Results 1 to 15 of 15

Thread: How to cape an animal

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Outta Big Lake
    Posts
    1,633

    Default How to cape an animal

    How do you do it? I doubt I will ever have money to do a shoulder mount, but I have an uncle comming up and he might be here for hunting season...and he is...umm...well off, so it would be nice to know how to do a cape.

    So, whats the details?

  2. #2
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Fairbanks Area
    Posts
    7,274

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FurFishGame View Post
    How do you do it? I doubt I will ever have money to do a shoulder mount, but I have an uncle comming up and he might be here for hunting season...and he is...umm...well off, so it would be nice to know how to do a cape.

    So, whats the details?
    How to cape and care for it afterwards would take a lot of typing and is one of those things that is best learned hands on. This video is a great referance and would be a great start.

    http://www.outdoorsdirectory.com/sto...roducts_id=288

    Steve
    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"
    Founding Member
    http://www.residenthuntersofalaska.org/

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Outta Big Lake
    Posts
    1,633

    Default

    I was hoping somebody that knows how to use these new 'puters would show where to make cuts on a moose.

  4. #4
    Member AK Troutbum's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Chugiak, AK.
    Posts
    1,527

    Default

    Like most things it's a lot easier said than done, but still not too hard to do. Start by going around the animal behind the front legs (I like to make sure that I get plenty of cape), then skin up towards the head. You can split the cape along the back of the neck right up to the antlers/horns then around them keeping all the hair hide attached to the cape, try not to leave any on the rack. You can then continue in that manner all the way to the mouth, like peeling off a mask, or you can stop there (at the antlers) and start at the mouth/lips and skin the cape off that way (like turning the head inside out starting at the mouth). I think the most important thing to pay attention to when doing it for the 1st time is not slicing the skin, although this does happen and as long as it's not too extensive is usually not too hard to repair by a quality taxi. Pay particular attention around the eyes as it is easy to mess up there. If you can get the cape into the taxi in short order you shouldn't have to worry about turning the lips and ears. I would suggest doing it this way, then the taxi can show you how to do that. After you have the cape off, try and scrape/cut as much of the fat off of it as possible and then salt it, roll it/fold it up skin side together and keep it in a cool/shaded dry place until taking it in.

  5. #5
    Member AK Troutbum's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Chugiak, AK.
    Posts
    1,527

    Default

    I am by no means an expert at this, so if anyone has better ways of doing things, please chime in.

  6. #6
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Fairbanks Area
    Posts
    7,274

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FurFishGame View Post
    I was hoping somebody that knows how to use these new 'puters would show where to make cuts on a moose.
    Moose, Caribou, deer they are all the same. Some just bigger than others. That video I linked to is a great reference. Here are some photos that may help. As said make your first cut well behind the should, better to have too much hide as not enough. Next cut straight along the backbone and stop about 5 inches or so from the antlers. You can either cut down the back side of the legs or skin them out like socks, that is what I do. Cut off the head making sure to not cut the back of the skull off if you want to use the skull. I move the head up and down to feel for the joint.

    The head and cape should be free now, back at camp from the cut you made along the back make a Y cut up to the base of each antler. I then alternate working both from the antlers and from the mouth. I open the lips and cut just above the teeth, keep cutting and working your way back. Make very sure to not cut through the tear ducts and leave plenty of eye lid. Also use your fingers to feel where the ears attach to the skull and not cut through the ear or it will show or have to be fixed.

    Two tools will make this ton easier, A Havalon scalpel and a utility knife with a roofing blade.









    Steve
    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"
    Founding Member
    http://www.residenthuntersofalaska.org/

  7. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Outta Big Lake
    Posts
    1,633

    Default

    Thanks guys!

  8. #8
    Member ninefoot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    alaska, all over the state
    Posts
    986

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FurFishGame View Post
    Thanks guys!

    troutbum and stid gotcha all squared away quite well...the only thing i'd add or put more emphasis on is makeing sure not to cut the eye holes bigger(this is the biggest mistake i've seen people make) also: remember on a caribou especially...the tear ducts (i guess is what they would be) at the bottom inside corner of the eye are really DEEP and its easy to cut the bottom out of them if your not carefull...sheep, moose, sitka deer and bear do not have very deep ones...caribou DO, so remember this when caping them. also remember to take special care around the edges of the horns themselves...can be tedious, depending how much horn is in the way.

    i'm likeing my havalon just fine, but i've found i havent lost the need for a good stiff caping blade such as the one from knives of alaska (the cub i think...cant remember all there names) good call on the roofing blade stid...i've use a box cutter blade lots before the havalons came out, mainly for poppin feet/turning lips ears nose...never tried a roofing blade though.

