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Thread: "Elk" Hair Caddis tied with "Deer" hair???

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  1. #1
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    Default "Elk" Hair Caddis tied with "Deer" hair???

    Good morning,
    I was tying some green butted Elk Hair Caddis this morning, and was thinking of how few caddis patterns, these days, actually use elk hair.
    I have my single reason that I usually use deer hair on caddis patterns, and am wondering if it is the same reason most don't use elk hair for their caddis patterns?

    Just a couple examples, the CDC & Elk is tied with CDC & Deer. The X-Caddis is tied with deer, on and on. I'm sure a few folks will say they always use elk, but certainly the vast majority of commercial tiers use deer hair for most caddis patterns.

    What's your reason for choosing deer hair over elk hair.

    This is actually elk hair............






    And, thinking of Al Troth:

    Often, he is remembered only as the originator of the EHC.
    Here is a picture of a plate of flies he tied which hangs in Blue Ribbon Flies.


    Last edited by Byron haugh; 07-26-2014 at 07:50 PM.

  2. #2
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    I choose deer over elk because. I have a crap-ton of deer and constantly get more.
    ‎"Trust, but verify" - Russian Proverb, as used by Ronald Reagan

  3. #3

    Default

    I think mainly because not all elk hair works. Some is completely unusable for the EHC. But comparadun deer patches are everywhere.

  4. #4
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    NJ,
    Funny, but I prefer not to use comparadun hair for caddis patterns.
    I use comparadun deer hair on Sparkle Duns because it flares so easy/well/completely. To get a caddis sillouhette, I try to select deer hair which does not flare like comparadun hair.
    Last edited by Byron haugh; 07-26-2014 at 08:55 PM.

  5. #5
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    And your reason is? Certainly not thrift, which is about the only justifiable reason I can think of to restrict oneself.

    I'd always assumed most tiers used the best material available, whether it be elk or deer. Sure some will cut corners for convenience sake, but I cannot achieve the exact same results across all patterns with a single choice, so I use both.

  6. #6
    AlanB Guest

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    Availability! When I first learned to tie you could get "Deer Hair" here, that was it. Ask, "What kind of hair?" And the clerk would look at you funny, and say "Deer Hair!" So it really didn't matter what the pattern called for. It got what you had. If it worked you continued to use it. If it didn't work you looked for a pattern that did. Then in the mid 90s variety packs of deer hair started to appear, as did dyed belly hair. (You still can't get belly hair dyed green here though, I have to import mine). If you try to sell someone, who has been successfully using an EHC tied with deer hair for years, a patch of elk hair "because it is what the pattern calls for" you have no chance. Even less if it costs more than the deer hair which has always worked just fine.

    I have always been impressed by the huge ranges of deer hairs stocked by some of the shops in the States. Here you get a two inch square patch that was once part of the hide of a deer. Where it came from on the beast is pot luck.

    Deer stalking is a major activity here. Well it is something of a classic image of the highlands. Thousands of deer are shot every year. Mostly the skins are left on the hill to rot. A waste of a resource, but trying to convince the stalkers there is a value to them is near impossible.

    Cheers,
    A.

  7. #7
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    Default

    My reason is probably the opposite of NJ.
    I like the floatation of elk over deer hair. But, I don't care for the somewhat extreme flaring of elk hair.
    I like the deer hair which is less flaring than the comparadun deer hair. At Blue Ribbon, they stock patches of deer hair marked "X-Caddis". This deer hair seems best suited for general caddis patterns. It doesn't flare too much.

  8. #8
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    Strange isn't it? I use elk because I find it doesn't flare as much as deer hair.

  9. #9
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    Elk or deer? There are a lot of variables that determine what the hair looks like and how it behaves. Where the elk or deer came from geographically has a lot to do with quality of the hair. As does how old it was when killed; the time of year when it was killed; its diet; how the skin was treated(chemicals); where on the hide a particular patch of skin came from; How was a skin cut up into patches and how were the patches designated for specific uses; etc. To make a blanket statement that elk or deer hair floats or flairs more or less then the other (also, what species of deer) makes no sense. If you're looking into a bin of patches, elk or deer, you need to examine the patches to see if the qualities you're looking for is evident. As Alan wrote, often the choice of what to use depends on "availability".

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