I have just picked up a grey fox in the road this morning he is pretty stiff. I plan to skin later today, can some one give me a quick and dirty skinning lesson? I have a pretty good idea, but would like some reassurance. I am going to tan the hide, I would like to skin as close to taxidermy quality as I can because it is a good practice animal, its head has been hit pretty hard. I have searched the archives for a quick lesson but i could not find one.Where to start and where to end would be a great help.
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Make sure it is legal in your state to possess this fox. In many states you simply can not just pick up roadkill, especially if the season for that species is closed.
Unless of course you live in da south, then enjoy the meal (just kidding John C).
About skinning, if the head is damaged and you want to just tan this hide to hand on your wall, skin it like the trappers. That is case skin it. Split it from back heel to heel, avoiding the vent.
Then with your hands and fingers pull the hide off. For the tail, you can pull it out using a pliars and forcing the tail of its bone. Afterwards you can split it with an envelope opener (one of those things with a built in razor blade).
Carefully skin around the face, ear canals will be tough on your 1st one, but feel them with your fingers and cut down as close to the skull as you can get.
Now lay it out in your freezer to begin freezing, as it gets cold, you can fold it and bag it. Now that its in the freezer go to your library of book store and find a book on taxidermy or tanning. There are lots of them out there.
Second option and probably the best, is freeze the fox whole, then go get your book, and skin the fox and reading how do. The above basics are always easier to follow with pictures or drawings and in my haste to answer this befor JOHN C, I might have left something out.
use a doral cut cutting down the center of the back one long cut, just work it loose as yougo down the back legs. For the tail work it loose a couple of inches, now using screw driversplace them in your fist in a way thatthey are also against the unskinned portion of the tail. You are going to pull this gently but firmly, and the tail
carcas will slide out of the tail skin. Now work down to the feet and just carefull cut the material that connects the skin to the body. Sometimes you may need to split the forleg to remove the foot. When you get to the head stick your finger down the ear canel, so you know where to cut the ear loose at the bade of the skull, you want to leave the muscle at the ear base and remove them later,do the same withthe eyes and mouth, if you do it correctly you will will leave a lot of flesh. this fleash will be removed on the turning and fleshing process. John C
P.S. this is once example why questions should be properly titled. I know this has been post, but the title is wrong and search would not pick it up.
I have already checked to see if this animal is legal and it is. I have a tanning kit form Vandykes that I have been saving for this occassion. I have read that with a fox it is important to skin relitivley quickly to prevent hair slippage. How long do you think I could leave it in the freezer before tanning, and what do you mean when you say becareful of the vent. I think I know what you are talking about but if you could clarify that would be great. It is a shame that this animal has been hit in the head because a grey fox is rather hard to come by in this area.
If you already have the kit, you only need to freeze it until you read the directions the kit provided and are ready to proceed. The point is, as excited as you are to begin, you still need to be prepared. Has you said, its been a wait for a hard to get item. Why risk causing it further harm, until you are ready.
Find a book on skinning, maybe even search the web for trappers sites, they might provide step by step instruction on skinning, which ever method you choose.
After it's skinned and you are prepared to proceed, you need to do many things, turn the ears, split the lips and eyes, then salt it for 24 hrs, allowing it to drain. Next day shake off dirty salt and apply a coat of fresh salt. Third day shake off the salt again, then hang it up to dry. Let it completely dry (sets the hair).
Now you can follow the instructions in your kit, rehydrate, pickle, thin (shave), repickle, neutralize, tan, tumble, then hang on the wall.
To John: Couldn't resist the sight of you drinking Red White and Blue whiling chewing on fresh fried fox (LOL)
Thanks again. I understand that it is a time cunsumming proces to get a quality finish, and as you said I am excited to get started. Your tips have given me the confidence that I needed.
Make sure that you wear some type of latex gloves. You can get them at just about any drug store. Foxes are one of many animals that carry all kinds of diseases(rabbies,distemper,etc. etc).I'm sure that you dont want to get any of that.It's a good idea to wear gloves for any and all animals.