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Old 03-10-2014, 04:00 PM
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Default Smelly Hare

I just rec'd a hare's ear mask from ebay. This is the first mask(or animal skin of any kind) that I have owned. It seem pretty smelly, just wondering if this is normal or they left out a step in the curing process. It is package in a hairline package, so I assume that it came from the factory(or wherever they get them). I realize that it's a dead rabbit face, but that shouldn't mean that it should stink. If this is normal I will deal with it, or is there something that I can do to lessen the smell, ie seal the back with shellac or something. Thanks.
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Old 03-10-2014, 04:07 PM
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Default Re: Smelly Hare

Quote:
Originally Posted by nasars View Post
I just rec'd a hare's ear mask from ebay. This is the first mask(or animal skin of any kind) that I have owned. It seem pretty smelly, just wondering if this is normal or they left out a step in the curing process. It is package in a hairline package, so I assume that it came from the factory(or wherever they get them). I realize that it's a dead rabbit face, but that shouldn't mean that it should stink. If this is normal I will deal with it, or is there something that I can do to lessen the smell, ie seal the back with shellac or something. Thanks.
Anything biologic has the potential to smell. Usually it means the item didn't get a thorough process prior to packaging. A bit of powdered Borax in a ziplock for a time should do the trick. You could then wash it good with soap and water, set it out to dry and finish it off with a blow dryer on low heat, high air. Do not re-package until completely dry or you run the risk of the same problem all over again.

The worst I ever got was a packaged matched set of mallard duck wings from mail-order - phew! What a stench. They had all but started crawling out of the bag

Kelly.
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Old 03-10-2014, 05:20 PM
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Default Re: Smelly Hare

The borax wont bother the fur? Also a little confused about guard hairs and regular dubbing. Where exactly are the guard hairs located?
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Old 03-10-2014, 05:55 PM
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Default Re: Smelly Hare

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Originally Posted by kglissmeyer1 View Post
Anything biologic has the potential to smell. Usually it means the item didn't get a thorough process prior to packaging. A bit of powdered Borax in a ziplock for a time should do the trick. You could then wash it good with soap and water, set it out to dry and finish it off with a blow dryer on low heat, high air. Do not re-package until completely dry or you run the risk of the same problem all over again.

The worst I ever got was a packaged matched set of mallard duck wings from mail-order - phew! What a stench. They had all but started crawling out of the bag

Kelly.
Roger that above, just one small add on vis a vis the washing. You don't want to use a dish washing liquid. Use something like Woolilte as it won't strip the oils out of the feathers.
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Old 03-10-2014, 06:48 PM
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Default Re: Smelly Hare

I also bought a hares mask a while back that was a bit smelly. It wasn't bad enough that I had to treat it but when I pulled it out of the bag you could definitley notice a bit of smell. My dog also noticed, and while she often likes to sniff around in the various materials in my tying room,the hares mask really seemed to intrigue her. A few weeks ago I was out for the evening and when I came home I noticed the bag from the mask was sitting in our living room --empty. Apparently our dog decided the mask was just too tempting to resist. I found one piece of the mask on the floor, about one square inch-the rest was gone. Pretty funny to see dog poop with whiskers the next morning. Didn't seem to have any other effects on her though.
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Old 03-10-2014, 06:55 PM
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Default Re: Smelly Hare

Its probably just been sealed up in the bag a long time. I'd just lay it out of the bag for a while, and when you do put it away, don't seal the bag. Some of my skins I rarely use can get stinky if I keep them sealed for long periods. Make sure to keep it out of reach of any pets.
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Old 03-10-2014, 08:37 PM
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Default Re: Smelly Hare

Quote:
Originally Posted by nasars View Post
The borax wont bother the fur? Also a little confused about guard hairs and regular dubbing. Where exactly are the guard hairs located?
Hare's Mask:

1. Fur from the ears is good for dark spiky bodies. The fur from the outer ear is very dark, while the inner ear and back of the ears is light brown and white. Ear fur is very stiff and may be mixed with fur from the face for a softer dubbing mixture...

2. Fur located between the eyes is good for tailing as well as body dubbing. Clean out the under-fur after cutting the fur off the mask. Doing this will give you more quality fibers and guard hairs in your dubbing. This fur makes soft medium-dark body dubbing...

3. Crown fur (in the center below the ears) is a reddish-brown shade and is good for nedium body color. The fibers are long and may be used for a lighter-shade tail material...

4. Upper face fur (Just below the ears on each side) is premium. It is the standard hare's mask dubbing because it's a medium shade and contains a balanced combination of light and medium-dark fibers...

5. Cheek fur makes a light reddish-orange dubbing...

From: Tying and fishing Soft-Hackled Nymhps - Allen McGee Pg. 22


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Old 03-10-2014, 08:42 PM
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Default Re: Smelly Hare

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flygrain View Post
Its probably just been sealed up in the bag a long time. I'd just lay it out of the bag for a while, and when you do put it away, don't seal the bag. Some of my skins I rarely use can get stinky if I keep them sealed for long periods. Make sure to keep it out of reach of any pets.
I agree I too have purchased a mask a while back and it was not too bad to wash so I just left it out of the the bag for a while and the smell went away. I second the keeping it out of your pets reach. I have a noisy lab mix.
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Old 03-11-2014, 12:23 PM
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Default Re: Smelly Hare

Most skins you'll purchase are nothing more then "rawhide." Meaning, after skinning they scrape away the meat and should also scrape the skin to clean it of fats and rupture the skin cells, yet in most cases they'll just make sure most of the meat is gone and let it dry. You can tell that the skin was not stretched and salted (which draws out moisture) if it is curled at the edges (as most are). So in a nutshell it's a rabbits face left out to dry, and when supposedly dry enough, stuffed in a bag and shipped out.