  9. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    3,246

    Default

    Here is a few thing have learn throught the years.


    Moose skinning equipment and notes:

    When a moose hunter has to skin, gut and cut up a moose it can be a major problem if he is not prepared for the task. Just trying to hold up one leg can be a challenge with out help and trying to pull out 100 + pounds of guts is more fun than most people want in a day. Cutting up a moose can take 2 to 5 hrs depending on the size of the moose, your level of experience and the number of helpers. Knowing a few tricks can save you a lot of work I hope you find my information helpful.

    Field dressing equipment:

    Over the years I have been adding to a list of items I take when I go moose hunting. I do not carry everything on the list; I pick the items I need depending on method of hunting and number of hunters. I knew a hunter that could field dress a moose with only a knife so it can be done if you know what you’re doing. If I have someone to help hold the animal all I would need is a knife, sharpening stone and a saw.

    Knife and sharpening stone or steel, you only need a 4 to 7 inch knife to process an animal. If you want to save
    the hide, a skinning knife will put fewer holes in the hide.

    14” Carpenter saw, is the best saw I have found for cutting up a moose in the field. Hunter who do not want to spent the time using a hand saw are using battery power Sawzall where is less bone splinters in the meat and you do not need to worry about the oil you use. For the average hunter I do not recommend using a hand ax because of safety reason.

    String to tie off the penis and anus.

    9 Game bags, 6 large and 3 small ones. On extended hunting trip removing and washing blood soaked bags is
    essential to keep the meat from going bad. TAG game bags are the best bags for washing and drying in the
    field. I use heavy cotton bags.

    3 pairs of Gloves and rubber bands. The rubber bands help keep bugs out.

    Light 1/8 inch rope 50 feet, to help tie back legs while skinning.

    4ea., locking strap, one person can lift a moose hind quarter ham with one hand. The locking strap can also be used to tie meat to a backpack. http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v225/Berticevich/100_0961.jpg.

    Tarp, >8x8, to keep the meat clean and protect the meat from rain and the sun.

    Come-a-long and 50 feet of rope.

    Headlamp and extra battery.

    Hand soap.

    Chain-saw, for cutting brush and quartering a moose (use vegetable oil)

    Insect repellent

    2 Candy bars

    Surveyor tape

    Head net

    Back Brace.

    Water to drink

    Fish j-hook, for pulling back the hide, or cut holes for fingers to pull back the hide.

    Citric Acid and a spray bottle.

    Golden Malrin fly bait and plastic bag for fly trap. The reason I carry a fly trap is in Alaska in hot weather it is possible to have your meat bags covered with thousands of flies. I knew of one person who had to bury their caribou meat under the tundra to keep the flies from getting to the meat, they can be a real problem.

    Golden Malrin fly bait is a poison that kills flies with extreme prejudice, if you know how to use it. The first and only time I used Golden Malrin on a moose hunt, I did not know what I was doing and it did not work. Like any trap you need good bait, flies are attracted to rotting meat. I was using meat scraps and it takes time for the meat to rot, what I should have been using was blood. The reason for the plastic is three fold, one you need to keep the blood wet so it will not dry out. The warmer the blood the more smell and you will need to remove the poison and the bag full of flies.

    When I’m processing fish and moose in my yard, there are a lot of flies trying to get on my meat. After I set my trap all the flies start dying, I will literally have dead flies all over the ground.

    I still carry my fly trap hunting and hope I never have to use it. You can buy Golden Malrin at Alaska Mill Feed and Seed. It only takes a ½ teaspoon per trap.



    I use a zipper bag for small items, and I know I have everything I need in one bag. Another advantage in having a bag is it gives you a place to put items so you do not loose them. I also flag everything I can.


