Here's the deal. I'm not interested in taxidermy. Not now, at least. I want to create some things from fur pelts. I realize the first steps are pretty much the same though, so I'll start with what is most important in my situation (assume a raccoon or similar).
I only have a short time left right now for fur season, and may get one trip in if I'm lucky. No problem. That leaves me till November to play with the pelt or pelts.
Can I skin them and salt them in the field, drain and resalt, and let them sit for a long time? I can't afford a freezer so I assume I shouldn't pickle them at this time. Remember, I want fur to work with, not a taxidermy mount. I'm interested in any special things I need to do for this purpose. Like stretching or tacking to a board, special salts or chemicals, things NOT to do, etc.
Even specific search keywords would be helpful, as the terminology is new to me. Also, any video recommendations or books with pics would be great, but I don't care about taxidermy. I'm interested in proper skinning, stretching, tools, even sewing; but aside from a hands-on instruction, a video is probably the second best for me. For instance, I can read all day about turning the cartelidge in the nose, but it makes no sense to me still, so I will settle for just cutting out the capes for now.
Thanks! And special thanks to amy for her website, the rat skinning tutorial was pretty helpful!
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You need to read a bunch in the tanning section.
Get them home where you can work on them.
Flesh and salt, (NO SPECIAL SALT, just fine mixing salt from the feed store.)
The pickle is a perfect place to store them, read the tanning!
You can keep them in a formic acid or oxylic acid pickle for years.
Do not use citric acid as it is a food substance.
Rittels has several books on tanning get them.
# 1. Check that it is legal to hold over skins from yoru trapping season in your state. In many, it is not.
# 2. To buy raw skins from your state, you will need a fur buyer permit or similar.
# 3. The fur business is not for the faint of pocketbook. Get some proper stretchers, a good video on skinning and fleshing, read about tanning (do NOT use alum or you will RUIN your skins), and get all the supplies during your down-time.
# 4. Just because they sell raw pelts on eBay doesn't make it legal. Check it out first, make sure you have your "ducks in a row".
John C, thanks, I did not come across the storage-in-pickle thing in the archives. In fact, much of my confusion came from the archives. I was probably overreading things a little.
That is what I needed to know though. Especially about not using citric. I see the Rittels shout-out a lot here, I'll be sampling their wares.
Fur, you bring up a very important point, something I haven't yet explored. That is, exactly when does a pelt cease to be a pelt, as per state law? Good question for the TPAD. They are specific about certain things, but not others.
BTW, this will not be a for-profit thing. Just a for-fun thing, something hopefully my boys and my wife will be interested in too. We sew some already.
Again, thanks for clarifying.
No word yet from TPWD, if anyone knows where Texas stands on this, I'm all ears. From what I can put together, it looks like the following _may_ be true:
Tanned pelts are not subject to possession limits; at what stage that represents I'm still unclear.
I can take posession of carcasses of furbearers taken by my hog-hunting buddies then and there, assuming they were authorized by the landowner to take nuisance furbearers (skunks, coyotes, maybe racoons);
I may take furbearers and posess same out of season for my own personal use, within non-commercial season limits;
I can use dogs, traps, firearms, crossbows, spotlights, night vision equipment, calls and baits because I am on private property;
Squirrels are game animals, not fur bearers. Rabbits are non-game animals. This might be more important if you don't have a trapper's license;
Jaguarundi are protected; Cougar are not.
Maybe these things I listed might be helpful to another newbie, so I'm keeping it alive. I didn't come across much in the tanning archives concerning this, didn't try the beginner's.