On a fly in caribou trip to OTZ how do you best keep the capes in good shape for the taxidermist? Should we salt them as soon as they are skinned or what should be done? What about a wolf hide?
If you know how to properly flesh a cape, turn the ears and nose and split the lips you can get away with no salt for a few days if you have to. Even if you salt right away it won't do much good if you don't flesh and turn properly. The capes have to be kept dry as well.
I agree with Chisana on this; you have to know what you're doing. You might want to contact a local taxidermist and see if they'll let you hang out at the shop a while during fleshing operations. The best way I know to learn this stuff (it's not hard to do) is to watch and practice.
I'd recommend learning how to flesh a hide, split lips, turn ears, split noses and split eyelids. For bears you're going to have to turn toes too.
Because it's impossible to tell what the weather will be on your hunt, it's best to bring the tools and salt and plan on fleshing in the field. It's a good skill to have in your bag of tricks and you'll use it many times.
I've been holding off on seeking information on this subject simply because I have got so many other things going right now, but I may as well ask while the topic is being discussed...any suggestions for reading materials on the subject? I know "seeing and doing" would be the best way to learn, but I don't have access to that at the moment and I would like to have a heads up on the "know how" before I get the opportunity to "see and do."
there are some good videos available on ebay that show a couple "tricks" expecially around the eyes and lips......but it's basically common sense
the mistake you'll probably make most at first is being too cautious.......
a cape/hide does not need to be truly "fleshed" prior to salting........salt will keep hair from slipping even if there is some meat or fat still on it........the figure I hear referenced most often is 1/4" thickness and that is quite a bit........
a GOOD skinning job followed by a little touchup will get you there........then some attention to the ears and lips.......toes for bears
If you can watch somebody do it that's great........or watch a decent video.......then go for it!!
remember, salt is heavy and on weight restricted hunts it is going to be tough. In talking with my taxidermist, he told me that you need a lot to make sure it is good and probably more than you can carry on that type of hunt. Coooool, and dry is the ticket. I should be cool up there that time of year. I talked to some that didn't bring any and were fine.
We used TTC, Taxidermy Trophy Care, it is a salt subsitute that works very good and is a fraction of the weight, 1 quart for a moose cape, VS 15lbs of salt. My Taxidermist liked the results from it also, didnt dry things out completely so he could touch up some of the areas around ears, nose etc.
I beleive Wiggys in ANC sells it and Pristine ventures in Fairbanks.
Do some searching for taxidermy videos, or check your library to see if they can get videos, or practice on a deer cape, you will find out it is not that difficult. The main thing to remember is get all red meat off, keep it dry and cool. Good Luck
Alaska Raw Fur Co. in Fairbanks down near the boat shop # 479-2462 has a free video on fur handling including skinning, fleshing, turning ears, lips, etc... It is geared mainly toward furbearers but im sure that the same skills could be used in caping im guessing its basically the same. Justa thought.