Skinning large animals such as a bear, a wolf, a jackal, a wolverine, a lynx is better immediately after prey. The carcass of a large beast cools down for a long time, and the skin on it can begin to deteriorate in 2-3 hours.
Skinning from large and small animals, a knife and devices for skinning, methods of skinning from preyed animals.
Some authors do not recommend hiding fur skins of fur-bearing animals not immediately after the shooting, but after the carcass has cooled down, since in this case the shooting is less likely to cause heavy bleeding that pollutes the fur and the muzzle, the skin is easier to remove, and it can be easily removed fat.
In the case of unauthorized fishing, the hunted animals fall into the hands of the hunter mostly already dead, in the winter – frozen, and the question of the time between slaughter and skinning disappears. It is not necessary to try to tear off a frozen animal from the cap, as this can lead to damage to the fur, and even to severe damage to the skin, since the frozen carcass can simply break.
In this case, it is better to pick up the animal along with the trap and then thaw in the heat. If only a little fur has frozen, then you can try to separate it from the trap metal, thawing by breath. When fishing for mink and muskrat in the winter on ponds, it happens that animals caught in airplanes freeze into ice. Then they are cut down with an ax or foot along with a piece of ice and also thawed in a warm room.
But in any case, already thawed or freshly caught animals should not be warm for a long time before skinning, since the skins can stain and deteriorate even on carcasses. In rifle hunting, as in unauthorized fishing, the processing of the furs produced is usually carried out at the end of the day, and the hunter is forced to carry prey with him until the end of the hunting day.
You should not put a few freshly caught animals together in a hatchet, as this slows down their cooling. In winter, you can briefly put the carcass in the snow or hang it on a backpack and put in it after cooling. Heavily bloodied carcass should not be put together with the rest, it is better to separate them with moss, grass, trying to remove blood as much as possible first, but it is even better to immediately remove the bloodied skin.
Knife and devices for shooting skins from large and small animals.
The skinning knife should be very sharp, with a wedge-shaped end, so that the edges of the cuts are without tears. When taking skins, the cutters use various auxiliary devices that facilitate the process of work. Ropes, clean, dry rags, mittens, and sometimes dry sawdust of hardwood are also needed..
Methods for shooting skins from prey animals.
There are three main ways to skin animals from prey:
1. “Handset” – with a load.
2. “Stocking” – from the head.
3. “Plast”, or “carpet” – with a cut along the midline of the ventral side of the carcass.
Some shooting details are different within the basic methods for different types of fur animals. The method of shooting skins with a tube is used for most types of fur animals. Completely, with claws, they remove skins from sables, martens, ferrets, minks, wolverines, foxes, arctic foxes, wolves, jackals, raccoon dogs, lynxes. Do not leave claws on the skins of an otter.
The skin is trimmed along the hock joint (heel) of the hind and wrists of the front paws of squirrels, muskrats, hares, and nutria. If the skin from the animal’s paws is completely removed according to the standard, it is often advisable to first remove the skin from the front paws, since in the future, when the skin is pulled, its fur can be damaged by its claws.
Cut the skin from the elbow to the fingers (or the pads of the hand), separate the skin from the forearm in a circular fashion, pull it off the fingers and cut off the fingers along the last joint, forming a “cam” on the skin with claws inside. After that proceed to further skinning..
All cuts of the skin for shooting make a very sharp knife. Turning it with the blade up, they stick the tip into the place where the cut began and slide smoothly to the end along the rump and the inner side of the hind paw from the anus (anus) to the heel (hock joint) or the paw of the hind paw, depending on the type of animal being processed. The direction of the cut can be the opposite, from the foot, which depends on the habit and convenience of the hunter.
Then grab the edge of the skin with your fingers and separate it on the legs, moving your fingers under the skin around the leg. Separating the skin on the thigh and lower leg, either cut it off the heel, or continue shooting from the foot to the claws and cut the fingers along the last joint, leaving the phalanges with claws on the skin. Having removed the skin from both hind legs, separate it in the lower back to the root of the tail and on the stomach, cutting the ligaments with the genitals and at the anus.
Drawing cuts when skinning with a stocking, tube, layer or carpet.
In animals with a bare tail (muskrat, nutria), the skin is trimmed along the border of the fur. In other animals, the skin is removed from the tail, or after a preliminary cut on the underside (in relatively large animals such as a wolf, lynx, wolverine, fox, raccoon dog, etc.), or by pulling the tail whip from the skin tube and only then cutting it on the underside.
They pull off the skin from the tail, grabbing it tightly from the root and not twisting it, but crushing it into folds. It is possible to cut the tail tube even after the whole skin has been completely shot, but you should not leave it uncut, except for squirrels whose tail skin is used only on hair for art brushes.
Having removed the skin from the back of the torso, for further shooting, the carcass can be hung by the hind legs in a noose-loop or on a raznog, inserting the ends of the raznog under the tendons of the hock joints. Using the suspension, it is better to hold the carcass not vertically, head down, but obliquely so that blood from the wounds does not fill the skin. Be sure to have a dry rag or burlap on hand to wipe the skin.
