Saturday, December 17, 2011

Recycling Your Squirrels: Tails

    So you've limited out several times this year, or at least killed several bushytails, and you begin to realize how much of the animal you are actually using when you clean them and freeze them for later, and you wonder what you could be using the rest of your squirrels for.  Just like with deer, there are several things you can do with a nice squirrel decides eating it.  A series of posts following this one will introduce new ways to use other parts of squirrels, and a few recipes will fall among them too.
    To the tree squirrel, their tail is a very important anatomical feature that gives them balance and leverage in the upper reaches of tall hardwoods--to the average hunter, it usually goes in the gut pile.  If you routinely kill numbers of squirrels, it may be beneficial to keep these bushy appendages around.
    The number one spinner-fly company in the world, Mepps Lures, knows the value of squirrel tail, and it has shown in their domination of the fishing industry.  After trying countless animal hairs, squirrel tail provided the results the tackle crafters were looking for, and the spinners produced and sold by the company today are still made with natural and dyed squirrel tail.  If you are not into tackle craft or fly tying, for which it is also a staple ingredient in many streamer patterns, you can mail your collected and dried squirrel tails to the Mepps headquarters in Wisconsin in return for a small payment.  Here is the link to the page on the Mepps website:
    Even if you have no interest in preserving or reusing tails, or you only harvest the occasional squirrel, kids sometimes appreciate having a squirrel tail around as a token from the outdoors.  I got my start in the hunting world as a toddler accompanying my dad in the mountainous part of the state, chasing bushytails, and cleaning them by the river, and my most prized token from that time in my life is a tanned squirrel hide that my dad made for me.

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