RE:Craziest Tying Materials
I didn't mention specifics about what my wife has given me because I've got the same concerns about the law as you. Let's just say that she recently did some surgery on animals at a zoo in the area. Guess who got some of the hair that was shaved off to clear the area for the incision?
As for preparing skins, it's really easy. I save pieces of deer skin that I get on hunting trips for fly tying. I just stretch the hide on a piece of plywood or cardboard using heavy staples or small nails (fur side toward the board) and put lots of salt on the flesh side. I store it in a dry place for a couple of months and then put it in a ziploc bag with my fly tying stuff. You'll need to rub off the old salt and apply new once or twice as the salt pulls the moisture out of the hide.