Just curious if you shoot fur bearers, is there a time frame in which you need to get the pelt off the critter before it goes bad? i.e. Can you let a wolf freeze solid for several days after shooting it?
Yes you can, but once it has been skinned you can get freezer burn on the leather. I usually skin my critters within a day or 2, so maybe someone who freezes them for a longer time can tell you how long is too long.
We froze a fox for about 4months until we could get around to it, It came out fine....But we try to skin them out within about two weeks of the catch. They sit in the freezer until then. Don't risk leaving your furs outside to freeze, they don't get cold quick enough and mice love dead critters!
First a direct answer to your question from my experience, then I'll go off on a tangent- ha.
A critter is easiest to skin when its just killed. With wolves, fox, etc. if you just cannot do it right away, but the animal is not frozen, you might consider gutting it. This will prevent the bacteria in the gut from reaching "critical mass" and causing "green belly" on the pelt.
Then just hang it in you meat shed away from the rodents til you can thaw it and skin it.
If its out in the shed frozen for 4 months like Huntress said, the paws and lips get dry and hard to deal with.
I kind of hate to admit this, but maybe someone can benefit from my experience-
I skinned two otters, did not flesh them, wrapped them in plastic, and put them in the freezer.
Not being one to rush into things, 3 YEARS later I took them out, and of course there was a lot of freezer burn.
I soaked them in some stuff I got from the taxidermy store- I think it was Rittel's UltraSoft? They use it for rehydrating pelts from Africa, etc. (You've probably heard how long it can be getting those back.)
So I figured that would be my best shot at saving these pelts.
It seemed to work pretty good. After soaking according to the instructions, it seemed quite soft and supple, so I fleshed and stretched it. The tail was a little stiff though.
Hope this helps. HH
Yes you can leave a whole wolf frozen for a long time and it will be fine. I have had wolves frozen for 3 months before I thawed and skinned them. Alot of wolves are caught in snares and are frozen solid, so I usually get to them when I have time. I have stored just the hides in the freezer for over a year also. I don't like to do this as sometimes if you don't wrap them up right, they will freezer burn, but it usually doesn't hurt a whole lot. I've had marten in my freezer for over a year and skinned and they were fine.