I like the idea of tying flies with materials taken from animals I have killed myself. It starts to bring all these processes full circle.
The recent deer I took provided me a with long, soft, high quality bucktail. I took a few process shots to show just how I preserved mine. Everyone out there has there own way of doing things. This is the way I do it. I am by no means saying it is the best way. It is just the way that works for me.
I start by deboning the tail. I use a Havalon knife which is basically a scalpel with a more robust handle. It has interchangeable/replaceable blades, so I always have a scalpel sharp tool in my hand. I split the hide along the tailbone on the dark side of the tail.
After the tailbone is out, it is important to remove all remaining flesh and fats. If not removed, these will rot and stink, and ruin the buck tail. Once I am confident in my fleshing, with the white hairs down, I spread and tack the tail to a board. Once that is complete, I apply a liberal coating of Borax. The borax serves to pull moisture, de-odorize and clean the flesh. After a few days, I will remove the saturated borax and replenish the area with fresh borax. If the fats and tissue have been removed, this process should take about a week or two.
After it has dried, it can be washed, bleached, dyed and used for all your fly and jig tying needs.