Send em in. Unless you want to do it for the experience (everyone should try it once) then I'd send it in to the pros. Much easier, quicker, cheaper and a better result. Of course, you have to do one of your own first to realize this. Check with VanDykes, they have several kits available.
Like Sondog said, it is much cheaper to send it in and get it tanned. I got a red fox and a grey fox this year, and it is costing me 15.00 per fox to have it tanned. You can definately do it on your own, but it is hours and hours of work, to work that hide into leather. I took mine to our local fur buyer, and he sends a large batch of furs to be tanned. I haven't even sold any furs this year, everything I caught I am getting tanned. I have a coyote getting tanned also, that was 25.00 to get tanned (all of mine are getting tanned with the feet on). Good luck if you decide to attempt it.
If you are experienced skinning/fleshing, I would do it myself at home (skin/flesh), Bobcat's have thin skin, and will tear easily when fleshing. Someplaces will have you ship your skinned, frozen hide (like next day or two day mail). I checked with a taxidermist to have my coyote tanned, just a tubed pelt, and it was 125.00, I took my coyote to my local "fur buyer" who buys raw furs, and offers tanning (shipped out somewhere local, to a tannery) but the price was 25.00. Some of the places I have seen on the internet, such as Aidirondack (link at top) offers tanning of your pelt also. I'm sure that there is somewhere local you could send it to. good luck with whatever you decide.
The taxidermist just takes your hide and sends it to the same fur house and charges you 2x or more. If you're not getting it made into a rug or something, there's no reason to involve your taxidermist.
Do you know of any fur buyers in the LA area, I live in the San Gabrial valley?
Thanks for the information so far, you guys have eliminated a lot of the guess work. I've never varmit hunted before so I'm in the dark as to how it goes.
I don't know of any in CA. I send mine out of state. Someone like Rocky Mountain Fireworks & Fur would be a good bet. Check some of the past messages and you should find their contact info. I met them this fall in ID and they're some pretty decent folk.
After I skin the yote and have it stretched inside out on the wire stretcher should I salt it? How do you recomend carring the skins? In the back of the truck or in something to keep them clean? How do you store them when you get home?
I will be going out for the first time this saturday and in the event I score, I want to know the do's and do nots. I contacted Rocky Mountain Furs this week and they say skin, stretch, and dry. They evaluate how much they're worth when they recieve them.
Where is the best place to shoot'em with a shotgun? rifle?
It should only stay skin (leather) side out for a little while. Just until it's not tacky any more but still flexible. After that flip it right side (fur) out and let it dry from there. You shouldn't need any salt this way. Make sure you get off all the saddle muscle, etc. from the hide. The cleaner the hide (leather) the less chance there is for spoilage.
In SoCal where it's really dry, the pelt is normally dry in about a week or even sooner. It should be hard. Kind of like thin cardboard. You can't leave it on the stretcher too long but you can take it off too soon. Since stretchers are all of $6-$7 each you can probably aford to get a couple and keep them on longer. I've used a cheap box fan to dry them quicker and fluff the fur. A dog grooming brush going against the grain also works well. Best part is they don't move all over the place when you brush them, like your pet, when they're on a stretcher :wink-yellow:
Shotguns are the most forgiving on pelts. There's typically no need to sew up any of the holes as they're so small. Same with a rifle. Any small hole can just be left. It's when you get a big (quarter sized or bigger) hole that you need to sew it up. Do this when the pelt is still green (wet) and it will dry the right way.
Best place to shoot them? In the head if you have a choice. Realistically, right in the same spot you'd shoot a deer for a heart/lung shot. Try and avoid that shoulder unless you like sewing.
Also, if you are getting it tanned, I rub BORAX soap powder into the ears, eyes, and when I get the feet tanned with the hide, I open them up with cloths pins and rub borax down into the toes as well. I would recommend tanning anything you get, fur prices are LOW, we are getting about 15.00 for a good prime coyote pelt, 10-12.00 for a red fox.
Case skin them and use those little teeth to hook into the end of the skin where the leg use to be. Just pull it taught. No need to "stretch" the hide. It will pull back/shrink when it starts to dry. Those little teeth just hold it in place.
Most coyotes aren't skinned with their feet on so you can get rid of them any way you choose. Bobcats are normally skinned with the feet attached so you get the claws included. That just means splitting them up the bottom side of the pad on the bottom of their foot. It's pretty easy... just takes more time.