View Full Version : Hey Terra - guess what I did!
05-09-2010, 09:13 PM
Thanks to your encouragement Terra ... today I skinned a fox! I was ridiculously proud of myself & horrified at the same time.
Long story short ... I came across a sick fox this morning & called my neighbour to come up & shoot it. When it was dead, it sort of occurred to me that the gods had been reading the PC forum & had offered me this opportunity to put my money where my mouth is & have a go.
Alf (neighbour) assured me it wasn't worth my while ... he was only a little fox & he had a few scars on his hide & he didn't have a really luxurious pelt anyway being the end of winter & all.
I thought it over & decided it was better to learn on a fox that it wasn't a great heartbreak if I stuffed it up than wait till I got a beauty & have tears over spilt milk. So I googled "skin fox" & found enough info to have a go.
The first bit went really well ... not a scrap of flesh left on the pelt, no nicks, everything good. Then I got to his chest & discovered Alf had shot him from above between his shoulder blades through his heart. (The fox was in a tight spot & we didn't feel like crawling through the tick & leech infested scrub after him if he moved away, so it was that or nothing.) Anyway, the point is that when I got to that bit there was blood under the skin which obscured my ability to see what I was doing & it kinda turned to shit from there. Because I couldn't see very well, I ended up nicking just about every artery the google results said to avoid & it kinda turned into a blood bath. In the end, the shoulders bit of the pelt had so much flesh left on it it was kinda hard to tell if it was a pelt with flesh left on or something you should throw on the barbie with a bit of fur sticking to it!
I got a bit disillusioned at this point & decided I wasn't up to attempting the ears, eyes & lips which sounded kinda complicated ... & I was pretty sure I didn't wanna have to cut off his nose ... so I called it a day & was satisfied with finishing the pelt at the base of his skull.
It was pretty weird, but nothing like as weird as I thought it would be. I didn't even attempt to get the brains for tanning ... I think that was for next time also.
So Terra ... thanks to you ... I've now managed to cross that psychological barrier. All by myself - with a bit of encouragement from you :)
05-09-2010, 09:20 PM
Don't view if you would be upset by a photo of a skinned fox!
05-09-2010, 11:07 PM
Wicked! Awesomely impressed.
05-09-2010, 11:17 PM
I just talked to Miss 17 on the phone & told her about it.
She was disgusted I didn't take the fox home & nurse it back to health ... & it's not that long ago I would have!!!
Looking at the photos now ... I can't believe I actually did that! Yuk!
And thanks to Kimbo ... I was humming the theme tune to Daniel Boone the whole time ... I've been humming the bloody thing since he posted that response!
But my line will have to be "From the fox skin cap on the top of ol Hel to the heel of her Ariat boots"
06-09-2010, 12:23 AM
Seriously impressed, will sign off now before I propose marriage
06-09-2010, 07:13 PM
Thanks for the encouragement eco & Rob.
Rob - you should probably save that for a girl who can do something useful - like skin something you can eat!
It's a sweet compliment though :)
06-09-2010, 10:33 PM
You got enough to make a hat , now did you roll the tail off the bone or split the skin (nit Picking) . We shot and skinned a lot of foxes in the 70s and 80s (showing age now) had to protect lambing ewes . These days its more common to bait them however i think a bullet is far better than a bait death for the poor b_____s , around here though there is too much cover to effectivly shoot them . Now if you can get some rabbits your dogs will love you .
07-09-2010, 07:23 AM
Hi Terra ...
I case skinned him. With the tail .... I split the skin from his bum down about one & a half inches & then pulled it down as per the internet instructions. I was just thinking "this is easy ... I wonder what all the fuss is about" (I had seen adds for special tail skinning tools & lots of argument about methods etc) when it broke! :( The last inch or so was left pathetically clinging to his poor nude little tail! I ended up getting it off without much hassle & stitched it back on to the rest of the tail.
When the skin was off I cut it up the belly so it could lay flat. I'd seen methods on the net of keeping it whole & putting it over that white plastic pipe stuff you use for plumbing ... but it looked a bit fussy & I wanted a flat skin in the end so couldn't see the point.
