Bear Feet

Submitted by Dan on 10/10/99. ( williamslmt@home.comI )

I have been doing taxidermy for about two years now, and finally got my first black bear. The customer did everything just fine but I am not sure how to finish skinning out the feet. He cut right down to the pad area and stopped, do I cut thru the pad or just turn it inside out and remove all the bone and flesh I can then send it to the tannery. I know even if I do cut the pad I still have to remove all the bone and meat I just want to do it right.
Thanks for any help you can give me. Dan
Also should I wash all the blood out of the hair befor it goes to the tannery. Dan

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bear feet

This response submitted by Doug on 10/11/99. ( )

Dan,pending if it`s going to be a rug you don`t want the pad anyway ,so just skin foot out minus pad,then when you get to the toes,skin them out "inside out" skinning to the last knuckle or the tannery will charge you extra for skinning.If it is to be a full mount,split the pad down the center and proceed to skin out.After mount is dried,an epoxy can be used to hide the cut and stitching quite nicely.As for washing the blood out,I would`nt waste my time,the tannery does all that at no extra cost!


This response submitted by John Bellucci on 10/11/99. ( )


Except for splitting the pad down the center, you got some good info there. Instead of going that route, an even better choice is to skin AROUND the pad, on the inner side of the foot. Leave enough skin attached to the pad to make sewing it back together easier. It can be tough to sew the foot pad itself back together ... it does not stretch and can be downright "brittle".

To get the leg rods through, as in the case of a full mount, just match up where the foot pad will be sitting on the bottom of the foot on the mannikin, mark it on the foot pad, and cut the appropriate hole for the rod to pass through.

After the skin is sewn closed around the inside of the foot at the foot pad, hide nails are used to further hold this area in place. Use a good, galvanized hide nail, like those sold by WASCO, Jonas, Research Mannikin, etc., and leave them in permanently. Galvinized hide nails will not rust.

Hope this helps you out. And, Doug, try this method for skinning around the foot pads. Once you try it a few times, you'll see the benefits for yourself.

Good luck to all ... John B.

Thanks for your help on Bear Feet

This response submitted by Dan on 10/11/99. ( )

Thanks for your input I think that answered all of my questions, except do you remove the whole pad. Do you just skin all the way around the pad and discard the pad. Oh, I forgot to tell you that yes it is for a rug. Someone mentioned about wiring the claws in befor you send it to the tannery, is this necessary, and how do you do it. Thanks again for your help. More questions Dan

Bear Claws

This response submitted by George Roof on 10/11/99. ( )

Since I'm here, I'll add my two cents. It isn't news that John B is absolutely right about the pads, I stay away from them. I like to get hides with the feet left in. I tie a rope around the wrist and hand the hide by it. Then I pull and cut until the hide slips over the palm and then down the toes to the last joint. It takes a little longer, but for rugs, it eliminates all the sewing in the feet later on.
Now as for claws. On small to average black bear, I don't bother with wiring as they seldom slip off. For larger black bear, cinnamon and blond phase, and grizzly, I always wire the claws. To do this, take a very fine drill bit and drill through the back edge of the exposed claw. This will also go through the boney center of that last toe joint you left in. Run a fine copper wire though the hole and twist it together UNDERNEATH the claw. Cut it and bend the pigtail end up under and into the claw bottom. This will keep you from slicing yourself with your own wire and make the tannery guys happy for the same reason.

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