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Coyotes are skinned in the cased method and the pelt is pulled over a stretching board to dry. The fur market is strict about furs being finished in the proper shape. The value quickly drops if the pelts do not follow industry standards. Wooden stretcher boards are cut in the proper shape to ensure market compatibility. Stretchers for coyote should be cut from solid boards such as pine or basswood 1/2 to 3/4 inches thick. Exterior plywood 3/8 inch thick can be used if the edges are well sanded and smooth.
Items you will need
Board, 12 inches wide by 5 feet long
Straightedge, 4 feet long
Saw, electric jig or saber
Sand paper, medium- and fine-grit
Liquid wood sealer
Paintbrush, 2 inches wide
Lay the board on a flat surface and measure down 12 inches from the top. Draw a line horizontally across the board with the straightedge at the 12-inch mark.
Measure 1 inch in from each side of the board on the 12-inch line and mark each on the line. This will be the shoulder of the stretcher.
Lay the straightedge on the board, one end at a bottom corner of the board and the other end on the 1-inch shoulder mark on the same side. Draw a line on the board from the bottom corner to the 1-inch mark. Repeat the line on the opposite side of the board.
Measure across the top of the board and make a mark at the exact center. Measure 1/4 inch to each side of the center mark and mark these so that there is 1/2 inch between the two marks. This is the nose of the stretcher.
Draw by hand a slightly rounded bullet-shaped line from the 1-inch shoulder mark to the outside nose mark on the same side. Repeat on the opposite side. The two rounded lines should make a symmetrical bullet shape; adjust the lines until it does.
Cut out the board following the lines.
Rasp the edges on both sides of the board from the base to the tip of the nose until they are rounded. Push the rasp down from the flat side of the board toward the center of the edge. Rasp one side and then turn the board over and rasp the same edge from the reverse side.
Sand the edges until smooth and rounded with medium-grit sandpaper. Sand the board and edges a second time with fine-grit sand paper.
Wipe the sanding dust off the board and paint it with waterproof sealer. Let it dry for 24 hours. Paint on a second coat. Allow it to dry completely.
Dave P. Fisher is an internationally published and award-winning Western novelist and short-story writer. His work has appeared in several anthologies and his nonfiction articles in outdoor magazines. An avid outdoorsman, Fisher has more than 40 years of experience as a hunter, trapper, fisherman, taxidermist, professional fly-tyer, horsepacker and guide.