How do you preserve Bucktails? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: How do you preserve Bucktails?

Dan Emidy
12-01-2009, 09:07 PM

My friend just gave me a few bucktails (fresh). I just cleaned the meat off. I am now left with just the skin and hair. I was wondering what the best way to preserve them is? I just threw them in the freezer for now. Any advice would be nice.


12-02-2009, 12:18 PM
A liberal amount of salt on the flesh side of the tail is one method. There are others, e.g. using alum. The method I use is relatively straightforward:
- Slit the tail to remove the bone (bottom of the tail)
- Scrape meat from the skin
- Open the tail and apply a layer of salt on the skin
- After a couple of days, an additional amount of salt may be required since it is drawing moisture from the skin.
- Repeat this process, if necessary, until the moisture is gone.

One caveat, deer tails after curing with salt do smell. Put in ziploc bags for storage.

12-02-2009, 03:08 PM
I can't match Jim's knowledge and advice and I have no recommendations re your question..........I only have one commment/observation......... any guy who puts their "treasure' in the fridge HAS got to be single (or shortly will be) :hihi:


01-01-2010, 01:03 AM
I know I got around to posting an answer to your question late, hopefully not too late. Anyway, it will be useful to you in the future. The best method I've ever used for deer tails, or even full hides or portions of hides from deer, elk, moose, caribou, big horn sheep, etc. is to coat them with common, ordinatry borax rather than salt. The borax dries out the hide, disinfects it, helps to deorderize it, and helps preserve it all in one. Much nicer and far less mess than using salt. Granted, hides (and split deer tails, needed to get the bone out) coated with borax will get stiff, but I'd rather have a stiff hide than deal with the mess of a salted hide.

01-12-2010, 02:30 PM
I was also late in a reply to this post (just got on board) but in any case here goes.

"jimS" is correct just the way it should be done only I fully agree with "flytyer" is dead on......never use salt for all those reasons. This is what I was told by the pros.

The only thing I would add, I wash all my skins and tails in warm water, dry as best I can by rolling them in newspaper. I then streach them skim side up on a of plywood, try to get the hair in it's natural lay. Then tack with 1-2" brads, spacing depends on size of skin however I even do all tails this way.
I do game birds this way also but don't wash unless they are real bad (bloody).
Hope this helps.