Discussion in 'Taxidermy' started by The Artistry of Wildlife, Aug 2, 2014.
We use the salt solution in water with great success. The salt gets mixed into the water, until the water becomes satisfied. Therefor, the salt is so strong, that no more salt dissolves when mixed into the solution. The capes gets laid in the salt water solution for a period of time. Anybody knows that liquid penetrates better than any solid.
Once we remove the capes and skins from the water, we hang them to dry, to get rid of all the excess water. Once the excess water is gone, we salt the capes with new, dry salt.
As the last liquid on the cape/skin evaporates, it forms salt crystals on the hides, meaning that every square inch and every crevasse of the cape/hide gets covered. This stops any part getting missed during the salting process causing rot, and effectively causing hair slip.
KMG , I am not knocking your procedure. IF done correctly and has a short, very short stay in the solution yes it works. But do you know how many people really know what total salt saturation is. at O * C it's 36 grams per 100 ml and almost 40 grams per 100ml at boiling point VERY FEW know this. They just put some salt in water and guess and then roll the dice. IF it's not done CORRECTLY your taking a heck of a chance. It is never done in the states at all. Have never heard of anyone doing it and been in the industry for 45 years. Your process works and you know what your doing. I had MY LIONS soaked...for 1 hour no more,this was the first time I saw it done and they used 50Lbs per 50 gallons. That's good, to make sure the water can't take be saturated by one more grain. This solution will work for saturation but the purpose of salting it is to pull the natural proteins out of the skin not to put anything in to it. Therfore stablizing the skin and drying it so bacteria has no way to grow. This type of solution has no acid in it and therefore in no way preserving the hide. If the hide is left to long in this solution It will slip. That is all I am really saying about the solution method. To me it is risky but you have found a great option that works for you and I'm sure it was developed over time trail and error somewhere and passed along to you. I know you have a good reputation with your clients and I congratulate you on that and their skin care, Good Job !
Thanks Dennis. Good to have a guy with your experience on the forum.
I guess I was not aware of the potential problems that may occur by mishandling the trophies. No wonder my neighbor takes his taxidermist with him on all his hunting trips.
I'm ALWAYS available for that ! LOL
Our last trip to Africa we had issues with hair slipping. Mine were fine, but 2 friends were not. Their mounts turned out crappy. Shouldn't of been mounted in the first place because the capes were in crappy condition. Bruce
Great info, and always good to have clients observing the work in the skinning shed. When mixing the brine, a small amount of Phenol(carbolic acid) can be mixed into the water. This really helps, but stay away it is highly poisonous.
Were they all mounted at the same taxidermy studio??? Not usual for capes from the same camp have different results. Sorry to here this...
Paw print, Phenol is VERY VERY SCARY... Can be absorbed thru the skin and IS A MAJOR cause of liver cancer.
Dennis, Thank you for starting this thread! Great information for anyone.
This is excellent advice. Than you, Brian
The dip pack companies have nothing to do with slitting lips turning ears opening eyes and removing meat and muscle or removing fat off especially cats. They have nothing to do with cuts in the skins or ripped up ears, Dip pack will take your skins and rehydrate them and remove some last of the little pieces of meat off the skin the PH skinners did not get off, THEN they soak them in a solution required by their country and countries that it will imported to.
Then re-salt and re-salt and boil up the horns and clean the skulls ready for vet clearance and shipment.
YOUR PH is responsible for the prep. the skinning, slitting turning and removal of all fat grease and meat BEFORE salting. Delays in getting your trophy to the skinning shed will cause hair slip, skinners are NOT trained as well as you might think. PH's think their guys are great, But really are they?
NOT spending time in the shed with the guys prepping the skins is a mistake. Watch them even if you don't know how to do it you'll see if they are making cuts or tearing ears then they say something. They work for you at the time of your safari, ask to see your first skin from your first trophy, pick it up and shake off the salt and LOOK at it you'll see if their are cuts and rips and problems with non turned ears and greasy fat dripping off the skins.
If a skin doesn't look CLEAN and white, IT ISN'T ready for salt, any meat on it IT'S not ready for salt. Any veins or tendons left on it or blood on it, IT aint ready for salt. Every skin should be salted for ONLY 24 hours then RE-SALTED. Then that salt removed after another 24 hours and the cape hung and air dried and no where near any direct sunlight. In the shade inside a building with very good ventilation To many skin are left in salt too long and in piles of other skins and it's an oven. Have 40 capes piled on top of each other in salt and the bottom ones are virtually being cooked! Proper prep IS the MOST lacking thing in todays safari business !
