Problems with fox ears after tanning

Submitted by Jim on 1/1/00. ( )

Well year 2000 just started lousy. I wanted to make a fox rug. I salted the hide let it dry. Rehydrated in salt solution then followed instructions for EZ-100 tan. Only part that I deviated from instructions was I left in tan a little longer than necessary (but according to instructions shoudn't have been a problem). I also had to add acid every day to the pickle because my ph kept going up. Is this unusual? Also my salt concentration probably wasn't as high near the end of the pickle time as beginning.
I didn't turn the ears because I saw in an earlier post that it was easier to turn and remove ear cartilidge in deer ears after the tanning process. So I assumed it was the same for fox ears. This morning after the tanned hide was almost dry I began to split the ears. I lost all of the inner ear hair. I mean Kojak has more hair on his head than this poor fox has on his ears.
What went wrong? Are fox ears different from deer ears, or did I just assume incorrectly? What did I miss? I got one more fox hide to try. After I split the ears all the way to the tip where do I start to remove the liner? Do I split lips and eyes before or after the tan?

I already know the answer to this but I'm asking anyway. You guys have pulled miracles out of the hat before, can I do anything to save my bald ears? Maybe mount a vulture on his head with the ear in his mouth? Put a hat on him?

Sorry for long post. Man am I bummed!

Jim Howell

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Oops, correction

This response submitted by Jim on 1/1/00. ( )

Above post should read, left in "pickle" solution longer than necessary not "tan". It was left in tanning solution about 22 hours.



This response submitted by Ducky on 1/1/00. ( )

Opps!! when you skip steps you take chances, frequenly you get burned, well it is my experience that foxes are one of the more senstive hides and i wouldn't dream of NOT salting ears now. Have lost hides to salting and "will turn ears tomorrow", pulled all hair off "tomorrow" . Bacteria on foxes and meat eaters to me seems to react faster than on plant eaters(just my opinion), the hat might work or stick its head in a hole,LOL...Bruce whats you thoughts?

Always turn the ears...

This response submitted by Craig Rusin on 1/1/00. ( )

regardless of the species. I don't know where you got the information that some guys and gals out there aren't turning their whitetail ears but if they don't they will be in the same boat that you are.

This step is an absolute requirement prior to salting as much as splitting lips and eyelids and removing the nose cartilage. Most taxidermists leave the cartilage in until resoaking and sweating the tanned cape, then the cartilage is removed prior to mounting.

About those ears

This response submitted by Bob B on 1/1/00. ( )

The confusion with the ears may be, that many don't fully turn the ears
until after the pickle and tanning (turn them nearly to the seem before,
and pack them with salt - it's cheap).

You may have also reads archives that talked about thawing fox out in
your pickle, (bacteria is a real enemy with these guys), then proceeding
with the normal steps.

I've tried all kinds of experiments with fox, currently after salting and
allowing to dry, I then pickle and tan.

These guys are so thin skinned and live often times on carion, that bacteria
is your worst enemy. Fox can be very frustrating. Especially gunshot, as
a whole new world of bacteria has been exposed to their delicate epidermis.

The ears, front legs, and tail (if not split) are all areas of likely slippage.

Best of luck with fox #2. I personally like the hat idea.


This response submitted by JOHN on 1/2/00. ( )

something that has been working for me on canine. skin the animal
mix up a bath with salt, Rittels super solovent,rittls bactriacide,
and a deodorizer, soak it about 15 min,rinse and tumble in clean wood shavings.then turn lips and ears,salt etc. etc. i started doing this
on coyote because i hated working on this stinky canine. havnt had a
proplem with any furbearer doing this. maybe it kills the bacteria that exists. another step but i dont seem to lose anything.

Another suggestion

This response submitted by MQT on 1/6/00. ( )

tuff break on the fox ears. I would suggest this. I am not sure where you read that you could wait until after the tanning process to turn ears and remove cartilage, but if you are practicing this with ANY hide you are asking for major problems. You should NEVER wait until you have tanned the hide to turn ears, lips, nose, or eyes on any animal. For ear liners, I personally think it is just as easy if not easier to remove cartilage during the fleshing process. You should always split everything before you salt. You might be able to get by with leaving a 1/4 to 1/8 inch around the edge of the ear and turning that after the skin has tanned (it makes the skin a little tuffer) but I wouldn't even do that. By far the easiest time to turn any feature is when the skin is at it freshest. Another note about predators...get them skinned and salted ASAP after they are killed. Predators have a much higher bacteria content on and in their hides (It is mainly due to their behavior of roling in dead things and gromming(they have nasty bacteria in there mouths)). anyway I've gabbed enough. Good luck.
P.S. Try bondo or caulk instead of ear liners for small mammals.

ears and lips

This response submitted by stephanie on 3/11/01. ( )

how do you turn the ears and split the lips?

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