Cleaning and washing salted deer tails for bucktail tying

Submitted by Charles Jefferson on 01/31/2004. ( )

In response to my earlier question, I used the word "fly tying" and understand the use of the "Hair". What I meant to ask was how to clean, wash, brighten the white hair on salted deer tails that are very very dirty with salt and who knows what else. They also have a tremendous order and would like to know how to salvage these for use in tying lead head bucktails.

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This response submitted by Carrie on 01/31/2004. ( )

My husband also tyes bucktails. He actually found it wasn't worth it to try and clean them up for use. It was more work than anything. He now orders his from Hobbs feather company.

Charles, try this

This response submitted by George on 01/31/2004. ( )

In a bucket of WARM water, mix some Dawn dishwashing detergent. Suds it up. Then dump the tails in there and let them set for a few minutes. Agitate them and then take them out and rinse them in warm clear water. Shake or sling all the excess water off. Put them in a plastic bag and set them in the fridge overnight. Next day, take them out and carefully stretch them out on a piece of cardboard, skin side down. Let them dry. Deer hair, though hollow, doesn't usually stain easily and they should look much whiter when washed anyway. Keep the dried tails in a plastic box with a sealed lid to keep bugs away and they should last as long as you do.

You may want to wash them in ERA.

This response submitted by John C on 01/31/2004. ( )

I have found that the Ultra Violet dyes used to brighten our clothes works great on deer tails, really makes your whites whiter. If you want them even brighter use a few drops of LAUNDRY BLUEING.

Remove the bone wash the tail and stretch the skin tack it hair side out on a pine board place a fan on it and it will dry in a day or two.

Then simply keep it in a sealed bag until using it.

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