That said, if it smells "rotten" not just greasy then most likely they didn't let it dry enough, and if that is the case then they can go bad (or are) and it's then your call if to keep them.

Will it hurt you? Well, you'll not find me licking them, yet as long as the hair is not slipping (coming out with a light touch in patches) then don't sweat it. Just leave it out of the bag and if you really feel the need cover the skin side with pickling salt and let it soak up any moisture it can.

ALL skins whether tanned or not (99.999% used for this not) should never be stored in sealed bags. Just toss them in a drawer or somewhere that they get pleanty of air and don't sweat it.

The question is though....Why aren't you making your own?

Now I am NOT a big fan of eating a lot of wild game. However, every year I make it a point to hunt enough to keep my fly tying drawer filled (and yes eat the game as well). The reason being, so very much of each animal can be used to really zest up your fly materials.

I'm still using my first ever deer skin taken 20 years ago for flies, and it's just rawhide (salted) and fine. Along with the tail (you all buy those right?) the hair over it's back makes for nice floating bass flies (they're hollow), white hair on it's belly is extra fine, and the hair on its face, ears and elsewhere you'll find a gazillion uses for.

Same thing with squirrels. The colors are fantastic and the hairs work as good or better then hare. You'll also find them to be slightly more delicate so not as extreme as hare.....A single Roughed Grouse however is the real prize. Besides a ton of feathers for some great hackles, they have a very unique feather that is a silvery color and very delicate for insulation. These make BY FAR some of the very best nymph legs and gills i've ever seen, plus they move and flash.

The list goes on and on......So if you don't hunt, see if some of your buddies will toss you a skin or two. Just tack them out flat with the inside out, scrape the inside lightly to get off all the meat and fat you can, then salt it with pickling salt. When that salt gets wet, brush it off and do it again. 2-3x and it should be done (salt will stay dry).

I promise you, one skin of any fur or feather bearing critter you'll find a gazillion awesome uses for.....Your flies will improve from the diversity, and that one skin will probably last you as long as you tie.

Nothing wasted.......Now that's Conservation.

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Old 03-11-2014, 12:37 PM
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Default Re: Smelly Hare

Quote:
Originally Posted by grtlksmarlin View Post
Most skins you'll purchase are nothing more then "rawhide." Meaning, after skinning they scrape away the meat and should also scrape the skin to clean it of fats and rupture the skin cells, yet in most cases they'll just make sure most of the meat is gone and let it dry. You can tell that the skin was not stretched and salted (which draws out moisture) if it is curled at the edges (as most are). So in a nutshell it's a rabbits face left out to dry, and when supposedly dry enough, stuffed in a bag and shipped out.

That said, if it smells "rotten" not just greasy then most likely they didn't let it dry enough, and if that is the case then they can go bad (or are) and it's then your call if to keep them.

Will it hurt you? Well, you'll not find me licking them, yet as long as the hair is not slipping (coming out with a light touch in patches) then don't sweat it. Just leave it out of the bag and if you really feel the need cover the skin side with pickling salt and let it soak up any moisture it can.

ALL skins whether tanned or not (99.999% used for this not) should never be stored in sealed bags. Just toss them in a drawer or somewhere that they get pleanty of air and don't sweat it.

The question is though....Why aren't you making your own?

Now I am NOT a big fan of eating a lot of wild game. However, every year I make it a point to hunt enough to keep my fly tying drawer filled (and yes eat the game as well). The reason being, so very much of each animal can be used to really zest up your fly materials.

I'm still using my first ever deer skin taken 20 years ago for flies, and it's just rawhide (salted) and fine. Along with the tail (you all buy those right?) the hair over it's back makes for nice floating bass flies (they're hollow), white hair on it's belly is extra fine, and the hair on its face, ears and elsewhere you'll find a gazillion uses for.

Same thing with squirrels. The colors are fantastic and the hairs work as good or better then hare. You'll also find them to be slightly more delicate so not as extreme as hare.....A single Roughed Grouse however is the real prize. Besides a ton of feathers for some great hackles, they have a very unique feather that is a silvery color and very delicate for insulation. These make BY FAR some of the very best nymph legs and gills i've ever seen, plus they move and flash.

The list goes on and on......So if you don't hunt, see if some of your buddies will toss you a skin or two. Just tack them out flat with the inside out, scrape the inside lightly to get off all the meat and fat you can, then salt it with pickling salt. When that salt gets wet, brush it off and do it again. 2-3x and it should be done (salt will stay dry).

I promise you, one skin of any fur or feather bearing critter you'll find a gazillion awesome uses for.....Your flies will improve from the diversity, and that one skin will probably last you as long as you tie.

Nothing wasted.......Now that's Conservation.

B.E.F.
Great post! I just have two questions... youre still using a 20 year old bucktail? I go thru about 4 a year. second question... Are you eating squirrels?
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