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Thread: How Much Salt Do You Pack for Capes

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    Default How Much Salt Do You Pack for Capes

    I just finished watching a DVD on field care of a cape. After fleshing, it looks like quite a bit of salt is needed to dry it out. How much salt should I take on a float trip to do a moose and a caribou? I'm only wanting shoulder mounts. Thanks.

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    Can't help with moose/caribou- but I take a 20 ounce aquafina bottle- dry it out, and then pack the salt in- bang the bottle on a table as you pour the salt in- this is the minimum amount necessary to help preserve a sheep cape- perhaps more important is turning the lips/ears and making sure ALL of the flesh is off prior to salting, otherwise its all for not.

    I would think a few gallon milk jugs filled with salt may do the trick? But I could be grossly underestimating.

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    Usually I see folks take way to much in the field. As usual also, its a moot point cuz they dont flesh it properly. Nothing like making jerky when a improperly flesh hide is salted. Then when the hide slips, its always the taxidermists fault.

    Anyways, I carry 2 20oz mtn dew plastic containers for salt.

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    Member sharksinthesalsa's Avatar
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    Default are we just talking sheep?

    if we are talking sheep my main focus would be on keeping blood out of the hair first..and making sure that i took enough cape...that includes the brisket..then properly turning ears lips and nose and properly fleshing....all of this is deserves a seperate thread...but as far as salt goes one 20 oz bottle sounds like bare minimum...i love the idea of carrying it like that though...i usually filled up a gallon ziploc and double bagged it...its probably about the amount of two bottles plus a bit...i like to wash my sheep capes in a creek to get the blood out...this gets things really wet...so i snap it a few times holding the side adn let it drain a bit....the after everything is turned and fleshed i sprinkle a small amount all over the cape....and rub it out to the edges and rub it on the ears and lips and eyes...then draped it over a tree branch to drain some more...after it sits there for two hours or so i scrape off all the wet salt and put dry salt on it more this time....and rub it in all over again..this can sit over night or for however long you want....but before i hike it out i scrape alot of the wet salt off and rub whats left all over the cape again....no sense in carry a bunch of wet salt...then i fold the cap skin to skin and roll it up...remember that unless its hard and dry...fluid is still going to come out...so be careful where you pack it in your pack...not on food and not under meat that may bleed out....so for a sheep i like the idea of the two 20 oz bottles for caribou and moose and lifesize skins you will need quite a bit more....if i was going on a fly in hunt where i was thinking i might take multiple animals...a bear a moose a caribou ...or if i am going to have a base camp and plan to spike out.....i would take a five gallon bucket full of salt...its a seat and you'll have enough....moose and bears have thicker skin and require more salt....the back half of a lifesize goat is pretty thick aswell...most skins/capes will last a few days if kept cool with no salt....when i skin a bear or something... i like to lay the skin hair down if i can for a while(not so long it startes to dry...just a few minutes) to let the heat out of it before i roll it up for any length of time....the heat will stay in the center and that will be the first place of spoilage...this may not be a good idea if its pooring rain or really hot .....well here i go getting off track again....final answer....salt good...take more than you need...but not more than you want to carry...
    "early to bed, early to rise, fish like hell, and make up lies"

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    Great info shark- you're right- 20 ounces is a bit light for a properly skinned sheep cape- I just can't get myself to add more weight to my pack when I know that the cape will be fine if I take proper care of it!!

    Washing the cape is a really good piece of advice for any lighter haired animal- the longer its in, the more it can stain. However, I'm curious as to where you find a tree to hang it over where you sheep hunt!!? I usually use a rock.

  6. #6

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    How much salt for a moose and caribou cape? You should take enough for at least one thorough salting after you have fleshed the cape and turned the lips and ears, then a liitle more for resalting after you shake out the wet slop. Perhaps 20 - 25 lbs for the moose 10 lbs for the caribou. A moose cape when properly skinned, cut fully behind the brisket and forlegs for a shoulder mount, is quite a load. A caribou is much more manageable.

    Be prepared to spend several hours properly fleshing, turning, and salting the moose cape, ditto the caribou. That amount of butchering and skinning will take a toll on your knives. Bring along a good sharpening steel just like the butcher shop uses. The 10" plastic handled diamond steel is a good choice and weighs little. A stick driven into the ground and the ear draped over it is useful for turning the ears in the field.

