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I just obtained two birds...frozen and intact with legs and heads and everything :eek ??? ...what the heck do I do with them now??? One is a pheasant and the other is a little quail or something?? Not my area of expertise by any means?? HELP :dunno

~Patrick ><>
 

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Slainte
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Amazon books, From field to fly...it tells all.

Hint: Pluck or skin and borax, not the detergent, straight borax.

Roper,

Good things come to those who wade...
 

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Although it isn't something to go bragging to your girlfriend, I love to skin birds. It is like mini-surgery. It allows you to have a whole collection of feathers without ever buying them from a flyshop.

Once you learn how to do one, the rest is cake. Raptors are the most difficult (so I hear). The only thing you need is the curing solution, a knife (very sharp!) a pair of wire cutters for cutting the wing bones and a place to cure the bird for 4 to 6 weeks. The other hard part is keeping the blood from getting into the feathers. The best way to fix that is to freeze the bird completely and when you are ready to skin it, thaw it just enough to remove the skin but not enough where the body underneath is thawed. This keeps the blood frozen so it doesn't get all over everything.

The cool thing is that once folks know you are into that sort of thing, they keep an eye out for you. You'd be surprised what people find. It is up to you if you want to keep it. I have had folks try and give me owls and hawks and I just have to pass on them. They have beautiful feathers but soooooo illegal.

There are also game farms that will sell you bustard and tragopan pheasant and and blue eared pheasant for as low as $50 whole and in tact. I think most of the $$ spent on the store bought stuff has to do with the labor involved in skinning and curng the birds properly.

It is the easiest way for an Atlantic Salmon Flytyer to obtain a good collection of hard to find feathers.

If you need further instruction, feel free to e-mail me offline.

[email protected]
 

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Here's what you do... depending on how much of the skin you want (easier than plucking the bird), you'll need to skin it out. Start with a long cut along the breast(after its thawed, and pull out to the sides. It will come off easily... Once you have it off, you need to remove as much fat off the skin as possible. After that, I like to stake them down to a board to borax cure them- I like that they will lay flat. They will usually curl up if you just borax w/o nailing them down.

And that's it. Couple days in your garage, shake off borax, you'll have a cured skin. I don't keep them in plastic bags. I'd worry moisture would get to them and ruin the skin.

Good luck! :beer2
 

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Man, you guys are SICK! Isn't mutilating animals how Jeffrey Dahmer got started?? ;-) Just kidding!

Seriously, however, you guys are alot braver than I am. My wife wouldn't let me even try to pull of anything like this.

Tom
 
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