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Dying Polar Bear;

2237 Views 11 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  coastrider
This is an honest question so please don't take it the wrong way. I have been using this hair for wing and throat on streamer flies and salmon / steelhead flies for a long time. The attraction to it was 2 fold, it was white and it had a certain translucence or sparkle to it. Whether or not that quality made my flies better than those tied with white buck tail is a matter of curiosity to me. Why would you seek out this hard to find white hair only to dye it?

About 5 or more years ago I purchased a 'lot' of dyed PB hair from a fellow in Quebec I believe he was at, and being in possession of it I don't see the sparkle of the natural hair. I don't find it more useful than dyed Arctic Fox or deer tail when used on my flies. Other than the fact that it can be considered an exotic hair because of its origin I don't find the dyed hair special in any way. The natural white or yellow toned off white is what I wing flies like Skykomish and others with but the dyed supply remains largely unused.

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I fully understand Ard.

A still have a small horded supply of white PB hair and when I first saw 'dye it' my reaction was "What the Hell For??????" :saevilw:

Remember the first (and close to the last) time I ever saw one. My Russian Grand Father was looking out the farm house window and: 'Finie cloppets!! COME! COME!!

Nолярный медведь!!!!!! :eek::Eyecrazy::eek:

I had no idea what that meant until I looked out the window.
Hi Fred,

If ever you decide to part with the hair and want to know it will never be dyed black I'll take it and keep it white :) Yep I said Black! Some of the dyed hair I received in the lot was dyed black. That really seemed strange to me because I have plenty of black bear hair here.............

Remember guys, we're just talking here not trying to poke anyone in the eye.
Not to worry Ard, not to worry.

But 'new tier's' may not know (subject to someone with a better memory) owning/possessing Polar Bear hair is a huge 'No-No' in the United States unless you can prove you've had it pre-1972. Was about then that a ban on hunting (First Nations may well be exempt from this), etc.

You can still hunt them (in places) in Canada, but not a clue why if you can't bring the pelt back into the States (Alaska/Hawaii included). There are a few other things on the total no-no list like Heron Feathers that should take you to the 'endangered' list so confirm you can buy/tie.:tsk_tsk:

But all of these have very good alternative materials so no real point. Beyond just 'feathers' the list of animals, bone, plants, etc., is darned expansive.

http://ajh-knives.com/endangered.html I'm using this Canadian link as the Treaties are universal.

Something 'interesting' gets confiscated it will end up in a Laboratory (only one in the World like it that I know of) in Ashland, Oregon. All they do is animal forensics, right down to hair will be collected (live animals), shipped and DNA'ed. In comes a sample and the DNA test is (close to) first to see if they have a match, right down to the individual animal in many cases. Amazing place to take a guided tour.

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I completely agree with you guys, I only have a couple VERY small pieces and they only come out to play on very very special occasions, I couldn't imagine ruining them with dye. The beautiful white/cream color is what makes it so amazing for me. If anyone wants to dye it they can send it to me and I'll send them all sorts of colored hair
Yup, these days pb hair is only shared among the closest of friends or handed down like heirloom rods and reels. At least in the US.
I have PB dyed 6 or 8 different colors. None of the shine or translucence is lost in the color change. I use it whenever a fly seems to call for that extra bit of sparkle and depth. Perhaps it is the type of dye process that causes some to become dull. A friend dyed it for me so I would have to ask about the technique and dye. The material is unique in its appearance and what it to does to the fly. It may make no difference to the fish but does wonders for my confidence. :smokin:
I have some nice large pieces of pb but have no inclination to dye it, if I need another colour I will buy a piece. There is no substitute for pb, it is an amazing hair.

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I have seen PB (not in my possession) dyed orange, yellow and red that were fantastic, glowing and translucent. Other colors darker blue and green not to great,,, rather dull and lifeless.

It must depend upon the dyes used and skill of the operator standing over the stove.

Some FF claim it makes the absolute best Bonefish flys, the translucent effect is difficult to match with other materials.

My thoughts on PB and getting caught with it in your possession seems to be very remote. I would think that exhausting that much man hours just to catch a said fly tier with a 5" patch of illegal PB is remote at best. I would think that they are after the sellers not the buyers.

I bought my supply at a gun show in a large city with no problems!

Who are these people? Where do they hide?

Note that I'm totally for the ban on hunting these beautiful creatures and any illegal activities concerning their safety.

But who are these material police? He'll the police here would not know the difference between PB and human hair!

I have lots of dyed polar bear mostly in flourescent colors. It is fabulous. I used Venaird dyes from England and made sure I wasn't cooking the hide. You only use a very small amount of dye. Dying dark colors, to me , is a waste of polar bear hair, as the guys above said, it looses its luster.
I am sure the majority of people that get in kaka for pb are the individuals going cross border or people that just dont know how to keep there mouths shut and air their dirty laundry on the internet. Here in Canada it is for sale in every fly tackle store for the most part but the high quality stuff is from the backyard guys that you dont ask questions of its origin:) unfortunately the hunting is not the biggest worry, the pb's are running out of territory:'(

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