Now the confusing bit started ... I'd read so many opinions on the fleshing/salting/rolling/freezing/tanning process on the internet that my head was swimming. To make matters worse - everyone suddenly had an opinion. Alf told me one thing, another neighbour told me another, & that night my Mum rang (she's 81) & told me her recollections of her father, who fed the family & made some extra dollars during the depression with rabbits & foxes. Her brother who's 85 still likes to wind her up by telling people "we were reared on rabbits" which for some reason mortifies Mum. There must be some stigma attached to it that I don't have fathom?
Lots of stuff I read said Don't Salt Furs & don't roll them up & some say to salt them. All the real life people told me to do it. So far I've:
fleshed it as best I can
stitched up the bullet holes
pegged it out
I really would have liked to tan it with the brains, but I can't get my head around that yet. So I've googled wattle bark recipes as recommended by Mum & I'm planning on doing that today. I have no idea if it's going to turn out anything like I hoped, but I've accepted that this is a learning curve & at least I'll learn what not to do if it all fails miserably.
The closest rabbits are about half an hour closer to the coast from here. Foxes are very rare out here too due to the lack of rabbits & the presence of wild dogs. A neighbour has 1080 out & that was why I called Alf to shoot the fox - I couldn't stand around & let anything die like that. I don't know if it had taken a bait or not, but it obviously had big problems to be acting the way it was poor little bugger. Anyway, he's in a better place now & his memory lives on in his hide - which is nailed to the shed!
(Not really - it's stretched out on 2 broccoli box lids but the shed sounds more romantic & is more traditional) :)
07-09-2010, 01:21 PM
Has anyone here used wattle bark to tan a hide? Anyone know the correct way to prepare it etc? I've read a lot of conflicting information on the net & would like to get it straight before I proceed.
07-09-2010, 10:31 PM
A simple tan is to mix carbsoda and kerosine to a runny glue consistancy and paint it on really thick , leave to dry a few days scrape off and repeat a couple of times , i have done sheep skins and a cow hide like this for floor mats . No good if skin can get wet as it has to be redone .
Had a sctatch around in my leather work books , there used to be simple kits you could buy but i couldnt remember name though . Found it there may be some still around or someone else might make it it was called "Leidreiters tanning method " mainly for light skins a google search provides some hits but i spotted a a home method recipe at this link
Batteryacid , salt , and water sounds pretty simple
Might be something in Ron Edwards books he has a few brilliant books on bushman skills and all manner of handy things you can make out of stuff lying around . Go with the natural tanning be good fun worst case senario is youll need to skin more foxes .
Skinning the tail is a experience "Feel" thing i havnt done one for years so would probably stuff a few up untill it came back i only used two bits of 3/8 steel rod about 6 inches long they sort of roll in your hands if you get the speed and pressure right the tail comes of perfect or not .
08-09-2010, 07:01 AM
I saw the battery acid one at Bowhunter but I'm a bit "challenged" in some areas (I always seem to end up with whatever I'm working with all over me!) & thought that recipe sounded like its best left for someone else. That's part of the reason I'm always looking for natural methods for everything - I can't count the amount of times I've ended up with heavy duty drench/dip/pour-on/herbicide/pesticides on me & I'm certain I have health problems as a result. (So I don't need holes in me as well! :))
Carbsoda & Kerosene doesn't sound too deadly ... I take it that's the common household Bicarb Soda? I have both those things here now ... I could do that one.
I went & stripped a heap of wattlebark yesterday & was going to brew it up today ... but I'm a bit hesitant to immerse the skin in liquid for a couple of weeks? Is that good for the hair? Does the hair really come out OK from the solutions you make into a bath & leave them in?
Thanks for your ongoing help.
08-09-2010, 06:30 PM
I hope you got this right Rob cause it's on now :)
Fox skin pinned out & salted. No, the pegs aren't to make his tail look purdy ... they're to keep the flesh side exposed so it can dry :)
Skin slathered with bicarb soda & kero
11-09-2010, 09:13 PM
Skin looks great in the photos , it should be fine .
13-09-2010, 01:49 AM
im tanning cattle hides at the moment
salt hide copiusly dry properly
im using oak bark wattle bark great ,lawton was using percimmon skin (middle eastern recipie)
make strong tea pour on hide
goodluck how are my sheep?
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