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Raccoon Mount Fail

Discussion in 'Lifesize Mammals' started by AlpineValleyTaxidermy, Nov 22, 2020.

  1. AlpineValleyTaxidermy

    AlpineValleyTaxidermy Active Member

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    I’m pretty sure some of you guys will think this is kind of funny. Because at the time, I thought it was just a disaster. (Which it was). But now I think it is just really stupidly funny. This could probably be a little useful for some beginners as well. SO, let’s get to the story.

    I had found a raccoon on the side of the road. I thought I could’ve just taken his skull. Keep in mind it was the middle of December and it was COLD. I grabbed the coon and but him in a bin and put him in the back of my car. He was a pretty LARGE coon as well. So I got home and I have the electric line towers going through the field behind by backyard. And I put the raccoon under one of the towers right at the base of the “legs” of the tower. I went back into my house. Then I thought about the raccoon and how he was actually still pretty fresh (because it was like a freezer outside). So I was like, “Well if I want his skull, and I just leave his body out there, the coyotes will get him.” But if I had wanted to skin him I would have to wait for tomorrow. So he sat out there for a day until the next day I decided that I would mount him instead. To I dragged him back to my yard. Threw him onto my DECK and got my tools that I had just bought the other day. And I got my coat on an two layers of gloves. (Not winter gloves). Then I got to skinning. I really had not much of a clue on how I should make a cut or how I should skin the feet and head. I had only watched ONE video of how to mount a raccoon which the guy had skipped the fleshing and washing process in his video. So I just went off of what I thought I should do. I have no clue of what cut I did. It was like a mix between a case skin and a ventral cut. Here’s a picture of my fox squirrel for example and the red lines are where I had made cuts on my RACCOON. 3142CCAD-777F-4FD4-85A3-4C87E925E9C2.jpeg
    (Sorry the picture is really big). Yeah, I had skinned it like THAT. After I had finished skinning my coon, I tossed his body out in the field for the yotes and kept his head. So since no one wanted me bringing it in the house after I had finished skinning, we used a styrofoam cooler and left the poor coon and his head outside in a fricking COOLER. So I then waited for the next day for the next step, fleshing and splitting the lips, eyes and turning the ears. So, I had gotten some tools. AGAIN. And I had got right to the coon. I had spent HOURS outside, just SCRAPING AT THE FAT. I was not even removing it! I was seriously close to getting frostbite on my hands that I had to grab a heater and bring it outside while I “worked”. I HORRIBLY split the lips. Which I probably was not even doing properly. The one eye, I had cut a pretty decent amount of skin off of. From there I probably shouldn’t have tried mounting it. And I surprisingly knew how to turn the ears correctly. The raccoon smelled SO OILY AND FATTY AND JUST DISGUSTING LIKE A DIRTY FAT RACCOON. So after that, I thought I was done fleshing and I “washed” him. Only TWO fricking times with warm water and dish soap. The water was BROWN from all the blood that was still in the skin. There were also hundreds of holes that I couldn’t even sew them all up. And whatever ones I did sew up, they became unsewed. And so we hung the coon up in our garage over a bucket to collect the rest of the blood. And we let him sit for like two days after ordering the form, eyes, and hide paste. The day I got the form, I clayed the eyes and made ear liners. And started mounting the coon the next day. I started mounting the face and it started SLIPPING. I WONDER WHY! The face looked HORRIBLE. Here’s the disaster. 804481DE-E3D4-48C9-AAFC-5EC826F72307.jpeg
    The form is really nice but the skin wasn’t. So I continued the next day with mounting the front legs. Oh and by the way I had used borax on the hide. So then, when I went to work on the front legs, they started SLIPPING as well! The feet had so many holes that the feet looked bad just because of all the super glue I used. Here’s him after mounting the front legs. AB7CED5E-F81A-4E0B-B466-7BD77351D81A.jpeg CB1DEC52-6308-4C28-87DA-DC8A2D3A4865.jpeg 64A7F8C6-D4F9-49DB-8602-EE967A7201D7.jpeg
    So from there I had gotten lazy and decided not to work on him. And by then, he was all dried up. So I literally kept him in a outdoor storage bin outside because of how oily and greasy he smelled. He was left in there from December to May. And when I went to try to finish mounting him, I realized that there was no way he was even good for a mount. So after I had mounted my Lesser Scaup, which some of you probably know of already, I finally took that disgusting thing apart. His nose smelled like it was rotting so I cut it off. I cut off all his toes and kept the claws. I cut his tail off from his hide and I threw everything in a bucket of soapy water. I washed everything probably about 20 times. He was still oily though, because of my HORRIBLE fleshing job. I have the tail and claws in my room now. The skin is wrapped in a lawn bag in the loft in the garage. Not so sure what I’m going to do with it. I kept the form and eyes and re-clayed the eyes with epoxy clay instead. The form is a little stained from the oils, but hopefully I will find a coon to go on that someday now that I know how to mount animals now. Here’s the clay work on the eyes. image.jpg image.jpg
    So that’s my story of how I attempted mounting a raccoon being uneducated of how to mount anything from skinning and fleshing it yourself. Hopefully some of you guys found it funny. Because I think it is kind of funny. :D Feel free to share some of your stories too!
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2020
  2. AlpineValleyTaxidermy

    AlpineValleyTaxidermy Active Member

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    Oh and by the way the head had been sitting in the cooler outside all the way through the summer. And one day it got windy and I actually think I saw the cooler lid blowing across the street when we were driving to the store. And the next day I checked the cooler and the lid was gone and so was the head. I think a coyote got it.
     

  3. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    With the process and the amount of grease you are describing, toss the hide. It is badly grease burned by now and rotted. I would not even attempt to keep it. Raccoons are plentiful and you can buy raw hides that have been properly fleshed. Coons are grease factories and getting all the grease off takes quite a bit of effort. Getting the hide properly tanned is also the best option with a coon.
     
    Yamile likes this.
  4. Mandi

    Mandi Well-Known Member

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    I will say so far my first mount hasn't rotted. It's an otter and her name is Rebecca (a friend's daughter named it). She proudly sits on my wall with all her flaws and I learned several things not to do. I hope your second attempt was better.
     
  5. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    Very funny , but good for you for staying at it. Your clay eyes look awesome and hopefully the next raccoon you do will turn out better . I will say this in 35 years of doing taxidermy I’ve never once picked up a rd kill to mount
     
  6. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    Everyone has to start somewhere. Do more research before you mount your next animal. If you have a state association, attend the convention. You will learn more in one weekend of seminars than you will on your on in years.
     
  7. AlpineValleyTaxidermy

    AlpineValleyTaxidermy Active Member

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    So far I’m getting better at my birds. I’m going to be trying to mount a few squirrels probably this week. I have learned a lot from this raccoon experience and now I know several things NOT to do! I have mounted a chipmunk which did turn out pretty good! But I am getting better at not cutting holes in the skins and I am pretty good at skinning out squirrel feet now! I have skinned out another raccoon foot from a little dude that I have his skull from as well. Hopefully my next coon attempt will work out! Maybe I’ll start looking for some coons on the side of the road of the same size. And I know how to flesh things now. And yeah, that raccoon was my first ever mammal mount that I have tried mounting from a raw hide. Already my second fish mount has a much better shape than my first one. Thanks for the replies guys! :D
     
  8. byrdman

    byrdman Well-Known Member

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    never use warm or hot water
     
    msestak likes this.
  9. AlpineValleyTaxidermy

    AlpineValleyTaxidermy Active Member

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    Yeah, now I just use cold or room temperature