Hairs and pelts – restoring deer curved hair fibers

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“Hairs and pelts – restoring deer curved hair fibers” is a short article and useful for every tier who wants to learn some tricks.
Just a few words about this material:
Is well known that deer hair like elk hair is widely used in fly tying. Deer hair (especially the Winter deer hair) is used for tying dry flies like sedges, stone flies, suspenders and some types of big ephemera flies. In UK and Ireland is used for tying hogs and muddlers for lake fishing.  For these reasons deer hair is a must have material.
A tier will look for:

  • dense hair fibers,
  • nice colored hair from sandy brown to dark speckled brown,
  • thick and resistant fibers as much as possible
  • fibers full with air ( only Winter hair has this quality, the Summer hair is not floatant )

The Winter hair has a special particularity- is thick and full with air. This hair structure provide a better thermal isolation and protection for animal against snow,  cold and rain. When you buy a deer hair you should take in consideration the quality of the source: if the tanning process was correct made and if the skins are from game animal hunted in the middle of the Winter. The animals from regions with heavy Winter and a lot of snow has a high density of hair. The fibers are more stronger and nice colored compared with those where in Winter time is only raining.
So if you buy skins from East Europe like Romania, Poland, Ukraine and Russia or from Sweden, Finland and Latvia , you will receive very good materials for sure.
When a tier buy pieces of tanned skins, he usually will receive them in plastic bags with the tips of the hair curved. A tier needs straight fibers and he will be unsatisfied by the product ordered!
The curved tips are generated by:

  • tanning process
  • natural orientation of hair to not let the wet and water to go near to the skin
  • how the patches are stored, usually the patches are in plastic zip bags. These bags will apply a pressure on the hair and will curve the hair fibers and the tips


Restoring deer curved hair fibers is not difficult to be made. You need a source of steam or hot water (very close to the boiling temperature)
Step 1:
-if you use a steam source you have to apply the steam on the hair in the opposite direction/orientation of hair
-if you use hot water just dip the fibers only for one or 2 minutes and gently shake them
For example I use a steam source as you can see in photo:

Step 2:
-Use a hair drier to blow and dry the hair. The process should be done carefully in the opposite sense of fibers orientation. The air should be set warm or hot.
Dry it carefully!

Step 3:
-repeat the process if necessary, sometimes is needed to be performed even 3 times.
In the end you will obtain hair like in the photos bellow:

Attention, the tips will go curve again if you will store in plastic bags so is better to keep them freely in plastic boxes like those used in food conservation. Big boxes with lot of spaces are preferred.

If you are looking for a good source of deer hair then please take a look here : Troutline Winter Deer Hair
Cheers and happy tying 🙂

  • John OShea
    August 16, 2016

    Ver interesting Thanks. Where can i c your products. Thanks

    • Lucian Vasies
      August 16, 2016

      Hi John,
      Thanks for your kind words 🙂 I’m glad that you like the article.
      If you are looking for tying materials and flies jut visit the troutline shop here:

  • Christian
    August 19, 2016

    Thank you Lucian, this is a very helpfull Information for me.
    i have a lot off these curved pelts, hidden in my stock, that i never use…..

    Kind regards Christian

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