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Anyone Skin a Partridge? Well I Have Now

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So earlier I was asking for partridge skinning advice to make a cape and a few of you were kind enough to answer. Turns out, the skinning part is hard, but the preservation is easy. 

After killing a dozen or so partridge this year, I skinned one out and I was more than pleased with the results. I left the wings and tail attached (probably the hardest part). Here is what I did:

- Skin bird: Start with the breast. Make a small incision middle of the breast and cut down to the bottom of the belly and then up to the chin. 

- Work the skin down and off of the legs. A small cut or two may help remove the skin off the legs, but it comes off fairly easily. 

- Then, work the skin off and around to the wing. Work as much skin off the wing as possible. Once peeled back, use strong clippers to cut through the wing bone. There will still be some meat attached, but we will get to that later.

- After completing both wings work all the skin off the back bone so only skin remains attached on the head and the butt or tail area. The skin should be like a little hammock if you will at this point

- Cut above where the tail feathers attach to bird, but below the pooper. There will be a little meat attached here, just do your best to cut off what you can

- Then finally, pull (carefully) the skin up and off the head of the bird. 

- Clean the skin, rinsing any blood or extra meat off.

- I then pinned the skin (feather side down) on a piece of cardboard, to keep it's shape. I covered the entire bird in borax and really tried to stuff the wing and rump areas with borax as best as possible.

- Put in cooler and let sit for 2 weeks. Burp the cooler every few days to let gasses out. 

- If I could give 1 tip, it would be to be extra careful when pinning down your skin, as this is what it will look like. I didn't take enough time to set it properly and it came out kind of messy compared to the pros. I will be sure to take twice the time to set it properly. 

Here is what she looks like (dry as paper):


I took the same approach with some red squirrels and made a fantastic, very buggy looking dubbing with it, that seems to tie a great buggy looking body


Again, I made the same mistake, didn't take much time to set this one, as I knew i would just be using it for dubbing. Here is what some of it looks like with a little flash:


And finally, here are some flies. The left is an egg laying elk haircaddis with a red squirrel body and the right is just your standard SLF partridge wet fly with red squirrel body:


The dubbing is quite fine and spun loosely I imagine it would make for a nice wetfly, where as spun tightly, I'm hoping it will not take on too much water for dries. Pretty neat stuff though, very versatile.


Hope this helps!






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Thanks.  Is the borax better than coarse salt?  I've used salt on deer and have had really good results.

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I've never used salt, but I can't imagine anything could be better than this. the skins were dry as possible. 

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When I first did a squirrel I used salt. Since then I only use Borax. In my opinion its much better than salt.

I use red squirrel too but also like gray squirrel. I'm sure you know this. I have a very simple pattern that uses gray squirrel hair that has worked well for me.

If any one's interested the pattern goes like this.

1 wet fly/nymph hook (size of your choice)

pheasant tail tied on the back of the hook for a tail

gray squirrel hair as dubbing (red would be a good choice too)

Whip finish and you're done.

The way I first saw this fly tied (back about 50 years ago) the body was very full and loosely dubbed. That's the way I try to tie it. 

One night on the river I was throwing about everything at them I had and nothing. So i tied on the fly mentioned above and wham! On that particular night the fished loved it.

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