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#3107654 - 06/17/09 Tips on skinning out a fox tail/coon tail
Sakoluvr Offline
Campfire Tracker

Registered: 01/08/05
Posts: 6930
Loc: Where the wild things are.
I have a couple of tails in the freezer that my kids want. What is the best way to remove the tail bone, and keep the tail looking good without losing a bunch of fur in the de-boning process?
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#3107691 - 06/17/09 Re: Tips on skinning out a fox tail/coon tail [Re: Sakoluvr]
bender Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 11/12/06
Posts: 2788
I think you will find the coon a lot easier than the fox, so practice on that one first. Fox skin is a lot more delicate. I used to put a loop on the end of a straightened out coat hanger (a little electrical tape over the sharp parts) and use it to push up beside the bone to break up the connecting tissue a bit. Made it easier to skin. Never did a frozen one though - hopefully it will still be supple enough to skin out like a fresh one. Stay close to the bone!

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#3107764 - 06/17/09 Re: Tips on skinning out a fox tail/coon tail [Re: bender]
Sakoluvr Offline
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Registered: 01/08/05
Posts: 6930
Loc: Where the wild things are.
I will try that. A quick defrost and it should be good to go. I think I will use a razor blade.
_________________________
Peace be still! Don't ever forget who is in the boat with us.

After the game is over, the king and the pawn go into the same box.
Italian Proverb


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#3107925 - 06/17/09 Re: Tips on skinning out a fox tail/coon tail [Re: Sakoluvr]
Okanagan Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 01/25/01
Posts: 4065
It is easier to slip and then split a fresh tail before it is frozen, and a lot easier when the tail is still connected to the carcase. So you have a double difficulty, but not insumountable.

I have skinned a few tails out by clamping a vice grip on the stump of the bone and hanging the vice grip up on something solid.

If it will strip off, you are way less likely to cut the hide or pull it too much while skinning and break it off. The hide on the tail is weak compared to the rest of the animal's skin.

If you don't have a tail stripper, you can make one out of a straight stick of wood the diameter of a broom handle. Round or square stick doesn't matter. Take two pieces of the broom handle about six inches long, and cut matching notches on one side in the middle of each stick. With the two sticks held together, the notches should form a hole between them. Eyeball it to get the notches to be a little smaller than the big end of the tail bone, so the two sticks aren't quite touching when clamped together with the tail base between them. I'm guessing start with a notch 3/4 inch wide and 3/8 inch deep on each side. Maybe smaller for rqccoon and fox, as I'm more used to coyotes. None of this has to be precise but too small a hole is better than too big.

With the tail completely thawed, skin the tail down about two inches from the stump end. Grip the tail bone end with the vice grips and hang them on somethign solid, with the tail hanging down. Then clamp the two notched sticks around the skinned section of the tail bone and pull down toward the tip of the tail while squeezing the stripper sticks together. If done correctly, the hide around the bone will suddenly give and the entire tail skin will slip off the end in one piece.

Then with a thin, razor sharp knife, lay the tail straight, insert the blade in the open end of the tube and split it to the tip. Be careful to split it all the way to the end, a delicate job but essential to get salt or tanning solution on the inside of the hide all the way out.

Plan B for me would be to skin it down and split the hide on the way. As with any skinning, a curved blade is far less likely to cut the hide where you don't want. A straight edged blade, like a razor, is much more likely to cut the hide. An Exacto knife with a curved blade would work better, though a razor will work. It just takes a little more care with the razor blade.

It has to be thawed completely. I'd soak it to thaw it fast. Otherwise the hair insulates it for many hours while the stump end begins to go bad.

Good luck!




Edited by Okanagan (06/17/09)

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#3108024 - 06/17/09 Re: Tips on skinning out a fox tail/coon tail [Re: Okanagan]
Sakoluvr Offline
Campfire Tracker

Registered: 01/08/05
Posts: 6930
Loc: Where the wild things are.
Okanagan, awesome. I will try that this weekend. I wonder if I can just bore a hole in some wood (1/2-3/4"), then rip it on the table saw? Maybe hang a pair of vice grips on the side of a tree?
_________________________
Peace be still! Don't ever forget who is in the boat with us.

After the game is over, the king and the pawn go into the same box.
Italian Proverb


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#3108093 - 06/17/09 Re: Tips on skinning out a fox tail/coon tail [Re: Sakoluvr]
bender Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 11/12/06
Posts: 2788
I would not use a razor blade! A little skinner would work better. You are just cutting connective tissue, nothing heavy duty. Should cut real easy. Once again, be reminded how thin and delicate fox skin is, the tail being the thinnest. Think bunny. Okanagan is right on about the curved blade. Makes all the difference.

