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How To Skin A Bear For A Rug Or Full Mount

Discussion in 'MichiganBear.com' started by dsconnell, Sep 5, 2008.


  1. dsconnell

    dsconnell
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    Not sure if everyone here knows how to do it so I thought I would post this up here! Hope it helps..

    1) Start the incision just below the anus cutting towards the head. Staying centered, continue this cut up through the chest to the neck stopping at the corners of the mouth. Do not remove the bears genitals (penile sheath or vaginal opening) just keep them to one side of the incision.

    2) Decide how to handle the paws. For rugs, the paws can be taken off, but life size mounts require the pads be left on. If you are keeping the pads start at the hairline and cut around the pads, leaving one side attached to the skin also leaving the claws attached if your state requires. Slide under the pad and cut the skin from bone. If you are not keeping the pads, continue your cut around the entire pad.

    3) Cut the legs. Start at the bear's front paws and cut down to the elbow then across to the chest incision. Make sure each cut meets at the same place at the main incision. For the hind legs, start at the heel and cut down the center of the leg to about 2 inches above the anus.

    4) Starting with the rear paws, begin to remove the skin off the body. At each paw, skin down to the last digit then separate the toe bone leaving the claw with the skin.

    5) Skin the bear to the back of the head, then begin turning and cutting the ear muscle from the hide. You must turn the ear inside out being very careful not to cut the ear off the hide. Keep the cartilage on the hide as you cut it away from the skull.

    6) Keep skinning until you reach the eyes. Poke your finger into the eye and carefully cut away the membrane around the eye keeping as close to bone as you can. Slice and pull the hide down from the cheek until the teeth are exposed. Cut the lips from the gums close to the jaws, leaving as much lip on the hide as possible.

    7) Skin the bear down the nose until you reach the snout. Cut down through the bear snout right through the middle of the septum so the nose is laid open inside out on the completely separated hide.

    If there are any taxidermists here that have any other recommendations please feel free to post them..
     

    Wanna kill these ads? We can help!
  2. Biggbear

    Biggbear
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    As a Taxidermist I would like to chime in with a suggestion. The skinning method outlined is good for a rug, but not a full or half mount. I would also caution you on skinning out the paws and head. My suggestion would be to skin down each leg to the paw and cut it off at the joint, same thing with the head, cut it off where the head meets the neck and stop. This will add a little weight for shipping, but not enough to warrant risking skinning out these areas. Skinning the paws takes a little practice, as well as the head. It's not rocket science but any "extra" cuts will cost you to repair, and may not be hidden if cuts to the hide are on the the "face."

    As for a mounted bear, the hair on the belly and sometimes chest area is generally thinner than the back. An incision down the belly on a full or half mount is going to show. If you have to skin the bear to get it home, a dorsal cut should be used. In general this is an incision up the centerline of the back. The legs and head are not cut, the hide is "rolled" down from the back. When the mount is done the head and legs of the form are put in the hide like a pair of socks, and the only incision is down the back where it is easily hidden.

    Remember most taxidermists charge for "repairs" to the hide. So take your time, and try not to knick the hide. If it's possible, I suggest cooling the bear asap, and letting your taxidermist skin it their way. Sometimes that just isn't possible so after skinning fold the hide skin to skin, roll it up, and freeze the whole package prior to shipping. It will stay frozen for 24- 36 hours depending on the weather, plenty of time to fly home, or ship it next day air. Good luck to everyone!
     

  3. HunterHawk

    HunterHawk
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    good thread... someone must have saw my other thread:D ... thanks guys!!
     
  4. dsconnell

    dsconnell
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    Thanks for the heads up Big bear!

    Hawk.. Someone has to look out for you!:D
     
  5. Initaxidermy

    Initaxidermy
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    As a taxidermist, I agree with what bigbear said. Nothing worse than a spread eagle skinned bear that is supposed to be a standing up life size....One other method is the tube method. Cut from ankle to anus to ankle and tube the bear out. cut off the paws and head when you get to them and your done.

    You should know what your going to do with your bear before you(or your processor) puts a knife to it. Then ask YOUR taxidermist how they want it skinned. Call us, we want to help.

