Thursday, January 27, 2011

Gifts From Nature

Whitetail doe and her fawn
 Nature provides in so many ways.  Take the white-tailed deer for instance.  This mammal ranges throughout much of North America from desserts to swamps and boreal forests.  For many of us here in the northeast it may be the only large wild animal that one may be lucky enough to encounter (other than the occasional coyote, black bear or moose depending on where you live).  To some,  the white-tailed deer is valuable resource for sport and food.  To others, it is a beautiful creature that provides moments joy when encountered in a wild setting or a suburban backyard (unless you are someone who views them as pests for eating every plant in sight around your house or something to be avoided when zipping down the road at 80 mph).  I have encountered them just about everywhere from Long Island beaches to my backyard when growing up in the Hudson Valley.  I never grow tired of the brief encounters I have with them.  I am always fascinated by the way in which they can move through a dense forest with the ease and gracefulness of a ghost. But white-tailed deer provide yet another gift over looked by most people with the exception of fly fisherman.  Their fur is a great resource for fly tiers.  There are tens of dozens of patterns, dry and wet, that incorporate deer fur into a fly.  A few examples would be, Haystacks, Comparaduns, Clouser Minnows, Deer Hair Caddis, Blondes, and of course Bucktails.  The hair can be easily dyed into a number of colors and it can be spun into fantastic shapes with a little trimming to create some very versatile flies.  Because of it's properties, deer hair can be used for trout in cold water, bass and panfish in warm water and even for a number of salt water gamefish like stripers and bluefish.  I use deer hair in many types of flies that I tie for salt and fresh water and I encourage others to give it a try.  So the next time you come across one of these beautiful animals, realize that they more to offer than meets the eye. 


Mickey Finn


  1. Deer hair is an amazing gift from nature. If you want to see some truly amazing deer hair creations check out Pat "Smallie Stalker" Cohen's "Warm Water journal" blog:

  2. Deer hair, sometimes hard to work with, but ever so versitile.

    Its one of Fran's top three material for his flies.

  3. Jay, thanks for the comment, I will go and check that blog out.

    Brk Trt, I found it very hard to work with at first. But a little practice goes a long way and I'm trying to experiment and get it into more flies that I tie.