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Roadkill question


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23 replies to this topic

#1 flytire

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Posted 22 September 2018 - 04:45 PM

Squirrels in my area are starting to gather nuts for the winter.

 

I see a few of them that committed suicide by running under a car wheel.

 

I really don't want to keep the entire body and go through the process of skinning and preserving the skin. I just want the tail. 

 

Do I just snip off the tail and then hang it to dry?


Fly tyers sure have a way at making things difficult

 

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#2 Powershooter

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Posted 22 September 2018 - 04:50 PM

I usually take a mason jar or a coffee can and fill mostly with salt . Stick the cut ends of the tails down in the salt . Really speeds up the dry time and bugs don't like the salt . I usually keep them in the shed until it's dry , especially since they have fleas and such . Deep freeze after drying will fix that too .
Bo Hamby

#3 Henry Denson

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Posted 22 September 2018 - 05:15 PM

Plenty of information on tail processing here. https://www.mepps.com/squirrel-tail/

#4 tjm

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Posted 22 September 2018 - 05:55 PM

salt in a jar will work, but I would use a tray so that it can lay flat/straight (top half of egg carton might work) and cover the entire thing with 20 Mule Team Borax from the laundry shelf at your grocer. I think borax dries hides faster and gives an better protection against future fur  beetles.

 

 

edit-

 A couple of things I didn't mention; first you can wash the skin/tail in a solution of warm water and dish liquid then blow dry so that you are working with a cleaner piece; second-if you use salt, it should be non-iodized; third if you want better protection from bugs in the future you can make a strong solution of borax in warm water and soak the tail for a day, then rinse with cold water and dry with blow dryer before letting it air  cure dry for a week or so.

Perhaps most important, your state may require permits to salvage any part of road kill some do and some don't.

Eric Leiser wrote a book on procuring/processing materials. 



#5 mikechell

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Posted 22 September 2018 - 07:54 PM

I save raccoon and squirrel tails.  I just put them in a plastic tub full of kitty litter.  Not the "clumping kind, just the "oil dry" kind.

The clay absorbs all moisture and odor, the dust kills all bugs.

 

It's worked for a few years, now.


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#6 Mike West

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Posted 23 September 2018 - 07:41 AM

Same thing here basically
I wash them in hot water and Dawn dish soap and then dry them and then I put them in a plastic container full of kosher salt until they are dry.. then the deep freezer

#7 Poopdeck

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Posted 23 September 2018 - 12:02 PM

Just how long does it take to dry out?

#8 phg

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Posted 23 September 2018 - 12:12 PM

Just how long does it take to dry out?

4 to 6 weeks. 

 

I wash them before I dry them as well.  I have deboned some, but it's not really worth the effort.  Fully dried they don't stink.



#9 tjm

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Posted 23 September 2018 - 12:48 PM

 

I just put them in a plastic tub full of kitty litter.  Not the "clumping kind, just the "oil dry" kind.

How long do you leave them in the clay? This something I have not heard of and sounds interesting.

 

About salt, sometimes it can draw moisture enough from the air to spoil a hide months later.

>>edit: I have not used salt for a long time and forgot to mention, salt only gets stuff semi dry and can let skin rot to complete the dying process alum should added in roughly equal amounts to the salt.

I personally never use salt on a pelt, they last just as long simply air dried and are preserved better with borax. In dealing with pelts for the international fur market salt is a no-no because of various problems it causes.

How long does it take; in optimum conditions -just air no chemicals, temperatures 50-70F, RH<80, fan to circulate air- about a week to air dry a raccoon or coyote pelt, longer for beaver and less for fox or bobcat. this will make it dry enough to ship through the USPS and store for several months- for long term storage of a pelt it needs to be in cold storage or bug proofed.

If the bone is left in a tail I would keep it in a shoe box of borax about a week.



#10 rstaight

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Posted 23 September 2018 - 02:19 PM

How often would the borax need changed until the pelt is dry?

"Scholars have long known that fishing eventually turns men into philosophers.  Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to buy decent tackle on a philosopher's salary." - Patrick F. McManus


#11 tjm

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Posted 23 September 2018 - 05:05 PM

It doesn't get changed, you can either blow off the excess with air or give it a cold water rinse . On furs I would only borax the hard to dry areas of ears and armpits, normally, and on the skin side. There are exceptions though.

 

On tying materials I like to give the borax a chance to 'soak' into the hair/fiber/skin as a bug deterrent. I'm told that if soaked in a solution of borax the stuff will penetrate enough to stay in the hair/feather for many years. Some taxidermists use it.



#12 mikechell

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Posted 23 September 2018 - 08:18 PM

Since fish have a superb sense of "smell", I don't bother washing raccoon and squirrel tails.  It takes a couple of weeks to dry out.  Any odor it retains from the dead animal flesh, I figure, is more natural than any chemical we use on them.


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#13 flytire

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Posted 24 September 2018 - 04:41 AM

how much odor can come from 1 squirrel tail?

 

i dont want to process a tire flattened hamburger looking carcass :)


Fly tyers sure have a way at making things difficult

 

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#14 mikechell

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Posted 24 September 2018 - 05:39 AM

There's not enough odor for me to detect it ... but I'm not a fish. 

What I can attest to is that my "Panfish Attractor" is tied with those raccoon tail hairs and it's seems to get hits when nothing else is working.  Only two reasons I can credit that to ...

1)  It's the design of the fly (which would bolster my own ego) or,

2)  It's the natural raccoon fur ... and possibly the "aroma" that comes with it.

 

I've never washed one, so I can't rule out the aroma.  I'm not GOING to wash any, in case it IS the aroma.


Barbed hooks rule!
My definition of work: Doing something in which effort exceeds gain.
Ex-Marine ... quondam fidelis
 


#15 DarrellP

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Posted 24 September 2018 - 07:47 AM

Great post!
"Calling fishing a hobby is like calling brain surgery a job." John Geirach