    Notes:

    A moose is a very large animal; a single hind quarter could weigh 200#. I weighed and measured a 3 year old bull moose ham it was 105#, 20 inches wide, 52 inches long and 10 inches thick, this was not a large animal. Manhandling an animal under all conditions and having meat fit to eat takes a lot of effort and experience. There are several videos and pamphlets on the care of game meat. I recommend you learn everything you can before that special day. Having the right equipment will make the job easier.


    Skinning a moose:

    If you want to save the hide to sell or make a head mount I suggest you talk to you’re taxidermists for the proper method and amount of salt.
    1. The first thing I do when skinning a moose or caribou is to tie off the penis and remove the skin leaving the penis attached to the ham. The second thing I do is to cut around the anus and tie it off with string. The reason I do this is because this area can be very nasty and the possibility of contaminations is high. After I have finished working on the back end I wash my knife and hands or put on new gloves. I have also found if I start skinning a leg first, I will be tired and do a poor job when it comes to the butt end.

    2. The next thing I do is to make a cut from the butt to the neck and up and around each leg. On a moose the hide is very tuff and can dull a knife. For this reason I carry a 2nd knife, or I sharpen the one I’m using. Cut the skin from the underside out to avoid getting hair on the meat. If your wanting to make a mount you need to cut the hide along the back bone.

    3. When skinning an animal your hands become contaminated from touching the hair, do not touch the meat until you have removed your glove or wash your hands.

    I have a problem with leaving the hide on a moose or caribou. Let see all the problems cause by leaving the hide on.

    1. Bull moose/caribou hair is cover in pee, how is it possible to keep the hair from the meat. Every thing the hair touches will be cover in pee, tarps, ATV, boat, you.
    2. You must cool the meat as soon as possible to keep it from going bad and have high quality meat. Leaving the hide on will prevent this.
    3. You add a lot more weight to your load.
    4. Removing the hide after the animal is cold is a lot harder.
    5. If you have the proper equipment and learn how to take proper care of the meat you would never need to leave the hide on.


    4. Once you have removed the hide from one side of the animal you need to decide on how you want to butcher the animal.

    I prefer not to deal with the guts, if you have no choice you have to be very careful not to cut them. If you take the two fingers next to the thumb and make a “V” and use them to hold the guts down; place the knife between them (blade pointing up) you can cut the skin with out cutting the stomach. Be very careful or you will be sorry.

    Four Methods of butchering:

    1. I personally do not like deboning the animal because you lose too much meat to spoilage and waste.

    2. The best way to keep game meat in warm or wet weather is on the bone. For several years I would bring out the whole moose in 4 pieces. After skinning and gutting, I would split the moose in half at the third rib. I would then saw the back bone in half making a total of 4 quarters. This was the only method I used on over 10 moose. Most of these were solo hunts, how I was able to this by myself tells me I was a very motivated person when I was younger.


    3. There is another way you can cut up a moose and still keep the meat on the bone for transport and hanging; and the pieces will be a lot smaller. After skinning and gutting the moose you will end up with 8 pieces.
    Four legs.
    Neck; the meat is left on the neck and is cut off just below the head and above the rib cage.
    Ribs; the brisk is split in half and the ribs were removed next to the back bone.
    Backbone; cut the back bone off above the back strap. You will have a single piece with both back straps and both tender loins attach to the back bone.

    4. The method I prefer is called “flaying”, you do not have to remove the guts.
    After skinning half the moose I remove a front leg and put it in a bag.
    I debone the neck and I put the meat in a separate bag. The reason I do this is neck meat in a rutting bull can contaminate the other meat.

    Next I remove the ribs. If you want to keep the ribs and meat together, using a small sharp knife or saw you can remove the ribs by cutting the joints at the top and bottom of the ribs or you can debone them. The best way I have found to debone the ribs is to remove “all” the meat in one piece. Yes it can be done and it is very easy to do on a moose.

    I start at the bottom rib, let’s call it #12.
    The first Cut is along the length of the rib.
    Then cut under the meat next to the top of the rib, separating the meat from the top and then cut down the opposite side. You will also need to cut along each end of the rib freeing up the meat. The 12th rib is now clean of meat. Holding the meat up cut under the length of 11th rib and down the opposite side removing the meat. Then cut along the ends of the rib. Continue process for rib’s #10, #9, etc.

    If you roll the meat into a log it will help keep it clean.