After completing the shooting of the skin from the back of the torso of the beast, pull the skin to the shoulder blades. If the skin is not previously removed from the front paws, it is pulled together with a stocking, trimming along the wrist (squirrel, hare, muskrat, nutria, etc.) or removing to the claws. After that they pull the skin to the ears and start shooting from the head. The ear cartilage is either left immediately on the carcass, carefully removing the “sacs” of ears from them, or cut off at the base, leaving the treatment of the ears to the stage of heading.
Ligaments near the eyes are cut off, trying to keep the edges of the eye holes on the skin intact. Lips and nose are left with the skin as whole as possible. After removing the skin, you should check to see if there are any vertebrae in the tail, and cut its tube if this was not done in the initial stage of the survey. In order not to make extra cuts on the tail, you can use a hole with a groove, which is inserted into the tail tube and with a knife, blade up, is carried out along the groove, cutting the skin.
Some hunters, in order to less pollute the fur with blood and fat, from all marteniformes of medium size, and sometimes from foxes and arctic foxes, take skins with stocking through their mouths, and cuts on the rump and forepaws after shooting. In this case, it is difficult to make straight cuts on the skinned, however, with sufficient skill, this can be very convenient.
Skins are removed from the sables of some ridges, an ermine, an affection, a column and a solongoy. With this method, cuts are made in the mouth along the line of connection of the lips with the gums. Cut the nasal cartilage, leaving the nose with the skin, wrap the skin on the head of the carcass. Ligaments near the eyes are cut without damaging the edges of the eye openings and the skin is pulled from the ears.
Having removed the skin from the head, it is convenient to fix the carcass by the neck in a noose-loop, but not hanging vertically, and so that further remove the skin in the horizontal direction or even slightly up. Thus, it is easier to avoid skin contamination with fat and blood draining from the carcass. It is also recommended to use clean rags for this. Next, the skin is pulled towards the rump, removing from the front paws to the claws, without cutting the skin of the paws.
The claws of the forepaws are left on the skin. The ligaments of the genitals are cut, the intestine of the skin itself is cut in the anus. The skin with claws is removed from the hind legs, the tail whip is pulled out, and its tube is cut at the end of the skinning..
Skinning by Plast or Carpet.
Plast, or carpet, skins are removed from bears, badgers, beavers, marmots, gophers, moles and water rats. In the same way, skins are taken from ungulates and sea animals (pinnipeds). The main incision is made from the middle of the lower lip to the tail along the midline of the ventral side of the carcass. In moles, water rats, beavers, they are limited to them, removing skins with one cut, removing paws and tail.
Skins with one cut are also removed from sea animals, leaving limbs (flippers) on the carcass. In other animals, more cuts are made on the inner sides of the front legs through the middle of the chest from the sole or wrist of one leg to the same place on the other leg, and also between the feet or hock joints of the hind legs along their inner side through the rump.
Having made the main cuts, the skin is gradually separated from the carcass, first from the paws, then from the whole carcass towards the spine. The skin is completely removed from the head, as when shooting with a tube. The skin is completely removed from the paws with the claws of only the bear. In badger and groundhogs, the skin of paws is completely removed, but without claws, and in beaver and ground squirrels, the skin of paws is cut at the level of wrists and heels (hock joints).
Cut along the tail tube is left for everyone except the beaver, in which the skin is cut along the border of the fur. When shooting skins with a layer, making the main cut of the skin along the lower side of the body with a sharp knife, you can accidentally cut through the belly of the beast and stain the skin with intestinal contents. To avoid this, use a specially made small knife with a sharpening from the concave side of the blade, not reaching the tip by about 1 cm.
The end of the blade is thickened and its edge is rounded. With a sharp-pointed knife, make a short cut of the skin on the lower jaw. A blade of a blunt knife is introduced into this incision and the incision is continued further to the root of the tail. In this case, the blunt tip of the knife passes between the skin and carcass without damaging them, and the blade directed towards the skin cuts it. Such a knife can also be used when shooting skins from ungulates..
The use of wooden blades when shooting skins with large animals.
In the process of shooting, skins from large animals sometimes use wooden shovels with a rounded edge. This eliminates the cuts of the mezra and reduces, and with skillful use it almost completely eliminates the leaving of meat and fat on the mezra. With short movements of one hand, the blade is advanced between the skin and the carcass, trying to press it more to the skin, and with the other hand they pull the separated part of the skin.
This tool is also convenient because it is not necessary to carry it with you all the time on the hunt. It can be made with the help of a knife and knife from any sufficiently thick branch or log. It is not necessary to apply much effort when using a shoulder blade, since the skin can be broken through with it. Sometimes it’s convenient to use a rag, a piece of burlap or a tarpaulin mitten worn on the arm, acting like a spatula. So skins are removed from livestock: sheep, cows, horses.
Based on materials from the book Encyclopedia of the Hunter.
Petrunin V.B., Nikashina E.B., Kupriyanov F.G., Nikerov Yu.N., Rymalov I.V..