Field Preparation

 


  • Not a lot of hunters realize it but the most important and crucial time for a trophy is the few minutes after the animal was shot and during the skinning and curing process.  What happens in this time hugely affects the outcome of the trophy, product or skin.

    Purpose of curing is to protect the skin.

    • Salt dries out the skin
    • Stop from micro-organisms
    • Closes the hair follicles thus delaying hair-slip
    • Makes the skin/hide storable for a longer time

    In-field precautions: 3 vital rules to remember:
    After the animal has been shot work as fast as possible and:

    • Do not leave the carcass in the sun – immediately move it to a cool place
    • Do not drag the animal – hair slip will occur on those parts that have been dragged
    • Do not leave animal in blood or blood diluted puddles, it will accelerate hair slip and damage the skin

    How to cure the skin:

    • After the animal has died, skin it as soon as possible as close to the skin as permits but careful enough to avoid cutting through the skin
    • If there is excess flesh or fat, remove this form the skin
    • Open the skin with the hair-side facing the floor and make sure you rinse off all the blood with cold water
    • Turn the skin around and while brushing (with a soft broom) in the direction of the hair-growth, brush the blood lightly out of the hair. Never brush against the hair-growth. 
    • Take extra precaution and make sure that there is no blood on the skin.  Also make sure that you don’t put the skin in bloody water when turning it around, the surface must be clean.
    • Hang the skin for about 5 minutes to get rid of all the extra water.
    • After these steps you have two options:
    • salting the skin
    • folding the skin and immediately put it in the freezer

    Salting the skin:
    Make sure the skin is opened and be sure to salt vigorously over the whole skin not forgetting the insides of the ears, nose and hooves
    If you have to fold the skin for transport purposes, make sure to check for water that accumulate in the container and throw it out.
    Fold the skin with the hair on the inside to protect the hair from damage.
    It isn’t good for hides to be exposed to water solutions for an uncounted time, please don’t let the skin lay overnight in any water solution.
    If you have to transport the skin, avoid using plastic bags, rather use plastic containers.  Inside the bag it gets humid and water drops start to form inside the bag.  This is not the perfect circumstances as it promotes warm moist habitat and makes room for bacteria and deterioration, harmful to the skin.

    Freezing the skin

    It is advisable to put hides in plastic bags when you are going to freeze it immediately after  curing the skin.  When the skin is frozen completely below 0 degrees Celsius, all the micro-organisms and all the processes that help with deterioration comes to a halt conserving the skin until defrost.