    Makes no sense to salt a cape without fleshing it down to the epidermis first - otherwise the puckering of the fat, meat, and viscera remaining on the hide will make it very difficult to flesh out later. The hide will produce lots of moisture from the first salting and this salty slurry will get all over your boat unless you have some heavy plastic bags to carry the hide in after this initial salting. A day or two of soaking in this brine and - if it isn't raining out - you can unfold the cape and shake out the wet sloppy salt and air dry the cape in camp for a few hours, draped open on a pile of limbs or a stout bush. After that keep it stored folded, dry, up off the bottom of the boat stored in cotton game bags or burlap bags stowed in a dry bag.

    Hope that helped. Tommy

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    Anyone ever used this?http://www.bringmin.com/catalog/prod...roducts_id=127
    I havent tried it but I'm thinking of using it for my float hunt this fall.

  8. #8

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    I packed salt for years and all it did was add weight. Since most sheep hunts are usually not more that a week and if you kill midway you only have a few days before you're back in town. As long as you wash the blood off it, flesh it out properly, and turn everything, and drape it over some brush or out on a rock to keep it cool and let it dry out it will be fine. I've done several like this over the years and never ruined a hide. I do take salt and leave it at base camp where I get picked up but never pack it up on the mountain anymore.

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    Default good point sockeye

    ok the the first sheep cape was on a rock....and was dry in a matter of hours.......the second i was right down on the creek and that cape wasn't hanging very far off the ground.......and tommy is right your knives are going to take a serious beating.....quality sharpening equipment is a must...and make sure that stick that your turning the ear with is not a sharp one...dull the edges of it with a knife or grinding it on a rock or something...i dont' think i'll ever be sold on those "salt substitute" products....salt is natural...it has worked for centuries....and you can use it to season your freshly harvested game....can't beat that
    "early to bed, early to rise, fish like hell, and make up lies"

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    Cool Take a taxidermist with you!

    I was blessed to have two handy sheep hunting partners with for my first successful sheep hunt. A taxidermist and a butcher. The pilot sure grinned upon being told what my two partners did for a living.
    -Jay-

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigram View Post
    I packed salt for years and all it did was add weight. Since most sheep hunts are usually not more that a week and if you kill midway you only have a few days before you're back in town. As long as you wash the blood off it, flesh it out properly, and turn everything, and drape it over some brush or out on a rock to keep it cool and let it dry out it will be fine. I've done several like this over the years and never ruined a hide. I do take salt and leave it at base camp where I get picked up but never pack it up on the mountain anymore.
    I agree unless you know you could be there for a week waiting for pickup then bring salt I would bring 5 lb. to base camp if your not walking it in.

    If you control your own extraction keep your eye on it and if you think it's going bad get it out of there.

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Another source for TTC!

    Quote Originally Posted by #1duck View Post
    Anyone ever used this?http://www.bringmin.com/catalog/prod...roducts_id=127
    I havent tried it but I'm thinking of using it for my float hunt this fall.
    Duck,

    This product has not seen universal acceptance within the taxidermy profession. I recently spoke about this with Russell Knight, of Knight's Taxidermy here in Anchorage, and he was not very supportive of the product. He seemed a little uncertain though, and eventually said, "why bother when salt is known to do the job effectively". Good point, but as I see it the whole point of using TTC is to reduce weight and bulk on flyout trips or backpacking hunts. Sooo... I'm still undecided. Though the ingredients are something of a trade secret, it's clear that it uses chemicals that are used in the tanning process as a preservative.

    Someone sent me the name of the guy who actually makes the stuff, but I have lost it (if you're out there, please re-send!)

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Moose and caribou

    Quote Originally Posted by Believer View Post
    I just finished watching a DVD on field care of a cape. After fleshing, it looks like quite a bit of salt is needed to dry it out. How much salt should I take on a float trip to do a moose and a caribou? I'm only wanting shoulder mounts. Thanks.
    Well, I'll go out on a limb here. I usually bring a 50# bag of salt with me on guided hunts, and have found that I use at least half of it on a moose cape. I cut all my capes long (around the mid body area) because most folks want most of that shoulder and all of the brisket to show. I give all of my capes two thorough saltings. One bag should be enough for both a moose and a caribou cape.

