Dumb question of the day!

Submitted by Big Al on 7/3/01. ( )

After 10 years of obsession with taxidermy,
I never gave a thought to freezer burn or did I ever
research it. Does severe burn make a specimen unusable
or is it simply an inconvienence having to rehydrate
the burned area?
Have a spare whitetail (head intact) and a possum that
were just thrown
into a deep freezer years ago with no protection.
Deer skin seems fine (meat is like foam)and possum has
completely dry ears and feet.

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Before you start typing......

This response submitted by Big Al on 7/3/01. ( )

Hmmmmm.... Ultra-Soft and alcohol....checked archives!
Still looking for brief input on long-term dermal damage
due to freezer burn.....
Thanks everyone!

There was a fox

This response submitted by Bill Gaither on 7/3/01. ( WILDART@prodigy.net )

That I mounted in Arkansas for the state fish and game folks. Since red fox hunting was illegal at the time, the fox had been used as evidence in a trial. After that it had lain in a freezer in Little Rock for four years or more. The animal had a prime winter pelt. When the paperwork was finally in order, the animal was delivered to me at the Prairie museum.

The nose was completely dehydrated, but the form was good, since it had fortunately been frozen in a position that didn't mis-shape it.
After thawing, I had only a few problem areas. The eyelids, the ears, the nose, lips,tail-tip and the toes. After an overnight soak to rehydrate, I fully expected the fur to slip and that the future home of the fox would be the museum's dumpster. Not so. The skin was surprisingly supple, but the tail tip, toes, nose and ears while softer, would not allow normal processing.

I mounted the fox on a running wall mount form and left the nose as it was, after trimming the inside and the form to marry the two. The ears were never turned, just formed, carded and allowed to set in place. I split the tail as far as possible and wired from the end of the cut back to the rump. The remainder of the tail was injected here and there with epox in an attempt to strengthen it. The toes were left as they were, with the exception of splaying the front toes to show potential impact with the "ground". The eyes were set, and five minutes with a blow drier set them forever, due to their corky consistancy. I had to trim back the lips and rebuild them with a putty compound.

That was the oldest "freezer burned"speciman I have done in forty years of effort.

With regard to freezer burning, I would suspect that the frozen food industry and appliance makers, as well as freeze dry ration producers would have done years of research on the matter. Perhaps they might share their knowledge if asked. Paleoanthropologists and paleologists have done quite a bit of study of frozen and dehydrated remains, perhaps research papers are available at abstract libraries.

Thanks Bill!

This response submitted by Big Al on 7/3/01. ( )

Thank you very much for taking the time
on that post! It helps alot!

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