When trapping or killing a fox, it is imperative that it is skinned immediately as failure to do so may force it into rigor mortis, an irreparable condition which requires immediate medical intervention or can even prove fatal for the animal.
Skinning a fox doesn’t have to be difficult if you have patience and the appropriate tools. Learn the techniques, and you could soon become an expert!
Hanging the fox
Skinning a fox is one of the first steps involved with taxidermy preparation, and can be a challenging yet tedious process that takes patience to accomplish successfully. By following all the necessary steps and prepping all necessary gear prior to beginning skinning a fox skinning can become much simpler.
Before hanging your fox, be sure to lay a tarp or similar material down below where it will be hanging, to prevent blood and other liquids from getting on your work and interfering. This will also keep any possible sharp objects from touching it accidentally!
Once your tarp has been spread out, it’s time to skin your fox. Be prepared with a sharp knife and some protective hand gloves; any mistakes could prove fatal for its future well-being.
Start off by shaving the front legs first – this will provide you with an idea of the amount of fur there is on the animal and where the cuts should occur.
Next, skin the hind legs as this will give you an understanding of where to begin skinning the animal.
Hind legs tend to have more skin than front legs. To begin, begin by skinning these and cutting deeper so as to free more pelt from your animal.
Once your hind legs have been fully skinned, you should start working on the head of your fox. First step will be cutting a slot in the back for the earliners, followed by an opening in which to insert ears.
Once you have made these two cuts, test fit the earliners to ensure they will fit naturally with the form and appear natural on your fox. Carve out nostrils so you can sculpt nose appropriately.
After you have skinned the fox, salt it to remove any residual moisture and facilitate tanning. Salting also allows you to clean off any extra fat deposits and preserve its integrity when tanning it.
Cutting the fur
Fox fur is one of the most luxurious types of fur available, boasting its fluffy appearance and being used to craft hats, coats and boots. Additionally, its durability will not fade over time.
Skinning a fox involves several steps, each designed to quickly remove its fur while keeping it as clean as possible.
As soon as your fox is head-down, use any suitable means to suspend it in this position so you can easily work on its front legs. A gambrel, loop-ended cables or nylon parachute cord may all serve to hang him/her correctly.
Once your fox is up in its stand, cutting its fur can become an intricate yet rewarding task. While time may be of essence in getting this done efficiently and on schedule, you should not delay beginning this task!
Start by cutting across the rear pad of one hind leg and continuing down its other hind leg to create a distinct color-transition line between inner and outer surface fur of each hind leg. This should create an effective border between inner and outer fur layers on each hind leg.
After this step is complete, skin the tail. Although this process may appear challenging at first, once you understand how it works it should become much simpler. Simply slit a few inches on the underside fur of the tailbone to expose its bones. Pull away from them to strip your hide.
After this step is completed, make another cut on the membrane connecting the pelt to muscles and bones, tugging gently until it has been entirely detached from its body of an animal.
Once you have successfully skinned all vulnerable parts of the fox, move on to its ears and eyes – these are of vital importance in skinning the animal properly.
Once you have successfully skinned the fox, the next step should be removing its remaining fur from its hind legs. This may prove challenging when pulling its pelt away from its bones.
As soon as you begin skinning the head of a fox, all hair should be cut off so as to prevent you from accidentally tearing through its pelt as you remove it.
Pulling the pelt
When trapping or killing foxes, it is crucial that their fur is processed immediately in order to avoid rigor mortis – which occurs when they remain too warm after death and become soft; or have prolonged sunlight exposure after they are dead.
Skinning a fox begins by hanging it by its hind legs and extracting its tail. This may require using a grizzly tarp or other protective covering on your hands in order to avoid blood staining them permanently.
Once the tail has been taken off, you can begin pulling away its pelt from around its front legs and back of neck. Be careful when skinning a fox, cutting only what necessary–for instance the membrane connecting fur with muscle–when skinning it properly.
Next, carefully scrape off any fat on the belly side of the pelt – this part can be tricky and should only be undertaken by experienced professionals.
In order to prepare your pelt for tanning, hang it in a cool and dry location on a stretcher and leave for several hours so the fur can dry completely before flipping it so the backside faces you.
Once the pelt is in this position, use two or more nails on each leg, driving them approximately one to two inches apart until you have approximately 16 nails in a row, or you have secured its tail all the way down.
Just a few minutes later, your beautiful coat will be complete!
Fleshing a fox pelt may seem daunting at first, but it is possible. Most furbearers including coyotes, foxes, and bobcats can usually be fleshed on a stretcher without too much difficulty.
Mink are known for having thick pelts with plenty of fat deposits; many buyers tend to favor mink for this reason.
Once the pelt has been fleshed, you can now cover it in plastic to freeze and wait until it reaches an appropriate temperature for tanning. Alternately, you can tack it to boards for drying purposes.
Salting the skin
Salting the skin refers to using salt to preserve animal pelts. It’s a great way to extend their lifespan while adding some color and style.
Salting a hide involves laying it on its side with the fur-side down and liberally covering all surface areas with salt. After spreading all of it on, roll up tightly and let set for 24 hours; after which time take and wipe all of it away from the pelt.
Once your hide has been salt treated, place it on an incline so any liquid that has seeped through will drain out. Once dry, hang up to complete drying.
Place the pelt somewhere that will help ensure it dries faster, as this will prevent predators from accessing it.
Once your pelt has dried, you can use it to create various items ranging from clothing and home decor decorations, to more beautiful hide taning options for greater aesthetic appeal.
Salt can also offer several beauty-related advantages to your skin. Thanks to its abundance of potassium, magnesium and calcium minerals that nourish it with essential elements that strengthen its protective barrier while aiding moisture retention, using salt can have numerous beauty-related advantages for your complexion.
Additionally, it can help alleviate skin ailments such as blemishes, inflammation and irritation. Furthermore, its powerful astringent qualities allow it to tighten pores and limit oil production within the skin.
If you want to use salt as part of a skin treatment regime, natural and organic sea salt is recommended as it has a finer texture that won’t damage the epidermis. Furthermore, you can add it to bathwater in large doses to eliminate dirt, sweat and toxins while clearing away toxins while cleansing and strengthening skin’s protective barrier.