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#3108136 - 06/17/09 Re: Tips on skinning out a fox tail/coon tail [Re: bender]
Sakoluvr Offline
Campfire Tracker

Registered: 01/08/05
Posts: 6930
Loc: Where the wild things are.
Gotcha
_________________________
Peace be still! Don't ever forget who is in the boat with us.

After the game is over, the king and the pawn go into the same box.
Italian Proverb


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#3108451 - 06/17/09 Re: Tips on skinning out a fox tail/coon tail [Re: Sakoluvr]
Okanagan Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 01/25/01
Posts: 4065
 Originally Posted By: Sakoluvr
Okanagan, awesome. I will try that this weekend. I wonder if I can just bore a hole in some wood (1/2-3/4"), then rip it on the table saw? Maybe hang a pair of vice grips on the side of a tree?


You bet. That's plumb fancy. Make two and sell me one! \:D (Just kidding.)


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#3108459 - 06/17/09 Re: Tips on skinning out a fox tail/coon tail [Re: Sakoluvr]
jpb Offline
Campfire Tracker

Registered: 06/30/01
Posts: 7125
Loc: northern Sweden
How about taking pictures and posting them here?

From time to time I have needed to skin a tailed critter, and it would be great to have pictures to save on the hard disk along with the instructions above.

John

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#3108462 - 06/17/09 Re: Tips on skinning out a fox tail/coon tail [Re: jpb]
Sakoluvr Offline
Campfire Tracker

Registered: 01/08/05
Posts: 6930
Loc: Where the wild things are.
Hey, I will do that................if it comes out OK. Will try this weekend. Thanks for all the advice. I have messed up a few, and got tired of doing that.
_________________________
Peace be still! Don't ever forget who is in the boat with us.

After the game is over, the king and the pawn go into the same box.
Italian Proverb


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#3108509 - 06/17/09 Re: Tips on skinning out a fox tail/coon tail [Re: Sakoluvr]
Okanagan Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 01/25/01
Posts: 4065
I did a google search for trapping supplies and found many sources for tail strippers, or tail pullers as this link calls them. http://www.murrayslures.com/furshed.html

I just picked one online catalog at random. On the page that comes up with the link above, tail skinning devices start with about the second or third item on the page. There is a device to keep the cut straight when cutting open a tail. Then a couple of zipper knives for cutting the tail opn.

And then there are two or three tail puller devices, or as I called them, tail strippers.

My dad had a homemade one made from two pieces of angle iron with notches in them. A pin in one end held the two pieces together and as they slid past each other the size of the hole adjusted to fit any size tail. If I can find a commercial version of that, I'll post it.

Later: Found all kinds of tail strippers but I can't figure out how to cut and paste a photo of one here. I can paste photos that I take myself, but haven't figured out the other. The cheap plastic ones run $2.95 up to $6.00 for multi size ones.

Here's a link to a place that sells a commercial version that adjusts like my Dad's old homemade one. It is the first item for sale on the page but you have to scroll past some coyote art, etc. http://www.markjuneslures.com/Fur%20Shed%20Tools.htm




Edited by Okanagan (06/17/09)

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#3108590 - 06/17/09 Re: Tips on skinning out a fox tail/coon tail [Re: Okanagan]
rost495 Online   content
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 38949
Loc: La Grange, TX
all I ever did was put a stump in the vice, and use two screwdrivers, reversed so I had a handle in each hand, pinched it and pulled. Just like a stripper. In fact I have a stripper in my taxidermy shop and actually like the screwdrivers better.

A couple of things though, if they've been frozen a while... quick thaw them in water is a good start, then inject water with an insulin syringe along the tail to get fluid back in the tail... if its freezer burned in there you'll have heck.

Start the skin down with a razor or scalpel etc.... get it kinda going and then sometimes it takes a bit of pressure to get it going with the puller, like a lot... but once it goes back off a bit. Sometimes just bumping it down the tail works too.

The fox will be more fragile as noted, what I've found with them is that once it goes its all done at once, good or bad.

You can get salt/tanning solution in a tail without splitting it but its very hard to do....
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May the road rise to meet you, May the wind be always at your back, May the sun shine warm upon your face, The rains fall soft upon your fields and, Until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

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#3108602 - 06/17/09 Re: Tips on skinning out a fox tail/coon tail [Re: Okanagan]
1minute Offline
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 01/28/01
Posts: 16805
Loc: Burns/Hines, Oregon, USA
Olanagan: Good description. I've always just grabbed two sticks, but after your description, I think I'll make a couple. Lots of jobs are a cinch with the right tool. Thanks, 1Minute
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#3108646 - 06/17/09 Re: Tips on skinning out a fox tail/coon tail [Re: 1minute]
huntsman22 Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 08/21/06
Posts: 11028
Loc: Kiowa/Deer Trail, Colorado
Good advice so far. Note that the tails may be freezer burned and will thus be unusable. A plain ol' pair of slip-joint pliers work as good as any stripper you can make or buy, and most folk have some layin' around.



