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Thread: Splitting a Brown Bear Hide for Packing

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    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Default Splitting a Brown Bear Hide for Packing

    Going to try to do a brown bear hunt and am wondering about carrying the hide out. I understand that a full brown bear hide can get very heavy and the head alone might reach 25 lbs.

    So has anyone ever cut a hide in half for packing out?

    And if so, how would you properly cut it?

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    Member kidso's Avatar
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    Ouch! I hope not! Skin the hide properly for a rug or full body mount or any other mount in consultation with your taxidermist. Hire a packer if you need to, but don't cut a hide in half.

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    Member JuliW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daveinthebush View Post
    Going to try to do a brown bear hunt and am wondering about carrying the hide out. I understand that a full brown bear hide can get very heavy and the head alone might reach 25 lbs.

    So has anyone ever cut a hide in half for packing out?

    And if so, how would you properly cut it?
    Yes...I worked on one that was cut in half...the sewing back together was done after the hide was tanned. It was a monster of a bear and I can understand why they did it. They made a clean cut directly in half, midway between the front and back legs. (mid chest).

    Just make sure your cut is very clean and not ragged. And you could avoid having to cut it in half if you don't leave 70lb fat on it too. LOL!

    Good luck!
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    Member JuliW's Avatar
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    Oh, and the repair is not noticable at all on the finished rug. Many people have seen it and have never even known about the cut...

    I do recommend trying to pack out in one piece though...if at all possible.
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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    I have given this much thought. I know I can't pack kind of weight. So I would either bring along a young buck to pack for me or I would make camp at the kill site and flesh and salt the hide in place, deflesh the skull and then pack it out. If that was not doable, try to sled it out. I have heard of people cutting them in half and know from mounting one myself, that their long fur hides sewing. I would try to cut so that it could be alighted once tanned and where the fur would hide the cut, I would think a V cut to aid in alignment.

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    Juli, would you prefer one cut perpendicular to the spine or parallel?


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    Member JuliW's Avatar
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    Oh.. if it was an absolute issue of not being able to pack the skin... around the belly and back... As if you were cutting a cape for a deer or for a half lifesize mount.
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    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    A packer is probably out. Marital hopes of gaining a packer are probably out too. That is why I think splitting it would be the best idea. I agree with Stid about a notch or alignment cut. If it is not too rough a travois could work. Just need enough rope for that and straight poles. It would be easy to take some of the meat off the skull. Fleshing it out in place...... I don't like being bait.

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    Member jkb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daveinthebush View Post
    A packer is probably out. Marital hopes of gaining a packer are probably out too. That is why I think splitting it would be the best idea. I agree with Stid about a notch or alignment cut. If it is not too rough a travois could work. Just need enough rope for that and straight poles. It would be easy to take some of the meat off the skull. Fleshing it out in place...... I don't like being bait.
    That is the beauty of a brown bear kill the only thing that will mess with it is a rogue wolverine. It's like having garlic around your neck in vampire country
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    Member JuliW's Avatar
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    LOL Dave... marital packer... hahaha

    I am not a big fan of alignment cuts on green skins (ie, V cuts)...reason being they stretch and distort during the tanning process, and while they do line up again, it just doesn't help all that much...Now, a dry tanned skin is a different story - v cuts work nicely for replacing feet, tails, etc etc..or for fur sewing.....This is my opinion and I am sure there are others who would prefer a v or alignment cut.... Probably best to double check with your taxi on what they would prefer.

    I agree with you on fleshing in the field in thick bear country....I skinned one once with another bear hanging in the near distance...fortunately there were two of us and we worked quickly...
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    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    Skinned a lot of bears, never once had any issue with other bears. Take the time to do it right, don't let fear of the unknown cause you to make decisions you may regret later. Couple weight saving tips...
    Flesh the pads, if your gonna rug it just take them off
    Clean the meat off the skull!!!
    Flesh the hide or skin it close at least
    Don't have a pile of gear in your pack to start with

