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Thread: Bear Processsing in the field

  1. #1
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    Default Bear Processsing in the field

    I'm going on my first bear hunt this fall. I will be out 10 days.

    if i get lucky enough to get a bear, what is important in the field?

    It seems fairly straightforward to skin the bear. Where is the best place to cut to keep the feet with the hide?

    I am planning on making a european mount of the skull. So, I don't have to worry about carefully skinning the head and fleshing the nose and eyes.

    But now what? What is the best way to preserve the hide until I get back to civilization?

    Any other adivce?
    Any good videos that show the whole process?

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    Moderator bkmail's Avatar
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    Mad angler,
    Check out this website for bear info;
    http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm...nting.skinning
    Good luck. Post pics when you get back!
    BK

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    Quote Originally Posted by mad_angler View Post
    Any good videos that show the whole process?
    There are several videos on youtube that show bears being skinned in various ways. I've watched all of them I think. Never skinned a bear myself, so I figured that would be as good of a place to start as any. Some strange stuff on there when you search for "bear" + "skinning" and I would suggest you be aware that the possibility exists that you may see videos of boys dancing with and/or kissing boys in addition to hunters using sharp knives on dead animals.
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    I talked to a taxidermist about a year ago and he gave me a good hint. The first cut is usually from the anus to the neck, and then on the inside of the arms and legs. What he said is to make your first cut across the chest, roughly from armpit to armpit. Then do the anus to neck cut. His reasoning is that if you do the long cut first, the body may shift and it will get more difficult to know exactly where to make the cuts toward the armpits. This makes a better hide to give your taxi.

    Unfortunately i have not had the opportunity to try this myself... but hope to in the next week or so!

    I'm sure others with more experience than i will chime in soon. Good luck on your hunt!
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinnyD View Post
    There are several videos on youtube that show bears being skinned in various ways. I've watched all of them I think. Never skinned a bear myself, so I figured that would be as good of a place to start as any. Some strange stuff on there when you search for "bear" + "skinning" and I would suggest you be aware that the possibility exists that you may see videos of boys dancing with and/or kissing boys in addition to hunters using sharp knives on dead animals.
    Same as when you type in "how to skin a fox" on youtube or "Case skinning coyote"
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    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mad_angler View Post
    I'm going on my first bear hunt this fall. I will be out 10 days.

    if i get lucky enough to get a bear, what is important in the field?

    It seems fairly straightforward to skin the bear. Where is the best place to cut to keep the feet with the hide?

    I am planning on making a european mount of the skull. So, I don't have to worry about carefully skinning the head and fleshing the nose and eyes.

    But now what? What is the best way to preserve the hide until I get back to civilization?

    Any other adivce?
    Any good videos that show the whole process?
    I am kinda confused on what you want to do with the hide? Are you wanting it rugged with a felt back ground or just a tanned fur to throw over the back of the couch?

    If you are getting it rugged you need to carefully skin out the head, feet/toes, tail, and do a proper fleshing job as well as turning the ears, splitting the lips and tail.

    Bring plenty of fine table salt not rock salt if you will be stuck in the field after downing your game.

    Keep the hide in the shade and well ventilated if possible.

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    Position the bear so that it's laying flat on it's back and straight to ensure your anus to chin cut is centered perfectly. Make the anus to chin cut. Next Cut to each armpit and then up the leg ensuring that you end your cut centered on the pads. You will need to cut all the way up tight to the pad to get access to the wrist joints. Once the wrist joints are exposed, it's fairly easy to break that joint by cutting all of the tendons and cartilage that keep them connected. When the tendons are all cut, snap the wrist joint and cut the remaining tissue holding it on. Do this with the rear legs also ending your cuts straight and centered on the pads. Cut the neck at the base of the skull. Finish skinning out the bear leaving the skull in the hide until you get back to camp. When your back in camp you can finish skinning the skull. I have used an exacto knife with good results for this part. Starting in the mouth you cut the gums staying as close to the bone as possible. Cut through the nose cartilage as close to the bone as possible leaving all of the septum on the hide. Skin up to the eyes then start skinning from the back of the skull forward. When you get to the ears, stick your finger into it's ear canal as far as you can reach then remove the ear cartilage as close to the skull as possible so the taxidermist has a lot to work with. Skin down to the eyes. When skinning out the eyes, you need to be careful so as you get all of the eyelids and tear ducts with the hide. The way I did this was to stick my finger into the eyes while I'm slowing cutting and pulling the hide off. You will get to a point when you have almost all of the skin off and it's seems like the eyeball is coming off with the hide. When you get to this point, carefully Cut through the remaining tissue. The rest depends on what your situation is regarding storing the hide. You will either have to Roll it up and freeze it or salt it. I have never had to salt one cause I had cold storage available. Salting a hide would require more work to split the lips and turn out the ears, but this is not necessary if u are freezing it.I am by no means an expert, but this worked on the two bears this year and the one last year that I skinned. My taxidermist preferred me leaving the paws in the hide and the pads on for him to remove. If you are doing a rug, the pads arent required, but i didnt want to screw them up. Your taxidermist may be different. I am sure some experts will chime in on this, hopefully maybe a taxidermist too. Hope this helps. There are a lot of utube videos also on how to skin a bear and the skull.

