DEERHAIR QUALITIES FOR STACKING OR SPINNING
Deer hair is not “hollow”; it has tiny air cells that gives the bulk or body to each hair. When spinning or stacking the hair with the appropriate thread you are essentially collapsing the air cells when you tighten the thread or pull it down to the hook shaft. This causes bulky hair shaft to stand up on each side of the thread. The more air cells (or bulk) to each individual hair the more it collapses from the thread and causes the rest of the hair shaft to stand up. The more air cells in each hair the more bulk you have with which to build the fly.
What I look for is hair that has bulk or body to each individual hair. Typically the tips of the hair have no body or bulk and the hair closest to the skin has the most body or bulk. Consequently I look for long hair that has bulk (lots of air cells) and short tips (no air cells). Typically I have found the best hair comes from the rump of the deer. It is longest and has the most body or bulk to each hair. Sometimes the very end of the strip will still have the white rump hair. This hair typically also has the most “underfur”. The underfur protects the animal from moisture in the form of rain or snow, and traps air to add to warmth. It has to be combed out or removed as it is harder than the hair shaft and dulls the razor blade faster. It also makes it more difficult to use a hair stacker or tip evener. It is always best to remove the underfur. I use a “dog shiner” brush some people use a comb.
Some tiers prefer “belly hair”. It protects the belly of the deer when the animal is lying down. It does not need the underfur to help fend off rain or snow. It is thicker than body hair and does have bulk to insulate the body form the ground when sleeping, without the pesky
underfur. These qualities make it desirable to a lot of tyers. The drawback is typically it is shorter and can have lots of curved areas that form around the leg areas. The other advantage of Belly hair is “if you want to dye bright you must dye white.”
Black hair can have its own unique problem in that it sometimes must be died dark red or brown before it is dyed black this leaves salt residue in the hair that can make it seem slick or in some cases brittle. Dark Raspberry was also died twice and typically it is slick.
My opinion only but I think global warming, and extended hunting seasons, have an effect on the quality of deer hair.