As a bit of background, I've been trapping nuisance Raccoons in my backyard, and decided to give skinning and tanning the hides a try - the local laws say I have to kill them if I catch them (or let them go on the spot, but then why bother), so I may as well use them. I bought a skinning kit and some add-on tools, as well as the Wallhanger Kit B from Trubond. Note that I'm just interested in getting the hides tanned to either hang on a wall of use for something (make a hat?), not planning to mount them or anything. I've gotten started on the process, but have run into some issues and would like advice on how to handle them. I appreciate any help I can get here, so here are my questions so far: 1. When preparing to skin a raccoon, what would be the best way to get rid of any parasites like fleas and ticks? I tried spraying the carcass with raid and leaving it for about an hour, but that didn't seem to be completely effective, as I saw fleas on several raccoons and one had a lot of ticks. Also I'm worried that just leaving it for a while like that may be enough for hair to start slipping. 2. I haven't been able to find much information on what to do with ears. The Trubond instructions mention turning them, though I'm not too sure how to do that. From what I've already found, with some animals you're supposed to just cut off the front of the ear, and with others you can turn it inside out, leaving the cartilage on the skin. I actually already sent some questions about this to Trubond and got back a response that I can indeed turn the ear without removing the front part, but I'm still not sure of how to go about it. When skinning these raccoons, so far I've been trying to cut the ears off right at the ear canal, so all of the cartilage stays on the skin and there's just a tiny hole - should I be doing this differently? I noticed that in doing this, I can't really find where the cartilage meets the ear, so I haven't separated it yet on any of the skins I have. 3. Similar to the ear question, I noticed I have quite a bit of nose cartilage left on the skin when I cut it off. How much of that needs to be removed? Is there a recommended method for removing it without damaging the rest of the nose? 4. I've gotten started on the tanning process for the first skin I got (~16 lb raccoon), though I have a roadblock now. I made some mistakes with it in that I salted and dried it without getting enough of the meat/fat off, and did that step after rehydration and about a week of pickling. Then it went back in the pickle for a while, and eventually I tried to do the wire wheel step in the Trubond instructions. Unfortunately, I couldn't get much at all with the wire wheel, and actually destroyed my wire wheel in the end. I'm not sure if maybe I need to get more flesh off by scraping (it isn't really coming off - I'm not sure if I'm damaging the skin at this point), or maybe I need a different kind of wire wheel. The kind I used was about one inch in diameter with metal wires at an angle. I also tried a straight one (same size) but that was even less effective though it did not break. Any suggestions for this? Maybe I can use a mini sanding drum? 5. So far I've only started on preparing one skin for tanning, though I have quite a few more in my fridge now. When I get to the rehydration/pickling for those, about how much water would I need per skin? I used 2 gallons for the aforementioned skin from the 16 lb raccoon and it seemed more than enough, though the other skins I have are somewhat smaller, with each raccoon being between about 10 and 14 lb. I was thinking I could do several at once, and I could go up to about 4 gallons with the buckets I have. That's what I have so far, though I may come up with more questions later. Also, not really related to taxidermy so it isn't with the rest of my questions, but I've also been interested in giving the meat a try. I've seen recommendations though that urban raccoons should not be eaten, though I'm not too sure if this applies to the raccoons I'm catching as I live in a suburban neighborhood with several lightly wooded areas nearby. Anyone have an opinion on this? Thanks!