Your going on safari somewhere, anywhere, things to watch from a taxidermist view...

Discussion in 'Taxidermy' started by The Artistry of Wildlife, Aug 2, 2014.

  1. The Artistry of Wildlife

    The Artistry of Wildlife SPONSOR AH Veteran

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    Hello to all here on AH ,

    Here's a few tips from a taxidermist view of your next trip

    The quality of your mount depends on NOT just the taxidermist, tho' that is a very big part of it.

    A whole lot depends on the Skinners and fleshers and salt shed help that your PH has hired to do the important work of preparing and salting your skins. Here is a quick and easy way to make sure they are doing the job right and correctly.

    This IS EASY !!!!! You don't have to be a pro at this....

    If you don't know how to prep a cape or skin , just act like you do.

    Take some time and spend it in the shed, not just a moment. Spend some time SITTING, literally, in on the process, Watch them and be interested. That alone keeps them on their toes, They will think you know how to do it.

    Offer them a smoke, If you don't smoke take some with you, they are a great tool for personal interaction.

    Look at the skins and look for any RED meat or Yellow or white fat on the skin. if you see it touch it pull on it point to it and nod your head showing them you see it, they know its not suppose to be there. If they don't acknowledge it pull your knife and cut if off the cape. You just let them know your interested and know what they should be doing.

    No red meat should be on the cape before salting EXCEPT very small amounts of the lip muscle and eye muscle when and after it is split open.

    The lips should be completely laid open, splitting is what we call it, The easiest way to describe splitting to a layman is look at a hotdog bun that is not cut, the bun is the lip of your game , a knife is used to slice the bun open to put in the hotdog without cutting thru the back to open it flat. Same goes for the lips so the salt can do it's work and penetrate to the hair roots and set them, small amounts of red lip muscle can remain to strengthen the hide during shipping. The salt will penetrate 1/8 to 1/4 of red tissue and still preserve the skin anymore and you risk dermis and hair loss.

    The nose should be laid open also and the cartilage should be opened in the middle. Just as the lips are done.

    Ears , these have to turned inside out for the salt to work. The ears when done correctly LOOK like and ear turned inside out. Think of your socks. Watch yourself take off a pair of socks grabbing them from the top and pulling them off. They look the same either way. The ear is skinned the same way. It takes patience and a steady hand not to cut holes in ears. Look at the skinning of the ears. If they look like 1/2 ears they are not done right yet. You should get at least 3/4 look of the ears turned 7/8 look is better.

    The base of the ear, the cartilage base , the red meat should be off the base as clean as it can get.

    The skin before salting should have NO RED TISSUE, BLOOD CLOTS, VIENS, WHITE FAT OR YELLOW FAT ON IT AT ALL AND NO GREASE, Salt will not and can't preserve a hide covered in grease the salt will not penetrate it ! All the bones on the feet on life-size mounts should be removed. If you can't stick your thumb into a hole where the hoof is that last 1" or 2" toe bone is still in it. It will slip hair their unless removed. The hoof can remain but look INSIDE and make sure the bone is taken out. The skin it should be clean and white , before salting , with one exception....where you shot it there will be a big red spot that is the bruise and it's inside the dermis fibers, no worry. That's the salts JOB.

    Lastly before salting, the eyes. THE MOST IMPORTANT PART. Look at the eyes as a small set of lips in a circle, Think of a bagel..Okay stop laughing I'm trying to do this in the ultimate layman's terms.

    The eyes have muscles all around them. Like taking your knife and cutting the the bagel middle and NOT CUTTING thru the center hole of it. The lifting the edges of the bagel and inserting your favorite spread. The bagel is the eye and your favorite spread si the salt. It has to get into the bagel without damaging the center ( the eye ) and preserve the eye skin and lashes. make any sense.? That's how and eye is split open and salted.

    Salting the skin,NEVER USE OLD SALT. The salt should be fresh and not wet feeling or clumpy. Used salt even re dried has the proteins and bacteria still in it from the previous use and will not wick anymore from your skins and damage them.

    This is Important.... The salt that SHOULD be used is FINE GRAIN. JUST Like table salt. NOT ROCK SALT.

    I truly mean it ....the finer the better. The large rock salt type granules will not touch all the skin as needed. SEA SALT is not the best to use. The minerals in Sea Salt are not kind to capes for taxidermy.

    The salt when the hide is ready should be RUBBED into each and every crevice of the skin,the lips and eyes rubbed well, very well with the salt.

    The skin should be Laid out flat and covered with at least 1" of salt EVERYWHERE for 24 hours
    " IN THE SHADE. INSIDE , NEVER IN THE SUN, EVER !

    DRY A CAPE OR LIFE-SIZE SKIN IN THE SUN OR OVER HEAT AND YOU WILL NOT GET IT MOUNTED IT WILL BE UNMOUNTABLE !

