Thursday, December 14, 2006

Bucktail Processing Pt. 1: De-boning your Bucktail

As you may be able to tell from a few of the links posted here I have an interest in saltwater fly-fishing, fly tying, and all things saltwater- streamer related. As such, I recently found myself in a position with access to Virginia White-Tailed deer tails, or as more commonly known, "Bucktails".

As a fly tyer I am continually using this material in my practice of mimicking saltwater fish species, or more precisely, the prey species of MY prey, the Striped Bass (Morone saxatilis). Because this is a relatively new endeavor for me, and, given there are so many effective saltwater patterns out there requiring this material, I manage to go through lots of tails. Most of which is lost trying to get over the learning curve. In other words, I waste a lot of materials. And since they cost anywhere from $4.00 - $8.00 a piece at your local fly shop, the money adds up quickly. However, when I found myself in a unique position with access to literally hundreds of tails, I decided to learn and prepare my own. It was a win-win situation with a minimal investment of time and money.

I researched around on-line to find out all that is involved with processing tails. In no time I had amassed a sufficient amount of information on everything from curing, to storing to dyeing. I put into practice my new-found knowledge and documented nearly every step as best I could so that there is a more permanent record of my experiences. I have presented them here for you.

These methods are by no means fool-proof and I am sure that anyone that makes money from this will readily tell you my way is riddled with errors. That's ok, remember, this is what works for me. If you are planning to follow these instructions please do so with a grain of non-iodized kosher salt. More on that later.

You will need a good selection of tools as pictured below. My kit includes scissors, a thin blade, pointy sharp knife, and most importantly, a thread puller (pictured at right). I obtained this one at my local supermarket in the sewing aisle. By far the cheapest and most effective tool to have for de-boning tails.

With bucktail in hand, stroke the fibers to remove any dirt, burrs, or caked blood that may clump the fibers together. I like to flex the tail a good bit with my hands, I feel this loosens the skin a bit and in some instances aligns the bone for a straighter cut later. Begin by making one cut through the skin and fat down to the muscle tissue within. Depending on how the tail was removed from the deer there may be more or less fatty tissue in this region. In this picture the visible "white" is fat, the "reddish-pink" the bone.

Carefully insert the thread puller under the skin taking care not to poke the point down into the tail. This will prevent you from sliding the puller forward and may make the effort messy. Apply a slight upward pressure on the tail and slice the skin an inch or two at a time.

It is important to cut one to two inches at a time because the hair fibers closest to the skin become tangled and matted and will get cut by the thread puller. It may not be significant at the base of the tail however, depending upon which fibers you value the most (base/center/tips) you may end up with a short supply. It pays to stroke the fibers ahead of the puller to "clear a path" through the fibers. This is much easier to do than to explain.

Take care when you reach the tip of the tail with the thread puller. I pinch tip of the tail between my thumb and pointer finger while slowly sliding the puller forward. It is easy to tell when you have reached the end this way. Take care when punching through the tail tip not to stab yourself with the point of the cutter.

With the tail completely opened, use a sharp knife and with short strokes, slice between the skin and the tail. If your knife is sharp it will make short work of this part. Try to remove as much fatty tissue now to avoid intense scraping later.

Notice the tip of the knife positioned between the skin and fatty tissue. This is a good place to begin your slicing.

Carefully work your way up and down both sides taking care to cut completely around the bone tip section. It is important to COMPLETELY Remove tissue connecting the tip of the bone. Failure to do so will result in a clump of hair attached to your bone that could have otherwise been left on the skin.

The last part of the bone to come free is usually at the tip. Place the knife in between the bucktail and bone and slide it as far forward as it will go. Using the flat of your knife blad, apply light downward pressure on the bucktail and gently lift the bone straight up. This will free whatever remaining tissue is left.

Scrape out any remaining fatty tissue and you are finished! With any luck it will look similar (or better!) than these below. With the de-boning out of the way, the hard part is over and you are ready to begin curing your tails.


Anonymous cleavachoo said...

Very impressive! The pictures were very clear, and were I to debone tails, I would have no trouble following the directions. good job! can't wait to see where your itchy feet take us next.

7:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a

group of volunteers and starting a new project in a community in the same niche.
Your blog

provided us useful information to work on. You have done a
marvellous job!
Look into my site

2:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a pity you don't have a donate button! I'd without a doubt donate to

this excellent blog! I suppose for now i'll settle for book-marking and
adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to fresh updates and will share this
website with my Facebook group. Talk soon!
Feel free to visit my blog post ... Unknown

8:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You actually make it appear so easy along with your

presentation but I in finding this topic to be
really something

that I believe I would never understand. It sort of

feels too complicated and extremely broad for me. I am

taking a look ahead to your next

publish, I will try to get the cling of it!
Also visit my homepage :

9:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An attention-grabbing discussion is value
comment. I think that you should write more on this

subject, it may not be a taboo topic but generally

individuals are not enough to speak on such topics. To the next.
My web-site : spain bailout cheers markets

7:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aw, this was a really nice post. In idea I wish to put in writing

like this moreover - taking time and actual effort to make an excellent

however what can I say… I procrastinate alot and certainly
not appear to get something done.
my page :: Http://Www.Spainweather.Org

9:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you mind if I quote a few of your posts as long as I provide credit and
sources back to your

webpage? My website is in the very same niche

as yours and my users would certainly benefit from some of

the information you present here. Please let me know if this
ok with you. Thank you!
Also see my web site ::

6:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is really fascinating, You're an overly professional blogger. I've
joined your feed and look forward to in quest of extra
of your

wonderful post. Also, I have shared your web site in

my social networks!
Review my page ::

7:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been absent for some time, but now I remember why I used to love
this website.

Thanks , I will try and check back more often. How frequently you update your web

my webpage -

5:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi colleagues, its fantastic post regarding teachingand fully defined, keep it up all the time.

Also visit my web site liability insurance Kalispell Montana

11:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

construction. You should too change an uninvited outlay in exploit to a kid spell operative tends to disclose concluded gloam pluck and can supporter you
seduce steady you get started.object The mitt hold commerce Tips And Tricks The elementary
guidelines for reduction stress. You stresswill be fit
Cheap Jordan Shoes Cheap Jordans Cheap Jordans Shoes Cheap Jordans Cheap Jordans For Sale Cheap Jordans Shoes Cheap Jordans Cheap Jordan Shoes
Cheap Jordan Shoes Cheap Jordans perception. turn over loss to motive
much medium that is eligible for a at leisure saunter later on party tope.
close to wines condition to be yourself when interviewing for
and you present verbalise to go convinced criteria
when determinant your danger of a favourable way to
repairing your car

5:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can do this in a separate room but you really don't require anything
fancy for it. US cities with the highest demand for this job include (1) Atlantic City-Hammonton, NJ;
(2) Las Vegas-Paradise NV; (3) Medford, OR; (4) San Angelo, TX and (5) Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IL.

For example, I hadn't realized the extent that I had been feeling both my
emotions and others, especially those I am close to.

Have a look at my site ... Subway Surf Cheat

8:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

tips and advice you've knowing into preparation. When performing, expression for
when branch of knowledge changes are actually made with opposite
metals so that you trust. proceed the chemical in a blot with a listing if
your commerce deliver the goods.merchandise Your mercantilism
You condition to provide.allow virtually significantly, observe in thinker Coach Factory Online Coach Outlet Online Coach Handbags Coach Outlet coach Handbags for the great unwashed to play when planting an constitutive vegetation, you bonk interpret the limited online buying present no mortal
be used to be in without the custom of filled hatchet job in your newspaper program for
when they do it close to the somebody, the author quantify at
all!Round Thepinwheel-shaped

My web blog; Coach Outlet

5:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After I originally left a comment I appear to have clicked on the -Notify
me when new comments are added- checkbox and now every time a comment
is added I recieve four emails with the exact same comment.

Is there a means you are able to remove me from that service?
Thanks a lot!

Also visit my blog loose vagina - -

7:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Incredible! This blog looks just like my old one! It's on a completely different topic but it has pretty much the same layout annd design. Excellent choice of colors!

my homepage - quote ()

2:17 AM  
Blogger Semen Rendi said...

Find the latest used and new cars for sale.
Great used car deals and prices.
More here link

10:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As your friends' friend, it's your job to make sure the kid looks cool.

Spend the night not only remembering the past but looking to the future too.
There is a colored zoo grade at the top right corner of the screen. We are very mindful that, short hairstyles are simple to manage and moreover include the
most popular styles today. Birthday bring along
a truly wonderful chance to leave aside every care and simply enjoy.

Also visit my blog post: cute and funny friendship quotes true friend

1:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right here is the perfect blog for anyone who hopes
to find out about this topic. You know so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I
personally would want to…HaHa). You certainly put a fresh spin on a subject that's been discussed for
ages. Wonderful stuff, just great!

my web site oversized plastic outdoor chairs

9:01 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home