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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I realize I should have posted this earlier for some.

There are taxidermists all across the land that will get in various capes of deer, elk, antelope etc. this fall. Occasionally the hunter will put salt on the cape in the field thinking they are doing the right thing to care for the hide.

PLEASE DO NOT DO THAT

The salting process draws moisture from the hide, meat, fat or whatever else is there. If salt is applied across the hide and there happens to be a big slab of meat or fat somewhere then the salt will pull the moisture from that, leaving it nice and dried out looking. The problem is that underneath that is a large patch of skin that is not dried out. It is still in it's natural state and very susceptible to bacteria and slippage.

The next problem is that people think a small amount of salt will fix all of their worries and make life easy for the taxidermist. I generally use 50 lbs. or more of salt on a single elk cape. There really is that much moisture to be pulled out and if someone applies a small amount all it does is make my job that much more wet and sloppy.

The proper time for salting of the hide is after all of it has been fleshed and all meat and fat has been removed. The ears, lips, and eyes have been turned and it can be salted and put in a position so that the moisture can drain away from the hide properly.

I'm not sure who is spreading the rumor that salt on a hide in the field is a good thing but it is just as incorrect as is the rumor that you should cut the throat.

Please feel free to add your 2 cents and opinions on these matters. Especially other taxi's. I'm always willing to learn, especially if I'm wrong but after 20 years of taxidermy I'm pretty sure I'm not this time.
 

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Bjorne Lou Tsar
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Good post. I use to always salt my hides no matter what stage of fleshing I was at. I had a taxidermist tell me the same thing. In fact, I know of a taxis who will flesh, skin paws, turn ears and salt your hide for free just so it's done right. She says it saves her time by doing it herself.
 

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Sorry to jump in on Truelife's thread, but I always try to get this message across. You should only salt a cape if it has been fleshed and turned. If a guy doesn't know what that means then he shouldn't salt the cape. Flesh and fat should be removed-- fleshed. The lips, nose, eyes, and ears need to be turned inside out-- Turned.

I guess a guy needs to game plan. If he is spending a week camping after he kills and the temps are above freezeing then he either needs to learn how to flesh/turn/salt, pack the cape out to a freezer, or leave the cape on the mountain. I have had elk capes spoil in 24 hours with the heat we are having.

And I have never heard of a taxidermist who charges someone extra to turn/salt a cape they are mounting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Longbow, I would suggest exactly what Packout said. Learning how to do it in the field might be the best thing. BUT! You'll still need to have enough salt with you to do the job properly.

It's not rocket science, but it doesn't hurt to have a little practice.

Or, one of them super expensive coolers and a bunch of ice might get your through, but only if you've caped the hide off of the skull and can keep the cape packed cold for the duration of your stay.

It might seem like a lot of money to purchase one of those coolers just for that. At least until you divide the cost of the cooler by the number of years you've been waiting for that elk tag. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
One other note that might apply to this thread. If you ever see a greenish color showing up on the flesh side of the cape it's time to quit messing around and get it to someone that knows what they are doing right away. It will generally start in a small area but it will grow pretty quickly in the heat.

If you're questioning it give it a sniff. If it smells like raw meat you might be ok. If it smells like you just stuck your nose inside the cavity of a gut shot animal (or worse) then you are on the verge of disaster.
 

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In regard to skinning/caping an animal properly (at least to get it in a cooler of ice) , there are a few decent videos floating around on youtube that detail this. The key, most of the time is going slow and understanding just where the heck your blade is and what angle it should be on. Ill see if i can dig the particular one up that i have in mind...

*** Note, to those of you that do know, kinda, what youre doing, please DONT run a cut smack dab down the middle of an antelopes mane and expect a miracle later.

Edit: i wonder if the source of this salting misscommunication is the same as the one that keeps pumping out the info that prepping a trophy bird for the freezer involves pantyhose and newspaper? UGH! SMH!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Longgun - could be the same culprit. I would also like to add the Wal-Mart bag to the list of DO NOT USE items.

A birds skin is very thin and gets freezer burn quickly. Especially if it's not sealed tightly in a good plastic bag of some kind.

A grocery sack:

1. Does not seal
2. is not a good plastic bag

And lastly, if it's to expensive for a guy to splurge on a garbage bag to put his prized animal into then we probably aren't going to be able to do business anyway.
 
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