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    Member jnalaska's Avatar
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    When I went on my first bear hunt without dad I purchased a very little field durable water proof pocket book sold by knights taxidermy. Step by step instructions (with pictures) on how to skin a bear. It helped me take care of my first bear skinning and would recommend it for any first timers hunt pack.CheersJason

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    Quote Originally Posted by broncoformudv View Post
    I am kinda confused on what you want to do with the hide? Are you wanting it rugged with a felt back ground or just a tanned fur to throw over the back of the couch?...
    I just want a tanned fur to throw over the back of the couch.

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    Go visit your local/favorite taxidermist. He/She will gladly show you how and where to make your cuts, for in the end, they'll be the one who has to work on your critter. Best of luck on your hunt!

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    Be careful not to roll the hide up in a "ball" for any extended amount of time, as they generate a lot of heat and will start to rot very fast. One outfitter had a walk in freezer I hunted with and he balled them up and froze them so clients could drive home - I laid mine out flat and folded in half - fur to fur - then froze it - worked fine - one of our guys had his balled up and about halfway home it smelled bad - we stopped at a taxidermist in Canada and he took it - thawed it out and saved it - tanned it and shipped it to our buddy. He did loose some hair though but one more day and it would have been ruined.
    I have done several and keeping air to it is a key to preservation - avoid putting it in a plastic bag in your pack for sure. Remove as much fat and meat as possible without damageing the hide helps a bunch.
    For what you want to do with the hide a small box of baking soda to rub on the ( non fur side ) will work well also and reduce smell. It does act as a bit of a preservative ( almost any dry laundry soap powder does the same ).
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    Quote Originally Posted by mad_angler View Post
    I'm going on my first bear hunt this fall. I will be out 10 days.

    if i get lucky enough to get a bear, what is important in the field?

    It seems fairly straightforward to skin the bear. Where is the best place to cut to keep the feet with the hide?

    I am planning on making a european mount of the skull. So, I don't have to worry about carefully skinning the head and fleshing the nose and eyes.

    But now what? What is the best way to preserve the hide until I get back to civilization?

    Any other adivce?
    Any good videos that show the whole process?

    Definitely talk to the taxidermist you plan to use before heading afield. He/She is the best source of info, as they will most likely be the one to deal with the hide upon your return. If you want to spend a little money, nere's a good video on skinning a large brown bear: http://www.outdoorsdirectory.com/sto...roducts_id=139

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    Quote Originally Posted by jnalaska View Post
    When I went on my first bear hunt without dad I purchased a very little field durable water proof pocket book sold by knights taxidermy. Step by step instructions (with pictures) on how to skin a bear. It helped me take care of my first bear skinning and would recommend it for any first timers hunt pack.CheersJason
    Good advice. Good little book - and handy size you won't mind dragging along ...

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    I've only done one bear hide but I think it's really important to have a small knife with you and an easy / quick means of sharpening it. I used a Case knife like a #081 Working Small Stockman (6333 SS) and a Smith Abrasives CCKS 2-Step Knife Sharpener (about $5). These little guys were a God send for doing the fine work around the lips, ears, nose, etc. Just give your knife a few swipes on that sharpener every few minutes and you will be happy with your results. Best of luck to you.

    Dave

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    Quote Originally Posted by standdup View Post
    I've only done one bear hide but I think it's really important to have a small knife with you and an easy / quick means of sharpening it. I used a Case knife like a #081 Working Small Stockman (6333 SS) and a Smith Abrasives CCKS 2-Step Knife Sharpener (about $5). These little guys were a God send for doing the fine work around the lips, ears, nose, etc. Just give your knife a few swipes on that sharpener every few minutes and you will be happy with your results. Best of luck to you.

    Dave
    I planned on buying a Havalon for the skinning and processing.
    http://www.havalon.com/

    It seems like a perfect way to always have a razor sharp blade...

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    a small Xacto knife worked perfect for the skull. small cutting surface, easy to control and cheap blades. only went thru two blades for each skull.

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    I tried the razor blade approach but, for me, it seemed like it would be too easy to do damage to the hide. Either way you go just take your time and have some salt on hand. You'll do fine and good luck to you.

    Dave

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