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Thread: Fleshing, A lost art?

  1. #1
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    Default Fleshing, A lost art?

    Alot of us know how to flesh to preserve the hide, yet most dont. What is so hard about taking the steps needed to do it right?

    My wife is a taxidermist so I here all the stories of hides that get turned in and I'm amazed. she has stuff turned in with an inch of fat still on it that was sitting in the sun for a week (can you say jerky). maybe 5% of the hides she gets in a year are fleshed right. people are amazed with the terms of splitting or turning when it comes to the ears, lips and nose.

    Folks, if you dont know or have questions, see your taxidermist and ask question. Most are happy to ablidge. take some salt, you dont need 5lbs for a bear, but take some anyways. fill up a 20oz mtn dew bottle. if fleshed right it will be enough to get you out of the field.

    Dont worry about cuts in the hide. they know how to sew. atleast your trying. Get it down to the folicles, learn how to do the face, and your hide will end up pretty dang good.

    sorry off the box for now.

  2. #2

    Talking Pant, pant, I'll be there in a second ,Dear.

    Hay Blink,
    Sounds like you've been in some forced labor situation via your "softer side". I'll bet all of that helping out has cut into your hunting time and you would rather not do so much this year.
    Dan

  3. #3
    Member Toddler's Avatar
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    Smile Great idea

    Blink
    That is one of the best recommendations I have heard! I will admit to you that I am not all the best at skinning out the game. I never thought about going to the Taxidermist for tips. Thanks

    Drew

  4. #4

    Default

    It is surprising how many people have no clue how to do this. I have seen so many bears that haven't been fleshed right, slip. When you ask them how long it took them to flesh, the usual answer is a couple of hours. A couple of hours is not long enough. I fleshed 50 foxes last year, so I have a pretty good handle on fleshing and it took me 6 hours to flesh our goat cape this year. A bear is an all day program.

    This is a lost art. People expect taxidermists to work miracles and many times they do, but when they don't, they just can't understand why their animal is losing hair.

  5. #5

    Default ear tool?

    It takes me from 5 to 8 hours to get a black bear from down and dead to salted and finished hide. I have seen a tool for turning ears. It is sort of like a pair of reverse pliers; instead of jaws closing when the handles are squeezed, the jaws open. The jaws are smooth 'paddles' that you slip in behind the cartilage of the ear and the pressure splits the ear.

    My question is, has anybody used this tool and does it really save any time?

    Thanks,
    He fears his fate too much or his desserts are small who fears on just one touch to win or lose it all.

  6. #6
    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Default Knifes

    You need 2-3 different knikes for fleshing. One for the head, one for the toes and one for fleshing the skin. Some work better than others. My bear partner works circles around me as his knife just seems to fly along. Try as I may with different angles on the edges I can not compete. I think I may try something different next year.

    We usually, flesh, salt and hang a bit, flest again and then salt before we take them in.

  7. #7
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    Default Ear turning...

    Quote Originally Posted by RupertBear View Post
    It takes me from 5 to 8 hours to get a black bear from down and dead to salted and finished hide. I have seen a tool for turning ears. It is sort of like a pair of reverse pliers; instead of jaws closing when the handles are squeezed, the jaws open. The jaws are smooth 'paddles' that you slip in behind the cartilage of the ear and the pressure splits the ear.

    My question is, has anybody used this tool and does it really save any time?

    Thanks,
    I've used the ear splitter tool quite a bit, but mainly on deer. They are kind of tricky to use if you've never used them...too much pressure on them results in a nasty blown out ear can be very difficult to repair. They don't work well for bears because a bears ear is so short. They do work pretty well on deer, moose, bou, etc, but like I said, you have to be very careful on how much pressure you apply. The edges of the ear/cartlidge still have to be split out to the tips after using the reverse pliars. IMO, turning the ears is one of the easier things to do if you have the right tools...now turning lips and eyes is a different story. I've done plenty, and the lower lip on any animal still causes me to cuss a little...mainly because it's such soft skin and hard to get ahold of with gloves on.

    Anyone ever used an ulu for fleshing? Probably not the easiest to use in the field without a good fleshing board, but holy crap if an ulu is sharp, it's night and day difference than a normal knife...plus no clean up like with an air mini flesher.

    I agree on the time frame...to do a complete thorough job on a bear if it comes in with the head and paws still in...for me it's a minimum 3-4 hour job for a black bear...usually more depending on how big the bear is. A big brown bear could be a better part of a day! Moose capes...UGH!
    Last edited by Shoot2Kill; 09-13-2006 at 11:20.

  8. #8

    Default need to swap

    I thank you for the information on the tool. It sounds like we need to swap skills. As long as my knife is more akin to razor than axe, I don't have much problem with the lower lips, and even the nose.

    I try to skin close initially rather than flesh later. My tools, aside from sharpening gear, consist of an ulu for most of the hide and a cheap 3 bladed pocket knife for most everything else. Over the past decades, I've tried at least a dozen different knives, scalpels, box cutters, and near everything. Frankly, a pocket knife ($14 from WallyWorld) with a thin, thin main blade, and a couple of hefty short blades does about as good as anything I've found.
    He fears his fate too much or his desserts are small who fears on just one touch to win or lose it all.

  9. #9

    Default Flesing

    Fleshing is an easy job if you take the time to learn it and have the right tools.
    I use pairing knives when I deal with lips, ears, toes, heads. They are small and easy to handle. You want to keep them sharp and have a sharp point. For ears I have several small pieces of wood that I have shaped into small fleshing boards. With the ears inside out (hair in) you can insert the wood in the ear and use if for leaverage to turn the ear. Be careful as you can blow out the ear easy. Lips are not hard, they just take practice, just follow the line and dont cut through. Use caution with lips and ears as they are harder to fix screw ups than on the body. Few people know that the eyes must also be turned. I don't recommend the average hunter doing this as you can screw them up pretty easy. The biggest thing is to get all the fat and meat off the animal. Get the head out if you are going to be long in the field. When taking the toes out of a bear, try not to cut the skin between the toes, they can be fixed but that is not fun.
    This time of year, go to the taxidermist and watch. They are busy skinning and fleshing and can show you plenty of hides that have not been done right. They are also more than happy to show you how to do it (The more you do it right the less repair they have to do). Besides it will probally save you money!

    Good Luck

  10. #10

    Default

    I will show anyone how tp properly flesh a hide that comes to my shop, i will also show them how to turn everything, (BUT) I prefer that they do not turn anything and let me do that part unless they are going to have it in the field for a long while. Turning is not all that hard but if its your first time or you are hurrying to get it done thats when all the holes start. If you can do one thing good that would be to remove all the meat off the hide.

    My comment would be to have a taxidermist show you how to do it right. Its a terrible thing to see someones trophy or hide has slipped just because they didnt learn how to take proper care of it in the field.

    Hunting is the easy part, but once the trigger or release is pulled then the work starts.

  11. #11
    Moderator Adison's Avatar
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    Talking Training aid

    Hey Blink, would she do some training for me. I have a moose head that I found on the highway she could use!
    Adison

  12. #12
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    Default

    Adison, bring the head and your son into her shop. she cant say no to kids. I know shes swamped right now but she will probably take the time to do it.

    Dan, I stay out of her business when it comes to critters. she runs circles around me with a knife. Trust me if I screw up I hear about it. I put a few to many cuts in a bear a number of years back and I still hear about. trust me, being married to a taxidermist (as a hunter) isnt all its cracked up to be..lol. She just comes home and vents and its usually over the same thing. fleshing, or lack there of. thats why I asked.

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