One of the most fascinating things about squirrels is their bushy tails. The standing posture of the little creatures is amazing to behold. And the wonderful way they turn up their colorful tails behind their backs when holding a piece of food with their hands is plainly intelligent. This makes squirrel tail a prized possession with people trying to preserve it for as long as it can last. So if you are interested in learning how to preserve a squirrel tail, this guide is for you.
People like to use squirrel tails as bait for fishing, and others display them as a hunting prize. In fact, some people try to make it a part of clothing, and others want to recycle it in one way or another.
Interestingly, there is a good market for squirrel tails if they are well-preserved, and buyers are willing to pay good money to have them. So instead of throwing the tails of your captured squirrels away – you can preserve them for sales or to make baits or displays.
How to Preserve a Squirrel Tail
A squirrel’s tail is all hairs and no fur – and while most hunters cut and throw them away – they can rot and smell real bad if they are not well-preserved. But if you want to master the art of squirrel tail preservation, you have to learn a few tricks which we are about to explore; and the better you apply these preservation techniques, the better your tail turns out for the long term.
Remove the squirrel tail with the bone
It is possible to preserve a squirrel tail with or without the inside bone intact – but many people prefer to have the bone inside it. To remove the tail with the bone, you have to cut with a sharp knife. You must cut the bushy tail where it is nearest to the squirrel’s vent and as neatly as possible.
Once this is done, you must remove any piece of loose meat hanging to the cut area to make a neat end. You should then rub a handful of borax into the cut end of the tail where the bone is exposed – the borax will act as a cleaning agent to preserve the exposed end of the squirrel tail. With this borax powder, you can keep the tail in a dry and warm area for 7-10 days to dray. Once it is completely dry, you can keep it as a keepsake or sell it off to interested buyers.
Remove the squirrel tail without the bone
If you desire to remove the squirrel tail without the bone, you can do so with careful tact. After the entire tail is severed from the body, you must use the tip of a sharp knife to slide through the cut end of the tail to its bushy end. With the skin sliced through, you can gently pull the tailbone away from the skin of the tail until it is entirely removed.
With the skin of the tail removed, you must rub salt into the exposed surface of the tail and then keep it in a dry place for at least 8 hours. After this period of time, wash the salt away and clean the surface with paper towel so that moisture is gently removed without bruising the exposed flesh. The next thing is to rub borax powder generously into the exposed side of the tail and all around it before putting it out to dry for 3-5 days.
With your squirrel tail preserved this way, it can remain permanent for use for many years. Your next task is to determine what to use it for.
Preserve your squirrel tail with salt
After the tail of the squirrel has been removed, another method of preservation is salting. As soon as the tail is cut off, apply salt generously at the cut end – or place the cut end of the tail into a strong saltwater solution.
After this process, put out the tail to dry and be sure that it is not curled or bent since this can reduce its ultimate value. During the drying process, ensure that flies cannot reach the tail. And you can store the tail inside a freezer if you so desire after thorough drying.
What to use preserved squirrel tail for
Having established how to preserve squirrel tail, the next thing is to determine its usage. Some use to which people put it include:
- Creative craft
It is however important to sound a note of warning here: before you go ahead trapping or shooting squirrels, please be aware that some species are protected under the law and endangered and must not be killed. Also, squirrel tails are not allowed for sale in some US states such as California. And in Oregon, it is prohibited to kill the Western gray squirrel or sell its tail. However, some states only allow the red, black, and fox squirrel to be killed with its tails preserved for sale and no other species.
With all said and done, it is best to preserve your squirrel tail where it is dry and airy and where it cannot be reached by flies. This is to ensure that it can be used for all purposes imaginable under the earth. But on the fly, a few squirrel tail enthusiasts who are not into hunting suggest that you can buy squirrel tails from hunter stores in your locality. You must however be certain that the tails you buy from a store or have shipped to you from online stores are well-preserved.
So there you have: how to preserve a squirrel tail. Try it and let’s know what you think. Just be sure to apply all the methods we have covered in this guide. And then, what stops you from experimenting with other preservation techniques and sharing them with us if they work?
Go ahead and preserve your first or second squirrel tail and let’s see how it goes from there. Your experience will also be invaluable to other persons willing to learn the skills.