    After 24 hours shake of all salt and re-salt with fresh salt leave another 24 hours.
    After that shake off and hang to dry in a building or out of the SUN!

    3/4 dry fold never fold a completely dry hide it will crack the fibers and then when tanned break apart.

    Interacting with your skinners for even short time as they work in the skinning shed makes that personal connection deeper and your watching them shows you care about there job and they job they do for you.

    The campfire will still be there in a few minutes, Take the time to interact in the shed it will be well spent !
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 2, 2014
  2. Royal27

    Royal27 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    GREAT information! !!

    Thanks Dennis!!!
     
  3. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Dennis, I ran into a new one in Namibia on my first trip.
    They "brined" the cape over night in Saturated salt water with some Detol mixed in. (Not sure about the amount of Detol.)
    It was fleshed and clean before it went swimming.
    It was kept cold over night and then taken to the local taxidermist to salt it and dry it in the morning.
    (Close proximity to the town)

    I usually hunt in a cold dry environment, so dealing with heat and dried blood had never entered into my caping process.
    Freezing capes is much easier at -20C.

    Thanks for the run down.
     
  4. The Artistry of Wildlife

    The Artistry of Wildlife SPONSOR AH Veteran

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    I'd be okay with a 30 min or less wash but the brine , it should be so saturated that it can't dissolve anymore salt. at least 50LBS to 50 gallons Minimum . But I personally would not do an overnight at all, but we all have ways to do things. In N A you would never do that the real point to salting is to remove moisture from a skin asap to stop bacteria from growing thus preventing hair and dermis loss, My white lions, 30 min wash, brine 50lbs salt 50 gallons water pull drain and salt right then with 100lbs salt. They came out perfect. what was the result of the soak they did for your skins? I'm curious,
     
  5. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    It sure had my interest peaked.
    I would certainly never do it here in NA.

    I guess the Detol must have been the bacteria control mechanism.
     
  6. ActionBob

    ActionBob AH Fanatic

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    Wow Dennis thanks for all the great info. This is on to print off and stuff in the gun case for the next trip.
     
  7. The Artistry of Wildlife

    The Artistry of Wildlife SPONSOR AH Veteran

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    I would think so to. It sure would need it or I wouldn't sleep that night LOL
     
  8. AfricaHunting.com

    AfricaHunting.com FOUNDER AH Ambassador

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    Great valuable information, thanks for sharing Dennis!
     
  9. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Denis, If it had not been in a cooler, I imagined upon awaking to something akin to the worst stinky sloppy green goo.
    I took them at their word and trusted them.
     
  10. The Artistry of Wildlife

    The Artistry of Wildlife SPONSOR AH Veteran

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    The salt in the solution had to be so saturated to the point of leeching it out of the water that the skin could not absorb any water and swell it or it would have made the skins a 1/2 thick or more.
     
  11. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    The next day the Eland cape was the same thickness and I could not really feel any added weight from water retention. (Not that I had held a lot of Eland capes at that point.)
     
  12. The Artistry of Wildlife

    The Artistry of Wildlife SPONSOR AH Veteran

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    Yep they did good then....
     
  13. CAustin

    CAustin AH Fanatic

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    Thank you sir for sharing this information with all of us.
     
  14. Blue Skies Hunting Adventures

    Blue Skies Hunting Adventures AH Enthusiast

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    Great information Dennis, I'm sure I'll refer back to this thread often!
     
  15. Nyati

    Nyati AH Legend

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    Thanks for the info, Dennis !
     
  16. bluey

    bluey GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Great thread dennis
    We have used a salty brine ,overnight in the coolroom with a power of metho in the mix (to kill germs)
    It was at the end janurary (middle of summer) to cool the cape of a hard velvet fallow stag it was 38 c that morning
    The taxidermist said that it definately ,didnt hurt.
    He even suggested if we tried it again ,to pour in some formulane.
     
  17. The Artistry of Wildlife

    The Artistry of Wildlife SPONSOR AH Veteran

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    I'm commenting on these procedures but I do not recommend them. Using salt in a solution is risky without salimeter to know the density of the solution and putting any fomaline, an offshoot of formaldehyde a known cancer causing agent are not the best procedures. Many may work , all water type solutions are a risk. The MAIN REASON we as hunters salt skin is to remove moisture , that stops bateria growth. Any moisture added to a skin can add to this problem. Some may work others not if your using anything but salt to prep your hides I as a taxidermist for 42 years would not advise it, only a quick wash and immediate salting.
     
  18. PeteG

    PeteG AH Enthusiast

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    Very interesting write up and comments.
     
  19. johnnyblues

    johnnyblues AH Veteran

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    Great info...
     
  20. ScottG

    ScottG AH Veteran

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    Thank you Sir. Great info very valuable.
     

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