Coon Tail

Submitted by Casey on 2/7/05 at 1:02 AM. ( )

I have a question about keeping the tail of a raccoon. I am not an experienced hunter but shot and killed a coon living in my attic. Before getting rid of it I cut off the tail to keep but don't know how to preserve it. I appriciate any help.

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Well Casey

This response submitted by Little Al on 2/7/05 at 2:14 PM. ( )

You sure can't leave that tail as is . It's gonna get real stinky. I hope you've frozen it for the time being. I assume you are not a taxidermist, right? If you really want to try it yourself I'll help you give it a go. First you're gonna have to skin it out. Get yerself a real sharp knife or try a single edge razor. On the bottom side make an incision the entire length, right to the tip. Work the skin off. When you get the meaty bone out you will be left with a greasy hide. All that grease and fat has to be removed. I would do it with my wire wheel (mounted to an electric motor in a box with a plexiglass top I look thru), but you prolly don't have one. You can try carefully shaving it off with your razor or "pinching" it off with a sharp pair of scissors, but it ain't gonna be quick or easy. When the fat is properly removed the hide should have a uniform bluish color. If you get that far successfully then wash it well in lukewarm water with Dawn dish washing detergent and rinse in cool water. Now press it between some towels and then blow it dry. At this point you can tack it out on a board and salt the skin heavily. Prop the board at an angle cause the salt is going to draw the moisture out of the skin. You need to let that run off. Put it in a cool dry place. In a day or two shake out the salt and salt again. Leave it until it's good and dry. As long as it's kept dry it will keep like that for a long time, but now you just have a stiff dry tail. If you want it to last and be pliable your going to have to tan it into leather. My best advice to you about that is to search this site for taxidermy suppliers and order a home tanning kit. It may be more of a project than you have bargained for but if you really have an interest go for it and have fun in the learning!

Little Al

This response submitted by Casey on 2/7/05 at 5:09 PM. ( )

Thanks so much for the advice. It seems like a lengthy process but I think I'll give it a try.

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