Deer hair is normally described as hollow, This doesn´t mean that it´s hollow
like a drinking straw, but that each hair is built up of hundreds of small air ﬁlled
cells. This type of hair structure is most deﬁned in deer from areas with an
extreme winter climate. The result, the colder it is, the better the spinning
qualities, with some exceptions. The hair from our own reindeer and the north
american caribou. In order to achieve optimal insulation, these hairs hold so
many air cells that they have a tendency to be brittle, and break under the
pressure of tying thread.
The winter coat of the Norwegian roe deer has many air ﬁlled cells and is ideal
for spinning, packing and clipping. While the hair from the summer coat is
somewhat stiffer and extremely ﬁne. A ﬁrst class hair for tails and winging dry
ﬂies. The colour varies from light red brown on the summer coat to dark grey
with darker barred tips on the winter coat. The best hair for spinning is found
on the back of the roe along the spine. This hair is extremely dense, not at all
brittle, and ﬂoats like a cork. The chalk white hair on the rump is excellent for
dying, or for patterns that require white deer hair.
You should also be aware that the roe mask has a diversity of hair that is
difﬁcult to equal. Here you will ﬁnd hair in many different lengths, shades of
brown and coarseness. Ideal for dry´s from # 10 and down to the very smallest
comparaduns. Anyone who ties caddis ﬂies shouldn’t be without a roe mask.
If you know a hunter or a game keeper, try and secure yourself a whole roe
skin, you wont be disappointed.
If any of you are interested I do have a few very nice generous strips of winter roe from December last year for 15 Euro each including postage for Europe: I only have a few so the first to contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Recently I have had many questions regarding spinning deer hair and the best method of attaining a even open fibered body for deer hair flies. I use this technique on patterns such as G&H Sedge. The other technique is for making cork like bodies from deer hair. Once mastered these techniques can be applied to many patterns.