    You now can remove the back leg and put it in a bag.
    Don’t forget the back strap and tenderloin and make sure they are put in a separate bag.
    You now have to roll the moose over, lifting one leg you roll the moose over guts and all, it’s that easy.
    Continue removing the front leg, neck meat, ribs, back leg, back-strap and tenderloin. If you want the liver and heart this would be a good time to get them, and don’t forget the tongue. The neck meat on a big bull will be very strong, it can contaminate the other meat. I always put it in its own bag and keep it separated.

    I process all my game meat for several reasons, the most important is I end up with the highest quality game meat, and it really is not that hard.

    I want to say one last thing about caring for moose meat. Moose will cover themselves in Urine to help attract the cows, its very important to keep all the hair away from the meat.



  10. #10
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Posts
    5,767

    Default Suggestions on caping and skinning

    Larry Bartlett's video (linked earlier) does a great job of showing this process in detail. It's very difficult to describe in print, but video is the next best thing to actually being there. The only things I think they might have missed in the Wilderness Taxidermy video is splitting the eyelids (done essentially the same way you split the lips), and splitting the dewlap on your moose. It's easy to miss the dewlap because it lies under the cape once you've removed the cape from the carcass, so if you're not paying attention you can forget it and then the hair will slip on it and you'll lose most of the dewlap.

    Splitting eyelids might be overkill in some situations, but you should know how it's done. Few things look as goofy as a mount with no eyelashes...

    Other than the video, I strongly suggest a visit to your taxidermist! If you can get to Anchorage, you might give Russell Knight a call... he owns Knight's Taxidermy, and he has always been agreeable to letting folks come in and see how it's done. You will learn more in an afternoon there than you will in weeks reading our comments here...

    Of course the best thing is to just do it. Get with someone who knows how, and learn from them. Make sure they know how; lots of guys THINK they know how, but then when you get a critter on the ground at their feet, you find out they are not experienced. Learn by doing!

    Hope it helps!

    -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

  11. #11
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Outta Big Lake
    Posts
    1,633

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    Larry Bartlett's video (linked earlier) does a great job of showing this process in detail. It's very difficult to describe in print, but video is the next best thing to actually being there. The only things I think they might have missed in the Wilderness Taxidermy video is splitting the eyelids (done essentially the same way you split the lips), and splitting the dewlap on your moose. It's easy to miss the dewlap because it lies under the cape once you've removed the cape from the carcass, so if you're not paying attention you can forget it and then the hair will slip on it and you'll lose most of the dewlap.

    Splitting eyelids might be overkill in some situations, but you should know how it's done. Few things look as goofy as a mount with no eyelashes...

    Other than the video, I strongly suggest a visit to your taxidermist! If you can get to Anchorage, you might give Russell Knight a call... he owns Knight's Taxidermy, and he has always been agreeable to letting folks come in and see how it's done. You will learn more in an afternoon there than you will in weeks reading our comments here...

    Of course the best thing is to just do it. Get with someone who knows how, and learn from them. Make sure they know how; lots of guys THINK they know how, but then when you get a critter on the ground at their feet, you find out they are not experienced. Learn by doing!

    Hope it helps!

    -Mike
    My neighbor is actually a taxidermest, I should give him a ring. he hasn't done big game in years, but I doubt its something you forget to easily!

  12. #12
    Member AKDoug's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Talkeetna
    Posts
    5,714

    Default

    Best thing you can do is convince him he needs to do a European skull mount. Just whack the head off and bring it home
    Bunny Boots and Bearcats: Utility Sled Mayhem

  13. #13
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    3,246

    Default

    Sorry,I mis read I thought you ment cut up the animal (buchering), not caping.

  14. #14
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Outta Big Lake
    Posts
    1,633

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rutting Moose View Post
    Sorry,I mis read I thought you ment cut up the animal (buchering), not caping.
    Hey man, no problem, can't ever get to much advise!

    I like your way of skinning it, I was taught on deer down in oregon, and we usualy just gutted it then hung it up to skin it. After 5 moose, we have learned that starting on the back leg isn't the best idea, unless you want a work out or its a small moose

    Thanks everybody!

  15. #15
    Member Roland on the River's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    1,690

    Default

    RUTTING MOOSE, I will vote to give you a rep. point. what a great writeup. That took a lot of time to type so I'm sure a lot of members will be using your method.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •