View Full Version : Skinnin' a raccoon
December 8, 2001, 02:52 AM
Had a little excitement this evening, just after sunset. The boy (age 7), dogs (one dobie/gr. shepard and the other Aussie shepard/?) and I were out walking on our property and the dogs took off into the 'thicket' (7 year old Dougf Firs and heavy blackberries - nearly inpassable) and there was much ruckus. The boy was playin' in his fighting hole (filled w/ H20) and I walked towards where the noise was comin' from. The dogs were on somewthin that was hissin' and spittin' like a 50 lbs tom cat. It was too dark and too much thicket to see what was going on or wade in, so we called at the dogs and after a bit the little one came out, the other one stayed in. Finally hiked to the house (150 yrds) and got a flashlight, .22 pistol and heavy staff w/ old machete blade attached. Went back and the big dog was still engaged. Waded in and and shot the critter COM. Slowed it up a tad. A couple more and it was down but not out. The devil was crawing at me! Got close and got a head shot, it stopped moving.
I had a bit of a look at it thru the brush and it seemed to be a large raccoon half the size of the Aussie Shepard. Left it in the thicket and took the dogs back to the house for first aid (little dog only one one cut the big dog had more than half a dozen on his face/head and is missing a small chunk of ear.
I have only ever cleaned fish, but would like to try use this for practice. It is 40 degrees tonight so it should be alright when I collect it tomorrow? Right?
My question is what do I need to know to undertake this project? I don't plan to us the meat, but it would be fun to collect the hide and tail. The boy has visioins of a coon skin cap.
Double Naught Spy
December 8, 2001, 06:12 AM
For mammalogy, we used a sharp knife only a couple of places. The rest of the animal was skinned via a blunt probe used to separate the skin tissue from the underlying layers of fat and muscle. The blunt probe would split the fascia without doing damage to the skin. The sharp knife was for the initial shallow incision in the belly to start the process and to ring the wrist and ankles since skinning around the toes is pretty darned tough.
If you pierce the intestines, be prepared for some really bad smells. It won't smell great anyway, but opening the intestine is the worst of ideas. Don't be surprised if the animal is ripe with fat. It is nasty, harder to manage (than a skinny animal), but this is the time of year you expect a significant fat layer in them.
December 8, 2001, 12:14 PM
Just like a cat.:D
00Spy pretty well nailed it. Make the skin incision as shallow as possibe and still get through the skin.
December 9, 2001, 03:12 AM
I got the skin off and didn't cut through the muscle. Left the skin on the head as it was torn up and bloody either from the dogs or the GSW.
It was a large critter in the 30 to 40 lbs range.
I tried first to cut it by drawing the knife (sharp) edge against the fur and this didn't do anything. So I inserted the knife edge up, at a shallow angle and ran it from stern to stem and this worked well. Once I had this initial cut I tried the blunt stick method and this didn't work well at all, so I used the knife for the whole process.
Yup, there was a fair amount of fat on the belly and around the hind legs. Alot of this came off with the hide but I trimmed it from the hide after the hide was off.
Once the hide was off I stretched and nailed it, fur side down, to a piece of plywood, covered it with salt and put it in the pump house (the only place I have that's out of the weather, aside from in the house, and where the cats, dogs and other critters wouldn't get it. Any reccommendations on this part (drying the hide) of the process? How long does it take? Does it need heat or light? Should I add more salt, if so how often? Is table salt o.k.? How much salt at a time? I didn't cake it in salt but I put enough on that it was mostly white and you couldn't see any 'features' anymore.
December 9, 2001, 04:48 PM
You already have it skinned, but I will go from start to finnish if you ever do it again. Hang coon up by hind leg, cut with tip of knife, from heel of hind foot to anus, go around anus and up to other heel. start working your fingers under skin and use knife as little as possible. Work hide off of hind legs, pull bone out of tail, a slip joint pliers works good for this, grasp tail bone at base with pliers and pull bone through(like a finger out of a glove). pull hide down to front legs, cut off paws at wrist, pull legs out , pull down to base of skull, cut off ears at base, pull down to eyes, cut around eyes, pull down to nose , cut off nose. We can skin a coon in about 2 min(after a lot of practice!).you need to scrape ALL fat off hide to get it to dry, or it will taint and hair will slip. Try to find a trapper, or houndsman near you and see if they can show you how it is done.
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