This is one of the main works that a successful hunter has to do without fail. Even for those who hunt according to feathers, the ability to remove the skin from a bird may be useful in order to preserve the memory of a rare trophy in the form of a scarecrow. True, professional taxidermists recommend that they get the bird taken home as soon as possible, wrap it in paper and freeze it in the refrigerator. Then, having agreed with the master, pass him the frozen carcass. He himself will remove the skin and continue to work with her. Some of them do not undertake to make a scarecrow out of already removed skins, because this poorly performed operation will manifest itself on the finished product, which discredits the specialist.
Having got the beast, do not rush to pack it in a backpack or hang it behind your back. If possible, we must wait until all the blood drains from the wounds so that it does not stain large areas of fur. Raising the beast by the head, a hand runs along the abdomen, freeing the carcass from urine and bowel movements.
With most animals, the skin is peeled off, starting with the rump. Exceptions are ermine and weasel – the skin is removed by stocking, starting from the mouth; from a bear, beaver, badger, mole – removed with a layer (carpet), starting with the womb.
Before removing the tube, cuts are made on the skin on the inside of the hind legs from the middle finger to the anus and on the front legs to the elbow or shoulder joint. The rectum is cut and the skin on the tail is cut from below to remove the vertebrae. They begin to shoot from their hind legs, if possible using a knife with which it is easy to cut the skin. But you should not get carried away with excessive “stripping”, especially if the mezdra is thin and weak, like a hare, it is easy to tear it.
By the way, often right on the hunt, if time permits, they remove not very valuable skins by hanging the animal on a tree. It is advisable to work with more expensive prey at home, in good light, when your hands are not frozen in the wind.
When the hind legs are finished, the carcass should be hung behind them at a level convenient for further work. When the turn comes, the front legs release just like the hind legs. Especially you have to tinker with the head, cutting the eyelids from the inside and lips directly at the gums. It is convenient to pull out the cartilage from the ears with pliers.
There are certain shooting rules for almost every type of animal. When only state organizations were engaged in the procurement of furs, its grade and, accordingly, payment depended on the correctness of skinning and drying. For example, the skins of animals with valuable delicate fur are removed together with the claws and, after preliminary drying, they are turned out with the fur outside when the mezra is still soft. Then they are dried completely. The same goes for the skin of a wolf, a raccoon dog.
The squirrel skin is removed to the fingers and front and hind legs without leaving claws.
When removing the hare skin, “pre-cut around the calcaneal joints of the hind legs and make a transverse incision along the inside of the legs to the anus, remove the skin from the front paws to the metacarpal joint”.
To remove the skin of a fox and a wolf, “first make a transverse incision along the middle cushion of the hind legs, on the back side of the lower leg and thigh to the anus, the latter is cut. The skin of the tail is trimmed on the inside. The front paws rip from the back of the wrist to the elbow joint. From the ends of the paws, the skin should be pulled to the final phalanges of the fingers, then plucked off with nippers. Claws should stay. ”
The layer is removed almost in the same way, but in addition to the incisions already described, they primarily make the main one – from the lower lip along the womb to the anus, and the incisions on the front legs are connected through the chest. Putting the beast on its back, skinning begins from the middle of the main incision to the sides. It does not hinder the hunter to learn how to remove the skin of a mole. First, the legs and tail are trimmed, then the skin is paired with a sharp knife from the lower lip along the womb to the end. The skin is separated from the body with your fingers.
A modern hunter does not often take off the skin with a stocking. The method is that no incisions are made. The animal’s lips are cut near the gums and nasal cartilage, leaving the nose itself; the ears are pulled from the cartilage, and their eyes and eyelids are cut. Then the skin is gradually pulled “like a stocking” from the body and legs, cutting them at the very claws.
In gaining experience, one must try to avoid characteristic defects. Tears and cuts have already been mentioned. Tucks appear when a sharp knife cuts off a layer of mezra, where the hair will not hold firmly. You can not lose a single part of the skin, even the valuable ones go to business with valuable ones. It is bad if pieces of meat, tendons, fat remain and dry on the mezdra.
The latter is specially deleted immediately after shooting. So they say: the skin must be degreased. To do this, put the skins out of their skins on a blank, which can be used as an appropriate length piece of round wood, pointed, with a smoothly processed surface. An ordinary half-liter bottle is almost perfect for muskrat skin.