Skunk Skinning.............Smell Free???????

Submitted by Jeff M. on 11/18/99. ( )

Just got a skunk in. The big question is are there any ways to de-stink the critter for the skinning process. I shure would like to hear any good ideas on this. I would usally don protective clothing and a set of nose plugs, but if there is an easier way.............please share it with me...thanks
Jeff M.

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During trapping season we.

This response submitted by John C on 11/18/99. ( )

As a kid we tossed them in the creek for a couple of days. But the water was cold than a well diggers rearend. I have had luck completly dunking the critters is gasoline. All precautions apply. Once you do this latex gloves are totally useless. I was told that 3% hyrogenperoxide would take out the stink dont know if it works lets us know.


This response submitted by George Roof on 11/18/99. ( )

Depends if you are doing competition or commercial work. On commercial work, my skunks are "not anatomically correct". I encircle the anus with my scalpel and then take a strong cord and tie the duct off tightly. This way, no more surprises during the skinning. As for competition, grin and bear it.

The recipe John spoke of is 1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup of baking soda, and 1 teaspoon of Dawn dishwashing soap. Mix the batch and wash the hide to eliminate the odor. Once mixed, it has to be used and cannot be stored as it will quickly break down. There are also a couple of commercial products but I didn't find their effects "lasting" shall we say.

Hypodermic Needle

This response submitted by Keith Daniels on 11/18/99. ( )

Johns suggestion works great (except when the water comes up and you lose a fully prime broad stripe with no holes in it, I know, tie it off next time)

Get a hypodermic needle and a used medicine bottle with the rubber still on the top. There's a sack on each side of the vent, and with a little practice you can use the needle to drain them and inject it into the bottle with virtually no smell. Once they're empty, you can fairly safely skin over them right up to the edge of the hair line, don't go into the skin part, or you'll cut the openings, not a good thing. Once you have the whole sack area skinned off, get a hold on the edge of the vent skin with pliers and gently pull away from the carcass. Cut between the sack and the carcass and you'll cut right through the vent, separateing the scent bags and part of the intestine form the carcass intact. Now you can finish skinning without worry of puncturing or squeezing what's left in there, waiting to cause irrepairable harm to your social life!

Freeze 'Em, And Skin "Em As They Thaw!

This response submitted by John Bellucci on 11/19/99. ( )

Hi Jeff,

When I worked for other taxidermists in the past, the skinning of skunks always fell to "the kid" ... you know the "peon" ... otherwise called the "employee." I became very adept at skinning these little stinky beasties!

I have found the best way to handle a skunk, is to CAREFULLY lay it on a plastic bag in the freezer (chest type) and lay another bag over it ... just to help keep too much frost from forming on the eyes and such ... causes drying out of those features.

Give it a couple to three days or so to freeze solid. Take it out VERY EARLY the day you wish to skin it, or VERY LATE the night before. If taking it out the night before skinning, make sure to leave it wrapped in the plastic ... this will slow down the thawing.

As the little stinker thaws, begin skinning. You can start working the skin off with a case incision ... from one rear heel, up the back of the leg, up over the anus and under the tail, down to the heel of the opposite hind leg. Starting at the rear end will get you past the "business-end" first.

When I get to the middle of the back, I have wrapped off the skinned rear quarters in double plastic bags. This helps "contain" much of the "aroma!"

I have also dorsal-skinned these animals, removing the front end from the skin, leaving the rear end for last. I've had success with both methods.

The only thing about skinning the rear end first, is you must be aware not to bump that end or "handle" that end too much during skinning.

The advantage of the dorsal skinning method is, upon skinning the front end first, the rear portion remains within the skin, staying frozen longer.

In either method, I keep a bottle of Nilodor, odor reducer on hand.

You could probably also use that Skunk Deodorizer that is sold, but so far Nilodor has worked best. Before skinning begins, I liberally apply Nilodor to the scent glands. I apply it to them throughout the procedure as well. Also, after exposing the glands, I cover them with a piece of plastic. This way if there is any leakage, it will stay on the carcass.

Hope this has helped. Now take a deep breath, and get out there soldier! :)

All the best ... John B.

mine were easy...

This response submitted by Bill on 11/20/99. ( )

Some of these suggestions sound like they are hypothetical. I used to skin them under water when we still trapped them as kids. It does work, when in RUNNING water. I usually can skin them now by just being careful. I like to partially freeze them, too, but not in MY freezers!

When Freezing Them ... Handle With Care!

This response submitted by John Bellucci on 11/21/99. ( )

Hey Gents ...

That's why I suggested laying them on a plastic garbage bag. I should have added laying the skunk in the freezer "carefully" and "gently".

Man, I would never just drop one in a bag, tie it off and toss it in the freezer. That's just asking for an "explosion." Also, I require that the animal would have not already discharged it's weapon ... I have turned away the guys who've pulled up out front, and I can smell their "trophy" before they even exit their vehicle. No ... I would never take in a skunk that already has "unloaded!"

If handled gently, the smell in the freezer is no stronger than that of the musky scent of an otter or even some mink! Also, all of my suggestions are actual, and have been practiced by me. I've tried to perfect them over the years. Occasionally, an accident can occur, if you're not careful, but most of the time, working on a semi-frozen skunk is the most successful.

Good luck all ... John B.

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