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Raccoon

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by Arhianna, May 16, 2020.

  1. Arhianna

    Arhianna Member

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    Hello all,
    I am looking to get into taxidermy, and was given a raccoon as something to start with. I found the raccoon with knothole mount kit on McKenzies website. I'm wondering if this is a good way to go for a first attempt at mounting? Also, I haven't been able to find any information on how to skin the raccoon out so that it works with that mount. Any tips or info is highly appreciated! Thanks!
     
  2. LostNewbie

    LostNewbie Member

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    To first begin skinning, use the case skinning method. There are more detailed videos on youtube, and I suggest watching a ton of them before you start. Even though I have just begun taxidermy, as a recent newbie I have some tips- accept the possibility that the skinning will not be perfect, and that holes can become an issue. The first mammal that I skinned (a squirrel) was full of small holes, and I even ripped one paw off by accident. Don't fret about a few holes though, as they can be sewed up and fixed. If you aren't confident when you are pulling the skin, just use the knife instead as it is better safe then sorry. For the taxidermy form, I wouldn't recommend the knothole as it requires you to cut the skin a certain way to fit the form since the mount doesn't include the back legs. It just seems a bit too difficult for a beginner, but if that is your dream mount position, then you could try it. Before you order the form, you must skin the raccoon and take measurements. How to take the measurements can be found on the McKenzie website under the form. I would recommend that before you skin the raccoon (if you haven't skinned it already) that you purchase some frozen mice from the pet store and practice skinning them first. Even though they are much smaller, the anatomy is very similar to a raccoon and will get you more familiar with the shape of everything so you don't make as many mistakes. Also, BE CAREFUL WHEN SKINNING OUT THE EYELIDS. You can accidentally cut them off if you aren't careful, and it absolutely ruins the look of the eyes. For your first mount, I would also not tan the skin and instead use borax to preserve it since it is small game. Do not split the lips or eyes, but split the nose and trim the cartilage inside of it. I recommend a full body mount simply because when you use the whole skin, you can see where things fit better. When skinning the tail, do not cut down the whole length of it or cut the tail off leaving the bones in. also, remove as much flesh as possible from the paws, and if possible remove all tissue and bone because if you don't, it has the possibility to rot or shrink to look like skin and bones. When mounting the ears, cut a piece of cardboard or plastic in the shape of the ear and attach it tightly to the outside so that the ear does not crumple. This website helps a lot, or if you use instagram follow @valley_fur_shed for some tips. https://linktr.ee/valley_fur_shed
     
    Emers48 likes this.

  3. Arhianna

    Arhianna Member

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    Thanks for the info! My husbands family grew up trapping, so he and my brother in law have a bit of knowledge on the skinning/tanning proces . My brother in law helped me case skin the raccoon the other night (hes in my freezer now ) I did order the knothole mount kit today, only because it comes with everything I would need to attempt mounting the raccoon I have. The only thing I'm second guessing myself on is my measurement I took before we skinned. My garage was dark and I could only see so well when I measured, but if the mount doesnt fit, I will purchase another, as they will be used at some point (brother in law runs raccoons, steady supply for me) thank you for your info again, and I will definitely check out the link!
     
    LostNewbie likes this.
  4. Sekhmet121

    Sekhmet121 New Member

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    Since your brother in law is helping you may already know this, but you definitely want to split the lips, inner eye lids and turn the ears. I'm a newbie also. So far I've mounted a couple of squirrels and a chipmunk. I'm learning to tan and have been practicing on raccoon hides. They've been awesome for learning how to prep the face. I finally know how to turn ears thanks to the coons. Splitting the lips is important because you need to thin the tissue for it to tuck and dry smoothly. Lesson learned from not doing a thorough job of that with my first squirrels.

    Just my noob two cents.
     
  5. Arhianna

    Arhianna Member

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    We are going to split lips and ears when I go to flesh him out. Since the raccoon had to be frozen while I wait for the mount to come in, we didnt split lips, trim the cartridge out of the nose, or split ears, to avoid the small extremities freezer burning. Thanks for the reply!
     
    LostNewbie likes this.
  6. Sekhmet121

    Sekhmet121 New Member

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    Sounds like a plan. Hope you'll share a pic of your mount when you're done. I've considered trying the knothole mount. It looks cute.

    All the best.
     
  7. Arhianna

    Arhianna Member

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    Will do! Thanks!
    P.s. does anyone know the average turn around time for McKenzie? Thanks!
     
  8. Sekhmet121

    Sekhmet121 New Member

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    About a week. Maybe a little less.
     

    Attached Files:

  9. Arhianna

    Arhianna Member

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    Great, thanks! That doesnt look bad at all!
     
  10. Sekhmet121

    Sekhmet121 New Member

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    Thanks. I didn't realize Frankensquirrel had posted. Was piddling around with something else and my wires got crossed. Really can't wait to see your coon and Newbie's duck.
     
  11. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    As far as skinning goes , you should skin as to hide your cut/stitches , if your mount was laying down, then that’s where you would cut to skin it so you never see it .
     
  12. LostNewbie

    LostNewbie Member

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    The duck is coming soon! I just screwed up the artificial head though, and the little apex/black point on the bill broke off when I set it down while painting. I was never too happy about how I had drilled the hole for the wire either. I'm gonna order a new one and just accept defeat on that one as a practice head. I also need to locate more driftwood since the structure on my chosen piece wasn't strong enough. I'll probably start it within the next two weeks if all goes well! I also can't wait to see the coon, its gonna be a cute mount no matter what!
     
  13. Arhianna

    Arhianna Member

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    When would be the best time to sew bullet holes? Before salting? Before tanning? After tanning?

    Thanks!
     
  14. Sekhmet121

    Sekhmet121 New Member

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    I sew them up before tanning, but I've bought a tanned hide that I had to do a few repairs on so I'm not sure that it really matters.
     
  15. Arhianna

    Arhianna Member

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    Thanks! I think I will sew him up after tanning so that the skin doesn't shrink and pull on the stitches. The holes are really small. Another dumb question, the raccoon was shot in the head and a hole went through his ear. Would I stitch that? Or would superglue work to hold it together after tanning when everything is dry? Also, do you sew the ear canals shut or leave them as they are? Thanks!
     
  16. Sekhmet121

    Sekhmet121 New Member

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    The ear question is out of my league, but I have discovered the joy of superglue. The ear canals, I leave open. Haven't found a reason to see them closed, at least not yet.
    A couple of weeks ago I did a raccoon shoulder mount. Still trying to decide how I want to back it, but it turned out better than I expected. I need to do some touch ups , but here he is. IMG_20200602_075200.jpg
     
  17. Arhianna

    Arhianna Member

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    Nice! I think they look good mounted on dark wood plaques or live edge wood slabs. When I was removing the ear cartilage, I did make a couple TINY nicks through the skin, so for those I think I'm going to try superglue because they're not even big enough to put a stitch in, plus I dont want them to look "pulled" if that makes sense. Thanks for all your help with my stupid questions lol
     
  18. Sekhmet121

    Sekhmet121 New Member

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    Oh yeah. Superglue sounds like the way to go. It became my best friend when I was working on a chipmunk.

    My pleasure. Hey, there are no stupid questions. We're all learning. I imagine even the pros keep learning.
     
  19. Arhianna

    Arhianna Member

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    True, very true!
     
  20. ARUsher

    ARUsher Well-Known Member

    Hope the racoon project is coming along well. I am also new to taxidermy and just finished a coon/knothole mount. This is my second mount and first time trying the bondo ears method. Cant wait to see how yours turns out. Good luck! 20200608_193045.jpg