A quick question

Submitted by nick on 8/15/05 at 3:23 PM. ( )

For years my family trapped and with great success,usually around 300 pelts a year. After skinning we would flesh on the beam and then stretch and hang in the upstairs of our garage.After the season was over the foxes were turned fur side out and the rest were left skin side out and brought to the market. My question is why did these pelts never spoil when nothing was ever used on them? ( hair slippage ETC.)

This is something i've been curious about since i started trying my hand at taxidermy.Thanks.

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This response submitted by tomdes on 8/15/05 at 8:02 PM. ( mapletax@twcny.rr.com )

Your second sentence states most of it, you flesh all the meat and fat off the skin. The skin on most trapped predators is very thin and when exposed to air it dries very quickly locking in the hair folicles. Because you removed all the meat/fat there is very little chance for spoilage...

Air dried or Salt dried!

This response submitted by Bruce Rittel on 8/17/05 at 11:49 AM. ( rittel@mindspring.com )

Both methods produce skins that can be stored until sold or tanned. The only reason we use so much salt to dry a lot of our skins is that when you go to relax them prior to pickling - salt dried skins relax faster. The salt holds the fibers open and when its dissolved the moisture can be absorbed faster. On heavily fleshed skins its a "must"! On them, the Salt actually is used to pull out all the body fluids from the thick flesh and helps it dry faster - as well as makes relaxing easier. The faster a skin can be dried - the less chance for bacteria to grow and weaken the epidermis.

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