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Old 01-02-2014, 10:00 PM
StraightShooter's Avatar
StraightShooter StraightShooter is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Royse City, Texas
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Default Furbearer Tanning/Taxidermy Graphic Images

I've tanned quite a few furs in my day and have found stuff that works really well and have ruined some furs along the way as well. I just got some new fur stretchers in today and figured I would show you guys how I tan my furs.

First you need to kill something! This method I'll describe below works well for any medium sized fur bearer (fox, coyote, bobcat, etc). I headed out this evening and shot a decent sized female gray fox.

If the temperature is over 50 degrees F and you are going to take longer than 2 hours to get home and skin the animal you run the risk of the hair slipping(falling out). So if you're planning on pulling an all nighter and want to make sure the fur stays good, you will need to take some non-iodized salt with you and you will have to skin out the animal in the field and rub salt into the flesh side of the hide as you skin it out. For this one, I just went home afterwards and skinned it out in the garage.

The way I skin out almost all my furs is by "case skinning" where you make an incision all the way around the anus and then up along the back side of each rear leg where there is a color transition line on the fur. I cut the fur around the ankles on all four legs as well (See Pic Below).

Note: If you are skinning an animal for a full mount you will need to skin out the feet and pull the toes. You will also want to use a dorsal cut method instead of case skinning. That is a whole other topic I wont go into right now.

Notice the fur on the feet still attached.

Skinning the body:
Once you make the incision around the anus and up the back of the two rear legs, you literally just pull the fur over the animal like you are taking off a sock. You typically only need to use your knife very little until you get to the front shoulder area. You want to pull the skin away by forcing your hand in between the body and the skin. Before you get to the shoulders though you will have to pull the tail. To get the tail out of the fur you want to carefully cut and pull the fur down the tail only about an inch. Once you get an inch of the tail skinned you can either use your fingernails and pull firmly and the tail should slip out or the easier way is to use a tail stripper that you can buy at any taxidermist supply site. I usually always just carefully do it with my finger nails. You DO NOT want to let the tail roll over itself (i.e. turn inside out like a sock). It will either tear in half midway down or you will have a hell of a time getting it from inside out back to normal.

Continue pulling the fur away down the body till you get to the front shoulder. You will need to use your knife a bit to skin out the armpits. You then pull the front legs out of the fur and it detaches where the cuts were made previously around the ankles.

Skinning the Head/Mouth/Ears:
Once the front legs are out you continue to pull the fur down and carefully use your knife in areas where it is not separating easily. The first thing you will come to are the ear cartilage. You will need to cut the cartilage off flush to the skull. Continue pulling and gently cutting till you get to the eyes. VERY CAREFULLY cut along the inside of the eyelids to release the fur from the eyelids. This is a delicate process so take your time. You can then begin to separate the fur from the mouth by cutting along the gum line. Lastly you will come to the nose where you cut straight down through the nose cartilage as the final step in releasing the fur from the body. At this point you can either freeze the hide for tanning later or tan it right away.

Brandon M.

Last edited by StraightShooter; 01-02-2014 at 10:56 PM..
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