    Ten foot bear hide an skull fleshed well...probably around 100-120lb
    Nine foot bear....prob around 80 or so. There's a big difference in hide weights. They aren't all
    Super heavy.
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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkb View Post
    That is the beauty of a brown bear kill the only thing that will mess with it is a rogue wolverine. It's like having garlic around your neck in vampire country
    Brownies love to eat other brownies and already dead makes it easy.
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    If the bear you shoot is so big you must cut the hide in half, there is little chance you will have trouble with other bears. Large mature boars repel other bears even when dead

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    Member jkb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amigo Will View Post
    Brownies love to eat other brownies and already dead makes it easy.
    Have never had this problem, was able to watch two different carcasses two different times for 14 days each while hunting other species. These areas were predator (brown bear included) heavy areas where moose gut piles didn't last 36 hours. The only thing I've seen messing with them were flies and the occasional bird. I asked an old timer about it and he said the only four legged critter he ever saw mess with one was a wolverine pee on one. Would be neat to see a brownie tear up a carcass.
    Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming-----WOW-----what a ride!
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    Quote Originally Posted by JuliW View Post
    Oh.. if it was an absolute issue of not being able to pack the skin... around the belly and back... As if you were cutting a cape for a deer or for a half lifesize mount.
    Thanks Juli, that was what I had in mind!


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    The large bear in the Anchorage airport was cut in half as the guy was by himself on Kodiak and he didn't think he could carry it in one trip. This bear is mounted walking on all fours and is located at the end of the terminal near the Alaska Air check-in area. You cannot tell it was cut.

    I shot a bear that fell into a river and we didn't find until the next day. Bears and wolves had chewed a large hole in the hide that was successfully repaired by a taxi in Palmer that does his own tanning.

    We also had foxes come into camp and chew on a freshly skinned bear on a spring Kodiak hunt. The foxes were so hungry they ate a mountain house meal right through the foil pouch.

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    Member willphish4food's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkb View Post
    Have never had this problem, was able to watch two different carcasses two different times for 14 days each while hunting other species. These areas were predator (brown bear included) heavy areas where moose gut piles didn't last 36 hours. The only thing I've seen messing with them were flies and the occasional bird. I asked an old timer about it and he said the only four legged critter he ever saw mess with one was a wolverine pee on one. Would be neat to see a brownie tear up a carcass.
    A client shot a wolf off a brownie carcass last fall. Only one set of bear tracks at the site, and looked like it walked up to the carcass, took a sniff and a look, and left. The wolf, on the other hand, had spent considerable time at the site, judging from the sign.

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    Premium Member MarineHawk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by willphish4food View Post
    A client shot a wolf off a brownie carcass last fall. Only one set of bear tracks at the site, and looked like it walked up to the carcass, took a sniff and a look, and left. The wolf, on the other hand, had spent considerable time at the site, judging from the sign.
    Interesting. The same is true for shark kills, where the tagged great white sharks will move several thousands of miles when another great white is killed (usually by a killer whale) in the Pacific. Not the same situation, I know, but I wonder if it is the same principle. (If something is killing my kind, I will go far away for now). Just guessing and it is more complicated by the fact the BBs kill their own.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BRWNBR View Post
    Skinned a lot of bears, never once had any issue with other bears. Take the time to do it right, don't let fear of the unknown cause you to make decisions you may regret later. Couple weight saving tips...
    Flesh the pads, if your gonna rug it just take them off
    Clean the meat off the skull!!!
    Flesh the hide or skin it close at least
    Don't have a pile of gear in your pack to start with

    Ten foot bear hide an skull fleshed well...probably around 100-120lb
    Nine foot bear....prob around 80 or so. There's a big difference in hide weights. They aren't all
    Super heavy.
    Sums up my experience as well. I can't imagine cutting a hide in half to pack it. Much nicer to make one pack with a hide than 8-10 trips for a moose........
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    Premium Member MarineHawk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1Cor15:19 View Post
    Sums up my experience as well. I can't imagine cutting a hide in half to pack it. Much nicer to make one pack with a hide than 8-10 trips for a moose........
    Right. The cape on my moose from only the front shoulder to nose weighed more than the entire pelt from my 9'-2" brown bear from rear paw to nose. And that doesn't count the weight of the 1/2 ton of moose antlers and meat (on the bone).

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