When the bone is out, split it clear to the end......




If you don't want to split it, poke a hole in the very end with a length of sharpened wire. Fill the tail with table salt, using the wire to work it to the end.......
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#3108680 - 06/17/09 Re: Tips on skinning out a fox tail/coon tail [Re: huntsman22]
northern_dave Offline
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 09/29/04
Posts: 31038
Loc: Minnesota
you da man huntsman22!!

that's just plain ole git r done good work.

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#3108687 - 06/17/09 Re: Tips on skinning out a fox tail/coon tail [Re: northern_dave]
northern_dave Offline
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 09/29/04
Posts: 31038
Loc: Minnesota
now if someone can tell me how to master the claws with the paws type of work on a cat, that would be something.
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#3108693 - 06/17/09 Re: Tips on skinning out a fox tail/coon tail [Re: huntsman22]
Sakoluvr Offline
Campfire Tracker

Registered: 01/08/05
Posts: 6930
Loc: Where the wild things are.
You guys are full of - great tips! Hey, gotta try the slipjoints first huntsman22! The tails are not freezer burned, and only have been in there a very short time. ;\)

Keeping the chickens safe, ya know?

_________________________
Peace be still! Don't ever forget who is in the boat with us.

After the game is over, the king and the pawn go into the same box.
Italian Proverb


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#3108725 - 06/18/09 Re: Tips on skinning out a fox tail/coon tail [Re: Sakoluvr]
northern_dave Offline
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 09/29/04
Posts: 31038
Loc: Minnesota
dang ole fox looks kinda cool with his short hairs on.

If you are gonna flesh the whole fox yourself these guys are right, that skin is very unforgiving so be careful.

And just because it's tanned & dry don't make it any stronger, I find you have to be very careful breaking the fox hide after tanning, dang things tear really easy. \:o
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#3108820 - 06/18/09 Re: Tips on skinning out a fox tail/coon tail [Re: 1minute]
Okanagan Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 01/25/01
Posts: 4065
 Originally Posted By: 1minute
Olanagan: Good description. I've always just grabbed two sticks, but after your description, I think I'll make a couple. Lots of jobs are a cinch with the right tool. Thanks, 1Minute


Actually, I've stripped more coyote tails with sticks that I picked up in the field than I have with "real" strippers. I usually notch them but not always. Have used the pliers mentioned as well. My strippers at home were heavy metal and I didn't carry them when I was hunting coyotes for fur. I need to pick up a pair of these light, cheap plastic ones myself!

Huntsman22, excellent photos that show how to do it!


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#3108846 - 06/18/09 Re: Tips on skinning out a fox tail/coon tail [Re: northern_dave]
Okanagan Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 01/25/01
Posts: 4065
 Originally Posted By: northern_dave
now if someone can tell me how to master the claws with the paws type of work on a cat, that would be something.



That's just plain tedious work, difficult to do without knicking holes in the hide around the toes if you don't do it often enough to remember the intricate anatomy and recognize it by Braille. Turning the ears and splitting the lips are in the same league for me, with the lips the easiest of that trio of jobs.

Skinning the paws with claws on is the cat's revenge for shooting him! \:D





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#3108853 - 06/18/09 Re: Tips on skinning out a fox tail/coon tail [Re: Sakoluvr]
Okanagan Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 01/25/01
Posts: 4065
Sakoluvr, Nice pic! I like those hunter orange Crocs.

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#3109098 - 06/18/09 Re: Tips on skinning out a fox tail/coon tail [Re: Okanagan]
Sakoluvr Offline
Campfire Tracker

Registered: 01/08/05
Posts: 6930
Loc: Where the wild things are.
Yeah, saftey first! Teach those youngsters right.
_________________________
Peace be still! Don't ever forget who is in the boat with us.

After the game is over, the king and the pawn go into the same box.
Italian Proverb


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#3109126 - 06/18/09 Re: Tips on skinning out a fox tail/coon tail [Re: huntsman22]
rost495 Online   content
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 01/05/05
Posts: 38949
Loc: La Grange, TX
Huntsman

Great thought on the pliers, I totally forgot I'd used them too.

But have used wire to poke a hole and get salt into the tail and then take a string and pull it through to draw in pickling solution into the tail.

Jeff
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May the road rise to meet you, May the wind be always at your back, May the sun shine warm upon your face, The rains fall soft upon your fields and, Until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

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#3109153 - 06/18/09 Re: Tips on skinning out a fox tail/coon tail [Re: rost495]
oldtrapper Online   content
Campfire Outfitter

Registered: 03/30/08
Posts: 7634
Loc: South Black Hills
Pliers work great but, the best for my nickel is a log chain hook.
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