I am new to playing with furs and am having a problem skinning ermines. The black tip of the tail wants to stay on the carcass! What is the proper way to do the tails and keep the black tipped end on the skin instead of having it remain on the carcass? I would appreciate any feedback.
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Get a 6 cc syringe and about a 25 gauge needle. Fill it with contact lens saline solution. Any saline solution will do though, even a salt:water mix in a cup next to you.
Skin little ermine, and split the tail with your scalpel, all the way down to very close to the black tail tip. Then stick the needle into the tail flesh/tailbone, and make sure the entire point is buried in the flesh. Cap off with your non-dominant hand thumb and forefinger, and push the plunger until you see the tail tip stick straight out.
Then grasp the tail bone in dominant hand, and loosely hold the black tail tip with non dominant hand. Gently "rock" the tail tip out.
Works like a CHARM with squirrels, who are famed for enjoying the ends of their tails too much, too!
You can also inject 'pickle' into the empty tail-end-sack when you begin the tanning process.
This is fine work. It is not for the clumsy. =)
WATCH OUT FOR THE ANAL GLANDS! Ermine stink as badly as skunk and mink!
I want to thank whoever sent the reply for the hints on saving the black tip on the ermine tails. I really do appreciate it. Haven't had the chance to use the advice but will definitely follow the directions.