can always sell the rest and recover some of your money. There are some tremendous deals on Ebay if you know your prices and are willing to do some serious digging. Occasionally, you can find some pretty good deals on Etsy as well.
E-bay has been amazing for fly tying materials. I am always surfing around and looking for deals, the wonder (or should I say curse) of owning a smart phone.
I lucked out last fall picked up a complete soft tanned red fox pelt for about $45 from a great Ebay seller I use allot. It's classified as "Craft Grade" which is usually cheaper, and may some holes or damage, but for tying it's perfect. Enough to last me a life time ... or 2 Some really great stuff to tie with and blend with other materials.
I have kept an eye out for craft grade furs as well, have yet to find anything cheap enough to bother though.
I am sure some more fox will be used today at the bench, I will post some pictures a bit later.