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How long is too long?

Discussion in 'Tanning' started by Scullybcdali, Jul 15, 2014.

  1. Scullybcdali

    Scullybcdali New Member

    It's probably a pretty jackaroo topic, but I've got some questions about timing for skinning and tanning hides

    Firstly, I know that obviously quickest is best, but this isn't a perfect world... I live on a station in remote Australia, and have opportunities for fox, goat and sheep skins. Problem is I usually get them when I don't have a chance to skin out for a few hours, and even then it's a quick skin job. I usually my knife roll and salt in the ute, just in case. But I waste alot of skins thinking 'I don't have time right now' and just leaving them for the pigs instead of wasting my time.... But recently a friend said its ok to do a super quick dodgy skinning job, salt and do the rest later...

    I'd like to know, typically, how long is too long before you skin out an animal? (Say... on a warm, but not hot day) and is it ok to do a quick skin job, leaving tails, feet, testicles, (ears un turned, lips un split) in tact, salting and leaving the pelt (probably with some chunks of meat and fat) the shade for the rest of the day?
    What if (as I usually do) I don't have time to skin toes and tails that night? Is it possible to leave them a day or two and skin it out properly when I have time?

    Thanks for any advice. I'm sick of wasting beautiful goats and foxes because I'm not certain and don't wanna go to the effort for a skin that's gunna slip anyways...
  2. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    In all things, you have to establish priorities. Sadly, from your scenario, you won't be able to get there from here. In a warm climate and no refrigeration, you have, at the most, 2-3 hours to have the animal completely skinned and salted. Leaving the tails, feet, head, and even splitting the lips can create big issues down the road. ALL MEAT needs to be removed from the hide. You may get away with small strips of fat, but once the animal dies, decay begins immediately. In the winter time and in a shady place, you may double that time lapse with each 10 degrees below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The animal should be eviscerated immediately and the body cavity opened to allow cooling. If your temperature is down to 30 degrees (freezing) the animal may last this way for several days or a week, but the exterior/exposed skin will dehydrate and create issues in skinning then.

  3. Scullybcdali

    Scullybcdali New Member

    That's what I thaught, but I was kinda hoping my other friends was right and that I could be a bit slack and do it when I got home...
    Thankyou very much for your response! Very helpfull :)
  4. Are you just skinning them to tan the hides without the need for a taxidermy mount? If so, you can quickly skin off the backhide (ventrally) keeping the belly skin and and even most of the head pretty quickly; just leave the foot skin attached to the carcass and discard (slicing the skin away from them around the ankles) because you don't have to have feet on a backhide. Feet are what take me the most time to skin out, at least.

    Also if you are just doing them for hide wallhangers, you don't have to go through splitting ears/lips/eyelids; either just cut the skin off at the neck. You could feasibly keep the head but then you will still have to remove all of that meat from the earbutts and deal with the lips..

    Main objective: get the largest full piece of skin possible off, as fast as possible, salted and let dry; remove all red meat and fat. You could practice on many tails trying to debone, or just slit them and quickly peel the skin off attempting to not break it, but never leave the bone/meat inside the tail. It'd be better to sacrifice the whole tail right away than have it draw flies/maggots and ruin the whole skin for you.
  5. twinrivers

    twinrivers Active Member

    If you are unable to freeze immediately then better start skinning bud. Looking at 1-2 hours over 60 degrees F. Salt as you go.
  6. Bruce_Rittel

    Bruce_Rittel Consultant Services

    I'd personally try to get a Freezer or maybe a friend has one you can use. Not a Refrigerator - a Freezer! That way whatever you start, you can safely stop, freeze it, thaw, and continue when you find time. I get the impression you don't have one - but that would solve your problems.
  7. twinrivers

    twinrivers Active Member

    A freezer is a must in this profession!