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Thread: How to skin a deer or Bear

  1. #1
    Member JustinW's Avatar
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    Default How to skin a deer or Bear

    At the request of another member I am starting this thread. My father and I have compiled a collection of short how-to videos on properly skinning game. It is a work in progress and we have more clips to finish but I wanted to share it with everyone here.

    http://www.youtube.com/user/DicksTaxidermy

    I hope this helps people be a bit more confident in the field when they decide they have something for the taxidermist.

  2. #2
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    Thanks! I've been looking for something like this for ages.

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    Default very good refresher

    The vid unfortunately was shot from the hind end, so I could not see exactly where the cuts from the center of the front paws ended (ie, met the length-wise center cut). It looked higher than what I've done. Anyone see exactly how high on the bear those two cuts ended, say in relation to the base of the throat? Thanks. j

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    Member BrentC's Avatar
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    You can use these videos and diagrams as a guide to know what to do, but to truly make the best of your trophy, think about how you want the mount beforehand and skin accordingly. Don't go into the hunt dead set on a particular mount. The better idea is to decide on a mount that will make your trophy look it's best after you kill it. Some bears make great rugs, and some bears make great full body, half-life, and shoulder mounts.

    If you plan on displaying the bear as a rug, lay the bear on it's back, place the front legs at a 90* angle, make a horizontal incision from sternum to the elbow and then shoot straight vertical to the middle of the front paw forming a right angle. This way the front legs lay out straight in a rug.

    On the back legs, instead of starting your leg cuts from the anus, move your cut up a couple inches towards the scrotum (or whatever) and run the cut so as to get more hide of the inside of the leg. This cut should end at the center of the rear paw pad. This will make your bear appear larger and make a fuller rug.

    For shoulder mounts I like to keep my cuts hidden, If you plan on a half life size where your displaying the front of the bear, make the cuts more toward the back side of the front legs. This way you know that when you look at the finished mount from the front, there will be less of a chance to see the sewing.

    Last year, my wife shot a bear with a really nice "V" flashing on it's chest. After we got this bear, I knew it would be a great candidate for a half life size mount. I skinned that bear by making the main vertical body incision to stop about 8 inches short of where I would normally stop that cut on a different bear. The purpose for stopping shorter was so that I didn't have to split the "V" on his chest. Then I made the leg incisions on the front legs so that when you look at the bear from the front there is no chance of seeing any of the sewing that the taxidermist had to make. The point I am trying to make is that since I had made a decision for a mount, I altered my normal skinning routine to make a better finished mount out of this specific bear.

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    Default thanks, and exactly...?

    Brent: Good points. Now, when you say "sternum", that is a big body part. Where the clavicles meet the sternum, or 4" below that? Thanks.

  6. #6
    Member BrentC's Avatar
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    I like to place the bear on it's back with the front legs up at a 90* angle. I make the cut from the chest directly horizontal to the elbow, and then straight up to the middle of the pad.

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    Default OK

    I'll (hopefully) be able to eye-ball that and compare to where I usually go, which may be a tad higher. j

  8. #8

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    now I'm new to Alaska hunting so be gentle, but is this something you would have to do right away? most of the trips we plan on taking are DIY and packing in 50lbs of salt seems like a hassle. Is this something you could do after hauling the animal back to civilization or does it need to be done right away?

  9. #9
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    Default minimum

    From a guide I asked about this: "If you take about 20 lbs for the lips, claws, ears, face, etc, and flesh it real well, you can get by for several days if you are lucky enough to have dry weather. All depends on temps, rain." Sure it is a hassle, but so is losing the hide of an animal you may never shoot again. Good luck.

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    Great videos...very informative and clear. Thanks so much.

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    Default where to get the salt?

    I live in Fairbanks and I'm new to the area. Where is the best place to find the fine grit salt in that quantity?
    I also have never caped an animal for taxidermy, how do you lip and claw the animal for a rug? So can anybody help a greenhorn out so I don't mess it up?!!

  12. #12
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    Default Sam's

    Sam's Club; table salt in 25 lb bags. Skinning; hard to describe, better to show. Basically, root around in the claws, skinning flesh from bone, until there is no more bone, then cut off. You may think you are done quickly, but you'll likely have one more joint to do. Use a small, sharp, pointed knife. The lips: hold between your fingers and thumb; fillet them in half, obviously from the flesh side out to the edge. This is not the recommended way to operate a sharp knife, cutting between your fingers and right at your palm, so be mindful of YOUR flesh, and open the lip now and then so you don't cut too far. Ears; cut off the cartilage near the skull. Stick a ruler-type stick into the ear from the outside and start turning the ear inside out. Peel and skin close to the cartilage until you are near the tip of the ear; do not go into the ear like a bee would do. I hope that helps, and maybe others have critiques or additions. Some of the meat processing places will have animals around now and then; you can get a coat or cow hide and flesh, etc. Great practice. Good luck. john

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by jklingel View Post
    Ears; cut off the cartilage near the skull. Stick a ruler-type stick into the ear from the outside and start turning the ear inside out. Peel and skin close to the cartilage until you are near the tip of the ear; do not go into the ear like a bee would do.

    Thank you! I have had several people try to explain this to me, but somehow I could never envision it. Now I can!

    ...now to see if I can actually DO it...

  14. #14
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    Default Thanks Jklingel!

    Thanks to both questions! Great explanation and a lot of help!!

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