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k4collins

Groundhog skin preservation?

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My son just shot a big groundhog with a beautiful full pelt and brought it to me... with a big smile, "Hey Dad - can you tie some flies with this?" :D SOOO, I recall seeing someone reference directions somewhere but I can't find that topic.... anyone able to lend a suggestion on the best curing method? Thanks all!

 

Ken

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Cut from the anus down to the feet and make a circular cut around the feet. Then begin to pull the skin off . When you get the skin to the ends of the wrists make anouther circular cut around both. Continue to pull down until you reach the head. Using your knife continue to pull down triming the pelt away from the head around the ears, eyes, and mouth. Using a sharp knife scrap all the fat off the cased pelt. If you leave any fat on the skin it will turn rancid andmake the finished pelt smell bad. Get a wire strecher from you local trapping supply store and hang the pelt somewhere cool and dry, to dry out. A fan might speed this along. Once the pelt is dry with no moisture to it you can place it in a plastic bag and it will keep for years.

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Ya gotta scrape off the fat from the skin, and then treat with Borax and salt. I do it this way:

 

Nail it to a board, and scrape off all the fat you can. Cover the entire skin with a layer of Borax. Let sit a day or two and then remove the borax and scrape the skin again getting off more fat. Cover with salt and borax. Repeat this until the pelt is dry and stiff. If you notice any fat scrape again. Usually takes a couple of weeks and 4-5 scrapings. This method will give you a dry stiff pelt. I usually cut it into strips or squares and share with my buddies. Store with moth crystals in an airtight container. You could also tan the pelt but you will need advise from others on how to do that.

 

Good luck. Groundhog is a great material.

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Hi Ken...might I suggest scouring EBay or bookfinder.com for a used copy of Eric Leiser's Fly Tying Materials; Their Procurment and Protection. I still regularly consult my copy which Eric signed to me in 1973!

It has excellent chapters on salvaging roadkill etc as well as storing the materials. While it is a little dated, it is still excellent; I'm pretty sure there is a specific pattern in there just for that skin...they make nice caddis.

If you get lucky, you should be able to find that book for under 20.00.

Hot Tuna

 

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Wow...just checked bookfinder.com and there are multiple used copies available for under 7.00 including the shipping! Book prices are real soft right now....stock up...

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Thank you, everyone, for your feedback!

 

Tuna and Caddis ~ I'll take a look at bookfinder later today. My son has just started shooting (he's going to be 9 soon) and he's hot for me to tie flies with the birds and animals that he gets so that book wil be terrific!

 

I've recently discovered this site and am VERY encouraged by the supportive feedback and helpfulness of the members, to other members of all ability levels! This site rocks!! :headbang:

 

Thanks again and I'll try to post a shot of a groundhog fly when the time comes!!

 

~k1

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