Excellent info.Thanks Dennis.
It is one of the easiest things to hide, if the hunter is not in attendance and does not inspect the capes/hides.
You only find out at home many months or years later when it is too late.
If your trophies matter put the effort in.
You just got free schooling by one of the best in the industry!
Interesting thread. Soaking the skins in a saline solution with either Dettol or F10 ( fantastic product ) added is standard procedure in my camp. The skinners know not to go easy on the salt. I only use coarse salt. Skins are soaked for a few hours. I have had skins in this saline solution overnight also. In 23 years I have not had a single skin slip. I guess it works.
Choose your outfitter wisely and you wont have to help with the skinning
Shumba, soaking is an art. I see your quite good at it. It can ruin a skin as fast as it helps it if the PH is not correct and the salinity of off and bactericide is not used. Your Dettol is really an antiseptic not quite a bacteriacide but will help and work for a short soak, yes. Coarse salt is not the best, tho I see it works for you... FINE GRAIN table salt grade IS. More of the finer crystals come in contact with the interior dermis and has much quicker draw of the raw natural proteins that the salt is used for drawing them out of the skin for preserving it.
It seems there's more than one way to skin a cat! I appreciate your tips here Dennis, always looking to improve the end product the hunter receives. I've had quite a few summer hunts this year and with that brings new challenges. I've found what works for us is to get the cape with head on into the cold room for a few hours to cool before face caping (normally until end of the day's hunting). The theory is that it's easier to cape those species prone to hair slip when the cape is cool and hair follicles are cold and tight. Once finished caping we wash the cape off and salt immediately while slightly wet. This wetness allows the salt to grip onto the hide. We use medium coarse salt mixed in with a bit of fine salt. Leave in salt for 3 days and then hang to dry. It works well for us and also have the taxidermist check the capes for constructive feedback and to establish a chain of command and responsibility.
Will follow your tip and use more fine grained salt.
The best tip I can give any outfitter is to take their skinners to visit the taxidermy studio regularly so they can see the entire process. They'll soon understand why it's important to do certain things well.
F10 is definitely the superior product to use. Interestingly I have , as an experiment , soaked my own personal game skins overnight in a saline solution , and then hung them to dry. No dry salting afterwards. They all came out and tanned perfect.
Being in a solution , the salt and bactericide/fungicide gets in everywhere where even fine salt doesn't. no bacteria and other nasties = no hair slip. It can also be used to transport a trophy back to camp that has been hunted too far away from the skinning shed. The animal is skinned on the spot and the skin put in a drum with a saline solution . The ice from the icebox is also added to bring the temperature down some.
a small plastic drum with fresh coarse salt in it and f10 added is all you need on your truck. Just add water , and a skin..
Mention should be made that when skins are taken out of the dry salt and hung to dry , care should be taken to get all excess salt out of especially the ears. Pockets of salt in the ears will draw moisture into an enclosed area and cause trouble.
I could not agree with you more on the fresh salt. Salt is cheap , trophies are not.
Thanks for the thread.
Very interesting info here... I am surprised at the comment on FINE salt vs Coarse salt.... I have trophies older than 23rys that were ALL salted in coarse salt and to date not a SINGLE problem with hair slip or otherwise. Years ago I was living in Zambia and hunted a decent Chobe bushbuck and some large Kafue lechwe ( 331/2 "). The guys that I hunted with, local friends in Zambia, had some coarse salt from Botswana that was used to salt the capes. When I foned Mike at Bengeulu Taxidermy in Lusaka to arrange the mounting etc he immediately asked.. What salt did you use? Where did it come from? He REFUSED point blank to accept the capes as he said the Botswana salt was inferior and would cause hair slip... I said I was prepared to take the risk etc ... his GREAT reply was that he wasn't prepared to do it as in years to come when all the hair fell out people would ask.. Who the hell was the taxidermist? So, he was damn right in protecting his reputation... I never got those trophies.. even eventually lost the horns, as my mate on the farm there somehow let his dogs get into the shed and they chewed up the horns/ skulls!!!
I always make a point of spending time with the skinners and showing interest in their work.
In Europe salt is not used at all. The animal is caped there and then, from the sternum to the atlas joint (head left on) and put in the chiller to hang over night (around 2-5 Degrees Celsius), then well wrapped up to stop freeze burn and frozen. Then delivered to the taxidermist and he will skin the head and any remaining flesh on the cape.
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