Travis asked me for a quick instruction on how to skin and stretch for the fur market, so thought I would share with everyone that didn’t know how, if you have additional comments feel free, as I’m sure I forgot something, as I did this pretty quick, the pictures I took of stretchers a few years ago for a guy I was selling them too, and not for this "instruction" sheet, So they are for reference only as to what a stretcher might look like. 1st any animal ( or should I say varmint, as beavers and a few other are different) that you are going to sale to the fur market need to be case/tube skinned. You start of by cutting all the way around near the ankle of each of the 4 legs. Then you cut down the back of each HIND leg up to the anus, then you pull the hide down, at this point you can hand the dog up by a gambrel or rope on a tree or post or what ever. Then I split the tail down the underneath side all the way to the tip, some people pull the tail out with a tail puller and then split the tail with a tail "zipper" , either way the tail bone has to come out, and the tail has to be split. (Dog or cat) then you "peel" the hide straight down, if the animal is warm it "peels" much easier. As you get down to the chest front legs, it is important to be careful as it is very easy to cut holes here between the legs and chest area. But keep working down. A trick of the trade is once you have a "hole" where the top of the shoulder would be, and the neck, then insert a long screwdriver or other similar stout rod, and pull straight down and this will easily pull the hide down the legs, to the cut you already made around the ankle, then you can just pull the leg out through the hole, doing the same to the other side, then down the neck, over the top of the back of the head and on off the skull, Some people don’t worry to much about the bottom lip and leave about 3 inches on the carcass, HOWEVER, I bielve that you should skin the entire head out. And I’ll explain why, to me it is all about presentation, to me your finished product looks and SALES better, I’m not going to argue with those that cut the bottom part of the bottom lip off, that’s fine if you do it that way. BUT A quick story here, me and my trapping/calling partner each had about 35 coyotes 2 years ago to sale I got on average $2.00 more a coyote for my coyotes then he did. We do everything else EXACTLY the same, skinning, washing, stretching, etc... EXCEPT he cuts the bottom lip off and I do not, ( well he used to he doesn’t anymore) To me it was presentation, my coyotes looked more professionaly handled then did his... were they? No they were handled just the same.... were my coyotes that much better? NO we got them together in the same country.... MY only explanation was the bottom lip, I really don’t know, but that was the only variable that I could see that was different in our dogs, and if your going to take the time to stretch and skin the stinking things then why not get $2.00 more for each of them? Anyway once the coyote is skinned then you need to "flesh them" , I argued with an old trapper down at the trapping school we had to go through several years ago, he washed and then fleshed, I flesh and then wash, and here is why, well let me back up on how to flesh, I have an old 2x8 that I made into a fleshing beam, with a "point" at one end, I pull the inside out hide over the beam, then I take a fleshing draw knife, or other similar fleshing tool, and you have to scrape all of the flesh, and fat off of the hide, and why I do that before washing is because as you pull all of that fat down to the bottom of the dog, it saturates the bottom ring of hair, and if you wash first you have this nasty ring of fatty grease on the hair.... BUT do whish ever you want first.... but you have to get all the flesh and fat off, then I sew up any bullet holes or skinning hole in the hide, then I turn the hide fur side out and I wash all the blood and dirt out in a bucket of water outside, for all of you BRAVE guys go ahead and do it in your laundry room sink But I do it out side with the garden hose and a bucket. Then I shake all the water out and let it hang over a close line for a few minutes to get any excess water out. ( a guy I know, has one of those old time ring roller washers that he runs the hide through and it rings all the water out, pretty slick) anyway then you put it on a stretcher FUR SIDE IN, and you stretch it out, there are two types of stretchers, the wire type ( I don’t have any, and so no pictures) and the wood type, I made these. You stretch the hide over it and pin the bottom legs and tail as far down as you can, then you let it sit for 12-20 hours depending on how hot it is outside, anyway you let it dry enough to be pretty dry but not all the way, the hide will kind of get a shine to it, and be tacky to the touch, then you turn the hide inside out, or right side out, FUR OUT, and re-stretch it back on the stretcher and leave it a week or so. IF you leave the hide to long with the fur side in you will NOT be able to turn it, it will tear, you can take a wet sponge and re-hydrate it a little until you can turn it. Anyway once it is dry it is ready to sale, I usually brush it out a little and fluff it is best I can..... Anyway please ignore typos, and misspelled words, and if anyone else has any pointers please feel free to jump in here, there are obviously "several ways to skin a cat" good luck tommy Wanna kill these ads? We can help!