    Hugh
     
  6. sjohn139

    sjohn139
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    Great info. Thanks for the info.
     
  7. rse500sp

    rse500sp
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    Thanks for posting this important info. This weekend I got my first, a 145# boar with a nice white V on the chest, (Carney unit) that I'm trying to determine how best to display. Most likely 3/4, closed mouth, but it will have to wait, so I need to freeze it for now.
     
  8. Al Trainer

    Al Trainer
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    Very interesting and constructive helpful thread for those that hunt bear. I am not a taxidermist but do process bear to ensure that the hunter enjoys the meat these animals provide. I have skinned and processed over 600 black bear harvested in dah U.P.

    When skinning I use stone knives made by a friend of mine in lower Michigan. The only cut in the hide is the cut made for field dressing. I tube the bear out turning the hide inside out as I go starting with the hind quarters, up the back, front legs, chest and neck. The neck is cut off at the back of the skull. The feet are intact with the ankle knuckles being separated. No other cut is made on the hide. Salt is added and rubbed in to the hide after any meat is fleshed from it, gut hide folded in, legs crossed, and rolled up from tail to head. Most hunters have their hides done in Michigan and so far no complaints. Never asked a taxidermist if this aided them in their processing. It takes me alot longer to skin this way but has always worked and hunter can decide on their mount style later I guess.

    Al
    Ontonagon County
     
  9. skullman

    skullman
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    Good advise for all bear hunters, ask the experts.

    Smile & Wave

    Denis
     
  10. NEED2HUNT

    NEED2HUNT
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    A freind of mine is a Taxidermist and he would rather no salt be used, in he's opinion
    it makes the cape much harder to flesh out...just my 2 cents
     
  11. Big Gunner

    Big Gunner
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    FYI: make sure when you skin the bear, get as much fat off of the hyde. I can't tell you how many horror stories i've heard of guys skinning their bear, leaving a thick layer of fat on it and then rolling it up or putting it in a garbage bag in a walkin freezer and having it go bad because it slipped from all of the retained heat from the fat layer. I would also recommend laying it out open in a freezer if possible to avoid any slipping untill it is completely cool! Good Luck!
     
  12. bearstalker

    bearstalker
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    We have to skin the head so as to flesh the skull for measurement and sealing. The troopers will fine a hunter who brings a frozen or unfleshed head for sealing. I thought the recommendations for turnng the ears inside out were exactly right. I didn't see any discussion on the lips. I liked the recommendations for case or tube skinning or for a dorsal cut. I'm going to try it on one of my own bears. It is how we do fur bearers. Maybe I was reading fast, but I didn't see a final response on the question of salt. We've been salting the heck out of hides for shipment. We've also frozen them, both salted and unsalted. What is the taxidermist's word on salt? Thank you.
     
  13. Onzaman

    Onzaman
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    Back when I went to Canada and got a nice bear my taxidermist said not to salt and even the outfitter we used said the same thing.

    I got a nice shoulder mount on my first bear that I got with a gun "picture of bear below". The one I shot this year with a bow here in Michigan self guided on stateland was a litltle smaller and I still have it my freezer unsalted, getting ready to go to taxidermist soon for a bear rug.

    [​IMG]]
     
  14. bearstalker

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    Yes, I think the only reason to salt is 1. that it is illegal to freeze hide or skull before sealing and 2. that some of our remote sites in Alaska make us concerned that the hide not slip or go bad in some other way between here and the lower 48 during a several day trip, so we lay on the salt just to be conservative. Where you kill a bear in Michigan and can drive it to the taxidermist the same day or the next day, I don't see any sense in salting. And that is a nice picture. Bear hunting is a great sport and Michigan is one of the great hunting states, along with Alaska.
     
  15. Onzaman

    Onzaman
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    I understand what your saying about the salt, I know alot of guys did it more years ago all the time.
    I shot my bear this year in the Upper Peninsula and had a great time.
    I can only hope one day I will get to hunt the great State of Alaska.
    I will post story of my hunt in the U.P. in the next couple of days with some pictures.