Tanning is a process that has been used since ancient days to preserve the hides and pelts of animals. Many hunters choose to tan a catch as a way of making resourceful use of the animal, while others enjoy displaying the animal to boast of their kill. In either case, the coyote is a good choice for the beginning tanner. Its small size makes it easier than a larger animal to practice with.
Skin the coyote with a sharp knife. Begin by making two cuts at each of the hind feet up to the anus. From the anus, make a cut up the tail that is approximately three inches long. Now cut all around the hind feet.
Peel down the skin around the tail so that you can see the tailbone. Place a tail stripper around the tailbone and pull the bone out. Once the bone is out, skin the hind legs so that the pelt goes over the front legs of the coyote.
Pull the hind legs over the head, using a lot of pressure at the neck. You can now separate the pelt from the carcass of the coyote.
Using a platic garbage can, soak the skin in clean, cold water for 2 to 4 hours. Remove the skin when it begins to soften.
Scrape off any remaining flesh with a sharp knife.
Place the freshly soaked and cleaned skin in a mixture of baking soda and lukewarm water. You will need 1 ounce of baking soda for every gallon of water. Make sure that the animal skin is fully submerged in the solution. Remove after 20 minutes and place on a piece of particle board, skin-side-up.
Scud the skin using the back edge of a knife. Hold the knife almost flat against the side of the animal and work over the entire skin to remove debris. Once you have cleaned the skin thoroughly, rinse it in lukewarm water.
Create a tanning solution in another plastic garbage can by mixing 1 pound of aluminum salt with 1 gallon of water. In a separate container, dissolve 4 ounces of crystallized sodium carbonate and eight ounces of salt into 1/2 gallon of water. Pour the sodium carbonate and salt slowly into the aluminum salt while mixing rapidly.
Soak the skin in this mixture for 3 to 4 days, making certain that all the skin is fully submerged in the solution.
Remove and rinse clean using a gallon of water mixed with an ounce of borax. Rinse once more with clean, cool water and lay flat on a piece of particle board with the skin facing up. Press out any excess water and allow to partially dry.
Apply a layer of fat-oil to the semi-dried coyote skin using a paintbrush. Allow the oil to absorb for 30 minutes, and apply another layer. Cover the hide with a sheet of plastic and allow it to sit overnight.
Place the hide on a sawhorse, with the hair side facing out and dry the hair out with an electric fan.
Nail the hide to a piece of plywood with the skin facing out and allow it to dry. Once the skin is almost completely dry, remove it from the plywood and stretch it out thoroughly. You will want to move it in every direction and from corner to corner. This will ensure that a soft skin is created. You have now successfully skinned and tanned a coyote.
Items you will need
- Sharp knife
- Tail stripper
- Garbage can
- Baking soda
- Aluminum salt
- Crystallized sodium carbonate
- Saw horse
- Sheet of plastic
- Electric fan
As you are skinning the coyote, use a knife to remove any connective tissue that you come across. Most of the supplies you need can be purchased at a local taxidermy store or through a taxidermy catalog. Skinning and tanning an animal can be a time consuming process. If you are short on time, there are taxidermists that can complete the process for you.
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