    If you do a good job fleshing (it should take at least four hours to thoroughly flesh a moose cape, including turning the ears, splitting the lips, nose, dewlap and eyelids), you will use less salt. But I am liberal with salt, because most of my hunters don't have the option of shooting another moose later, in case the cape "goes bad". I put the latter in quotes, because capes don't "go bad" without some help from someone who is not prepared or equipped to take care of it properly.

    There are very special conditions in which a cape may be kept in the field without salting, but you better really know what you're doing. You can bury it in snow to freeze it, but that's not always possible. Just bring salt, and plenty of it!

    For those who don't want to pack it in, consider an air drop.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  14. #14

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    I know a guy that has done 2 brown bears and a goat with TTC and he raves about how good it works. I've got 2 containers of the stuff and plan on using it if I should score on a brown bear this spring and a sheep this fall. I will never carry salt again for capes, why carry 25 lbs of salt when you can carry 5 lbs of TTC?

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    Default TTC

    I have used TTC on a sheep and wolverine. It did the job. My taxidermist was concerned it dried the hide too much but all the hair is in place and that it what matters. Light weight and does the job, what more can you ask of a product. Salt is cheaper so if I have room in the plane, I do take a 5 gallon bucket filled with salt, which makes a good seat too!

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    Have used TCC on a sheep and goat with no problems. I look to reduce weight and bulk on all hunts, reguardless of type, just seems to make life easier. If you are cabable of accepting something other than just what has worked in the past and willing to try something new that may be an improvement, go with the TCC. If not, go ahead and carry all that salt. I'll be using TCC on my spring brown bear hunt. When I read that a taxidermist has not accepted it, I have to wonder how much actual use of it they have. If you have questions about it, contact Marc Taylor at Wiggys Alaska. He has actually used it in the field and can tell you how much you would need.

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default I understand...

    Quote Originally Posted by AKJD View Post
    ...If you are cabable of accepting something other than just what has worked in the past and willing to try something new that may be an improvement, go with the TCC. If not, go ahead and carry all that salt....
    Hello JD,

    Yeah, I thought that would come up. It's not really about being afraid to break tradition at all. I have helped challenge the norms many times before (transoms and flooring systems on catarafts, tin can drag alarms on boats, loop and toggle method for hanging game, catacanoe setups, and so forth are proof of this.) But when I ask trusted, experienced taxidermists, and they express uncertainty, well, then it makes me think about it a bit. l put a lot of stock in the opinion of a man who has fleshed and salted literally thousands of capes and hides in his career. I would think that after all those years, the man has probably learned a few things. Having said that, I readily acknowledge the possibility that Russell Knight is a traditionalist who may not see the value of TTC. It's possible that he could change his opinion on it. On the other hand, there could be circumstances where TTC will not work as well as salt. It just has not been around long enough to tell.

    The question I have to ask myself is whether I'm willing to refer other hunters to it when I know salt will work, just to save some weight?

    There is no question that TTC weighs a LOT less than salt, and takes up a LOT less room in the aircraft and the pack. But does it spell the end of us using salt for our hides and capes? Despite the confidence some of us have, I don't think we have enough information yet to make a definitive case for or against it yet.

    Just my take on it-

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

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    We had friends up last year for a caribou hunt and they used that TTC (did a hunt through bartlett who recommended the stuff). There capes were fine but I'm still hesitant. My ole lady is a taxidermist and she was impressed but you know the old saying about teaching an old dog.

    They left some up here and I will probably try it this spring if I get a bear. Its worth a shot.

  19. #19

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    How much TTC (weight) would be needed for a moose cape?

  20. #20

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    I guess ignorance is bliss, can someone please enlighten me as to how you get 25 lbs of salt on a fly in for moose with a 50-60 lb total weight limit? Thorw out the tent, sleeping bag and all food?

    Not to be sarcastic but it seems to me there is no way for most hunters to take in that amount, not to mention pack ins. I see guys gear lists a lot and several pounds of salt is never on there.

    I need to know for my future trips so please help. Moose, black bear and caribou. Most fly in maybe one float.

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