View Full Version : how to preserve tails and wings

03-05-2006, 09:16 PM
I got some pheasant and duck wings from a buddy this season and my question is do you do anything to preserve them. the pheasant I dried out on a shelf in my garage and that seemed to work, the duck wings became infested with maggots. Is there a treatment or something to help prevent this. Sould I use brine??? Thanks S

03-05-2006, 10:45 PM
The wings need opened up and all meat and tissue removed. Then, the skin can be powedered with borax. This will dry the skin and basically preserve it. It will also deter dermestids. Even though the pheasant wing is dried, it WILL attract bugs eventually.

03-05-2006, 10:56 PM
you can also salt the wing, it will remove all the moisture from the meat and essentially cure the whole specimen. borax would work also

03-06-2006, 09:10 AM
Salt will dry it, but not before making a sopping mess of things. It will also not deter bugs. Borax is the standard preservative used for bird taxidermy. All of the meat must be removed. Even if dried with salt, bugs can, and will, still eat it.

03-06-2006, 09:52 AM
Thanks guys. I will give it a try. I am assuming I need to clean all the maggots and crap out and then I will treat both sets of wings. I guess the same would work for squirell tails? S

03-06-2006, 01:09 PM
For squirrels, split the tail, remove the bone, and apply borax to the skin side. If the wings already have maggots, it may be too late. But, if you can stand the smell, it won't hurt to try.

03-06-2006, 08:08 PM
I always buy my squirell tails with the bone inside. try just plcing the end in a bag of salt or borax for a few weeks, it should dry everything out.

03-06-2006, 10:42 PM
Again, the tail NEEDS to be removed. If left in it will simply rot and eventually, bugs WILL find it. I'm not trying to make things more difficult, but as a taxidermist, I'm paid to know these things. I learned long ago that if you leave untreated tissue laying around, you get dermestids in your house. I learned the hard way because nobody told me any different. If you don't mind the bugs in your house, that's fine. But some people don't want them, and suggesting to leave raw flesh and bones laying around is inviting the bugs over for a buffet.

03-06-2006, 11:03 PM
magis, i believe you, but why does orvis sell whole tails?

03-06-2006, 11:14 PM
I've never seen a tail from Orvis, so this is just a guess. But, there's a very good chance that they're freeze drying them. If freeze dried and a bug preventative is applied, the tails will last for a very long time. If they're selling a lot of tails, and I'm guessing they do, this would be the most cost effective way to do it, by far. Also, they legally would not be allowed to sell raw squirrel tails. I'm not trying to sound like a know-it-all, but dermestids can cause very serious problems if you have any mounts the house, and can be almost impossible to get rid of in some instances. Things get really bad when the wife finds out that the animal parts you've been bringing in the house have also been bringing bugs with them. :D There's no getting out of that one.;)

03-07-2006, 11:33 AM
Thanks m.magis I will likley pitch the duck wings I think they are too far gone to save. The Pheasant I will use the Borax. What does a dermestid look like? I have noticed some small, very small black bugs in my tying room. I may allready have a problem. I thought they may have come through the window. I left it open just a crack unoticed for who knows how long. But may have come from the Pheasant if thats what they would look like. Thanks again for all the help and good info. S

03-07-2006, 12:00 PM
Dermestid is really just a term for a protein eating bug. There are many types. Usually (not always), the first thing found will be small shells that look like rice hulls. These are from hatching moth larvae. If you treat everything with a good bug killer, you shouldn't have any problems.

03-07-2006, 12:54 PM
thanks for clearing that up, the tails I bought, including calk tails , the ends were cover with what looked like salt, so i simply assumed. also applied salt to a few grouse tails and never had problems.

03-09-2006, 08:01 AM
I am not trying to change the subject totaly here but did any of you Taxidermist see the show on the History Channel last night about Taxidermy? I started watching it about 15 minutes after it started and it was amazing what people did 200 + years ago and some of thier work is still around. I checked out the guide and it was showing again at 1:00 in the morning so I DVR'd the show so I could see all of it.
One thing they talked about was P.T. Barnums elephant Jumbo. He had gotten hit and killed by a train in Canada and a team went to work on him to preserve him. The cape alone weighed over 1,500 pounds.......