-A quick story:
While visiting a good friend in southern Ohio, lounging on the couch and catching up on things, a glint crosses his eyes and he says "Rob, I shot a doe this morning"
"Wow, it's only 9 and you're back in pajamas and sipping coffee already." says me. Half thinking he's joking.
"Perfect shot right from my back porch this morning, let's check her out, she's in the garage."
Perfect this is, and as excited I was about toasting with my friend over another meat-filled freezer taken from his backyard, I was already visualizing a bass gulping a popper on a May morning. I asked to see if he had any plans for the hide, he said no, so I proceeded to notch out a belly hair patch (for spinning) and also took the tail (clouser city). If you hunt and have never connected the dots with fly fishing, READ ON, I'm going to show how to salt cure a deer pelt for your tying pleasures.
This is so easy I can barely justify writing an article about it.
- Flesh out the hide.
-I use a hard metal spatula in the picture series to do this, but the hard plastic dish scraper often found on kitchen sinks works great. Anything hard and flat works.
- Stretch the hide a bit
- Pour salt all over the exposed skin, make a layer of it!
- Then, Wait until you get the desired result
While the hide is curing it may need it's salt replaced with new salt from time to time. I usually allow for at least 4-5 days of drying and commonly re-do the salt every 1-2 days.
Check out the pictures below to see how do-able this is.
Where to cut the hair patches from:
Quick Tip: One easy test for me to determine how well the hair will spin is to press my thumbnail down into a small clump of fur. This mimics what the hair will flare like under thread tension. If the hair has the springy factor I want I'll grab that fur for my collection. The belly hair flares very nicely and also due to it's white color, it takes on various dyes much easier. The whole belly white patch serves well in tying bass bugs.
First heat a small stainless steel pot to a boil and allow it to cool slightly to just very hot. Next, mix in some a few tablespoons of salt into the mixture and then the dye.
Then, grab the selected white hair patch and place it hair side down into the still very hot water. In order to get a good dye you'll have to work the hair to allow the dye to saturate down to the roots.
Allow the hair to sit in the pot for at least an hour, this is where the magic happens.
The heat not only aids in dying the patch but also causes the hair to plump up to fly shop spinning quality. I found this out completely by accident; just following the instructions for the carpet dye.
Grab a blow dryer and comb through the hair while drying it with the blow dryer until dry (the hide will stay plump and wet for much longer, hit it with more salt if needed)
Don't limit the experiment to only deer, squirrel and rabbit strips can also fill the hair drawer. I'm going to be experimenting with zonker and crosscut strips when I get a chance. If you know of a good way to get a good flexible zonker'd rabbit hide let me hear about it in the comments. I want to up my slumpbuster count the cheap way if at all possible.