Preparing a Coyote Pelt

Mojave

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Many of the posts here describe skinning out a Coyote, after taking him. I see a fair number of Coyotes, while out in the field, but hesitate to shoot an animal that I won't utilize for more than sport. I have read a little about "tanning" a skin for leather, but how do I treat a pelt to make the hide supple, without ruining the hair? The hides I have seen for sale at Indian "pow-wows" have been pretty stiff, and a bit strong in smell.
 

songdog

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You can get a number of different tanning kits from Van Dykes (a Cabela's company).  After you try two or three of them you'll start sending them in to get them done.  At least that's what I did.  

It's fun to try it a couple of times and have one that you did yourself but like many things in life, the specialists can do a much better job at it that those of us who just try it occasionally.

After you skin them, wash the hide and stretch it, there shouldn't be a bad odor.  They will smell like a coyote (which isn't that great) but it shouldn't be any kind of rotting or spoiling type of smell.  If that's the case, there's either too much fat, saddle muscle or something still on the hide or it's been wet for too long.

I use a 20" box fan ($9.99 at Walmart) on top of a milk crate blowing straight upwards and then hang the coyote on the stretcher just above it.  The fan blows air up inside the hide and dries it out much quicker.

Before skinning them, I like to give them a quick shot of regular dog flea spray.  Kills the bugs pretty quickly and makes the skinning job a little less annoying.
 

Mojave

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Thanks, Songdog, for the tips, and I do think I will try it at least once for myself. Couple of questions: How much does a pro charge for processing a pelt? Do you make your own stretchers? If so, what is a good average size? When you do it yourself, is there a way to get the stiffness out of the pelt? Thanks, again -
 

songdog

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If you send in a single pelt, it might be as high as $50.  I think that's about tops though.  Realistically, most places will do it for $20-30.  If you send in multiple, they'll go lower.  One of the better ways to do it is shoot 5 and have them tan two of them in exchange for the other three (or some similar ratio).

I've made my own stretchers but after using the store bought metals ones, I'm not going back.  One, they're way lighter.  Two, with less surface area in contact with the hide, the skins dry quicker which means less possibility of hair slipping.  Three, for about $6/stretcher, I have a hard time justifying the cost of materials and time to build my own.

Tanning them is pretty much the only way to get that stiffness out.  

You might want to try Rocky Mountain Fireworks & Fur (yup, they sell fireworks and furs).  They're in Idaho and their number is 208-459-6894.  They'll tan what you send them and/or they'll trade you some tanning for extra furs.  They also have trapping supplies if you want to ask them about stretchers.

I haven't sent these guys furs yet but I will this year.  I stopped by there while I was in ID bird hunting... they're good folk.

(Edited by songdog at 4:19 pm on Dec. 10, 2001)
 

joatmon

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When or if you wash them put some dawn dishwashing deturgent in the water it's antibactieral and makes them smell better.
After stretching them you can break the fibers by running them across a board kinda like shoe shine style and then put some neats foot oil on it
Bob
 

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