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#174726 - 08/04/01 10:27 PM Fur Tip #3 (Freezing Hides)
River Runner Offline
PM is my life

Registered: 04/21/01
Posts: 8930
Loc: Bloomington, WI
Freezing Hides.

Back in June we talked about pulling them hides from the freezer that we prized enough to store for future projects.
We're going to take a little trip back in time and talk about putting them in the freezer, today.
One of the most important factors in finished hide quality is how the hide was handled in the field.
The object is to skin the animal and cool the hide as soon as possible. Now if we're out calling Coyotes in -10 degree temps, this won't be real difficult. Never the less, the sooner the hide is removed from the carcass the easier it will be to remove all together...on any species. Also the hide will cool faster off the carcass then it will on. That hide keeps the animal warm in the middle of winter and will continue to hold heat inside the animal after it's dispatched for some time if not removed right away.
A real slick technique is to simply skin the animal, and if your hunting in fairly cold temps, hang the hide somewhere safe to cool down before freezing it. If your hunting in a fairly warm climate, I recommend laying the skin out flat uncovered in a freezer or a cooler for a while before folding it up and storing it in the freezer to freeze.
As mentioned before, if that hide kept the critter warm all winter it will surely hold some warm pockets within itself for some time if folded up and placed in the freezer immediately. I've had it happen and so have others. The results are bald spots in the fur side of the finished hide.
I always tell people who ask, to try and get as much blood and meat off the hide as possible before freezing them. Number one it cuts down on the bacteria sources, two...they are a little less messy to handle.
I get countless e-mails every year, folks asking me what they did wrong. "I froze my deer hide, coyote hide, fox hide, whatever hide...six months ago and when I took it out there were spots that seemed to never freeze and the hide smells bad. Is it still good?"
No, the hide really isn't much good now. Warm spots in a hide are pretty common when proper preparation as described above isn't observed. Either the hide not being cooled before folded up to be frozen or blood and other matter left on the hide causes little pockets of bacteria to form and breed. Bacteria will build heat inside of a frozen hide and thaw it completely out, right in the freezer. It is not phenomenal for this to happen. If you can clean up your hides and cool them considerably before freezing them, it is wise to do so.
One last thing, if you choose to freeze your hides for storage...DO NOT SALT THEM before you put them in the freezer. Salting hides is a whole different method of storing them. Many folks seem to think that salting them before freezing them is the only way to do it. This is a myth, a wives tale, a folk lore, whatever you choose to call it, it's wrong. I would like to know how this all got started. We sprinkle salt on our sidewalks in the winter to keep them from freezing. What do you think salting our hides before freezing them is going to do?

Next tip posting, Salting Hides.

~River Runner~

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#174727 - 08/07/01 06:27 PM Re: Fur Tip #3 (Freezing Hides)
jwcw13 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/08/01
Posts: 34
Loc: Hardy, Arkansas USA
thanks for the great tips River Runner
commonsense will go a very long ways!!!

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#174728 - 08/25/01 10:46 PM Re: Fur Tip #3 (Freezing Hides)
KRAZYHORSE Offline
Seasoned Member

Registered: 07/18/01
Posts: 142
Loc: AR
River Runner,

What is the best way to get the blood and meat and what-not off of the hide?

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#174729 - 08/26/01 04:09 AM Re: Fur Tip #3 (Freezing Hides)
River Runner Offline
PM is my life

Registered: 04/21/01
Posts: 8930
Loc: Bloomington, WI
Krazyhorse,
Blood can be taken out, and or, off, with nothing more then cold water if it's fairly fresh. Hang your hide over the tailgate, or a fence post...and take a garden hose to er as a real good home method.
As far as the meat, fat, etc. The bigger the knife the better, if your doing it by hand. Depending on what type of tools you have access too, I have noticed that a pickup bed wall on the box of your truck makes an all purpose field fleshing beam. Lay your hide over the side of the box, head towards the cab and the tail to the rear, flesh side out and using the longest knife you have access to, start scraping. Keep your knife as flat as possible against the hide as you push it away from your body using both hands(one on the handle and one pushing on the the back of your blade) and it will easily peel off even the largest chunks . If you lay your hide across the bed wall close to the rear by a tail light you can lean against the truck and hold the hide from slipping away from you as you flesh it by leaning against the hide, pinching it between you and the truck.
All you really need to do is get the big stuff off. Large pieces of meat will want to rot and begin to take the derma layer of the hide with it causing slippage. The rest can be taken off here with a fleshing wheel or at another tannery. We all use wheels.

You'll also want to feel the fur over before you begin to make sure there are no burrs or other debris burried in the fur before you start fleshing. With the hide turned flesh side out, these obstacles will cause lumps in front of your knife as you go and will cause you to cut throughthe skin as you go. Not a pretty sight.

Hope that helps

~River Runner~

------------------

www.predatormasters.com

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#174730 - 08/26/01 10:25 PM Re: Fur Tip #3 (Freezing Hides)
KRAZYHORSE Offline
Seasoned Member

Registered: 07/18/01
Posts: 142
Loc: AR
Thanks River Runner, I think that will help a lot. Sorry about all the questions but I'm new to just about all of this.

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#174731 - 09/02/01 10:43 PM Re: Fur Tip #3 (Freezing Hides)
centerfire_223 Offline
Die Hard Member II

Registered: 01/01/70
Posts: 1250
Loc: Six Mile,SC & Hobbs, NM
River Runner I have a question for you. How far down do I skin the legs? Do I take it all the way to the pads of the feet?

I got to know these things cause I got a feeling this year is going to be the year.

Ronnie

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#174732 - 09/06/01 04:35 PM Re: Fur Tip #3 (Freezing Hides)
River Runner Offline
PM is my life

Registered: 04/21/01
Posts: 8930
Loc: Bloomington, WI
Ronnie,
If you want the paws left on the hide, then yes, split the legs all the way to the pad. I usually cut the leg bone right there and work on the paw bones on the bench from there, it's easier.

~River Runner~

------------------

www.predatormasters.com

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#174733 - 11/09/02 10:38 PM Re: Fur Tip #3 (Freezing Hides)
River Runner Offline
PM is my life

Registered: 04/21/01
Posts: 8930
Loc: Bloomington, WI
BTT-11/09/02

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#174734 - 12/03/06 07:38 PM Re: Fur Tip #3 (Freezing Hides) [Re: River Runner]
redfoxfur Offline
Seasoned Member

Registered: 11/07/06
Posts: 372
Loc: Pa
I have question too. If you dont have a fleshing beam is their other ways to flesh your animals. and can i roll my hides up in news papers to freeze em. Also do they need stretched?


Edited by redfoxfur (12/03/06 08:24 PM)

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