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There are many reasons for skinning a fox—the most common ones being for its meat and the high-quality fur-bearing skin it has. The process of getting the best quality and quantity of this skin starts at the hunting process. During the hunting stage, you should try as much as you can to destroy the skin with whatever hunting technique you employ.
With high-quality and high-demand skin like this, you cannot afford to go wrong with the skinning process. Here, we prepared a detailed stepwise process of how to effectively and successfully skin a fox. Have a look.
What Equipment Do You Need to Skin a Fox?
Skinning a fox is no child’s play. The process is tedious and exhausting, and it will require you to come adequately prepared for the task with the tools and skills needed. To successfully skin a fox, you will need the following tools.
You need a good skinning knife that has razor-sharp edges to make the skinning process seamless and effective. Go the extra mile to get a knife with a serrated edge on the top. You can use the serrated top for tougher sections of the skin that may involve cutting membranes and cartilages attached to the skin.
For perfect skinning, you will certainly need to hang the fox in a spread position so that you can get to access some of the most crucial points easily.
Skinning is a staining job. You will need to protect your hands from getting stained and covered with blood by getting yourself some suitable protective hand gloves.
Once you are done skinning and need to cut the meat into pieces, you may need a grizzly tarp. You can place the skinned fox in the Tarp as you dissect it to come out with chunks of meat ready for preparation.
The Procedure on How to Skin a Fox
Skinning the fox will not take a lot of your time if you get all the gears and tools needed for the process ready and follow the necessary steps carefully. Once you have your tools ready, you are good to follow the following process.
Get your Workspace into Shape
First, get your Tarp (or any other material like a garbage bag, an old plastic sheet, etc.) and spread it out in the area beneath where you will be hanging your fox. Clear the area off any items that may be a distruction to the skinning process.
Also, check to ensure all your tools are ready and in good shape. Sharpen the knife if it needs sharpening.
Put on your Protective Gear
This is the time to bring out all the protective gear you had bought for this job. You do not want blood spilling into your body and clothes. You can have your protective glasses on, the rubber boots, lengthy pants, and your gloves would come in handy at this juncture.
Hang the Fox
The best way of hanging the fox when skinning is tying one of its legs with a rope and hanging it to the ceiling with that rope. You should avoid hooking the animal as this may spoil the skin or pelt, which is what you are careful not to damage.
It is crucial that you do not wait for too long after killing the fox before hanging it for skinning, as this may make the skin harder.
Make the Initial Cuts
Since you are hanging your fox head-down, the front legs will be hanging down and are better placed for you to start with. Make some cuts around the front legs just above the feet to free off the skin in that region. Once you have executed the round cuts well, you can extend the amount right from the back of the front leg and run it up to the fox’s armpit.
Once you have hit the armpit area, you would have made a clear opening that will allow you to pull wide the entire front-leg skin. Gently pull the skin off the bone and only use the knife when necessary. Cut off the membrane connecting the fur to the muscles anytime you notice the skin is stuck and not pulling smoothly from the bone.
Repeat this process to the other front leg until you have all the two legs free of the fur.
Work on the Hind Legs
When skinning the hind legs, you need to make a similar cut to the one you made on the front legs. This time, the only difference is that you will be running your cut from under the skin up to the paw. From the paw, let you cut run up the back edge of the leg then to the anus and skin the hind leg out from the paw up.
Once you are done, you can change the hang to the skinned leg to skin the other hind leg repeating the same procedure.
The legs are the hardest parts of the fox’s body to the skin. This is because of the paws and small feet with a lot of tiny bones. You should take precautions while handling the skin in the legs and paws not to waste a lot of skin there. Skinning the rest of the body won’t give you much trouble once you complete the legs and feet.
Get the Tail from the Rest of the Body
This should be easy since you would have already sliced the skin around the anus free, making it easier to pull off the pelt around the fox’s tail bone. You should take caution while doing this to avoid pulling off the entire tail bone along with the pelt.
If the skin gets stuck, you should not hold on to the tail while pulling. Instead, make a little cut on the membrane holding the pelt on the tailbone then pull softly until it ultimately comes off.
When the tail finally comes out, make a straight cut from the tail’s tip right to the bottom to cut it wide open.
Skin the Head
Skinning the head is easier when you begin with the two triangles along the lower jawlines, helping to make the outer lips easier. Once done, you can now work your way up around the neck region until you get to the back of the fox’s skull.
Skinning the ear might prove hard, so you will have to cut through the cartilage ear tubes and proceed to skin out the remainder of the head around the eyes and face. You will then get to the end of the snout, which is also soft cartilage. Cut through this cartilage inside the nose to the front teeth to release the entire head skin.
Pull the Entire Skin off the Body
Now you can untie the fox’s carcass from the rope and lay it on the Tarp. Pull off the skin quickly and carefully without splitting it. Once you’ve placed it on the Tarp, step on the back of its head and firmly grasp the upper back and chest section of your free pelt and pull. Make sure you are holding firmly and pulling all the way carefully off the carcass of the fox.
The reason it is recommended you start pulling the fox’s skin from head to toe is to help maintain the fat on the carcass as the skin comes out clean. Skinning in the reverse direction (from tail to head) tends to leave behind a lot of fat on the skin. This will in-turn give you a hard time cleaning the skin off the fat.
Preserve the Skin before Tanning
When you plan to tan your skin soon, salt the skin immediately after you are done with the skinning. Salting helps to remove any remaining moisture from the skin. You can alternatively peg the skin on a board and put it in a cool, dry environment.
If you do not intend to tan the skin anytime soon, you can roll it up into a plastic bag. Place it in a freezer to be preserved until you are ready to tan it.
A professionally done tanning of the skin helps preserve the skin while maintaining the fur in their original perfect state. This gives you high-quality fur for industrial production of warm fluffy clothes.
How Much is Fox Fur Worth?
You may not see the need to go through all the hustle involved in skinning a fox. Well, initially, the skin sold at lucrative prices, which made the process worth enduring. Times changed, and the worth of the skin dropped a little in the markets. But you should not worry as some buyers can still pay up to $18 per skin.
The fur is handy in making some of the warmest clothing in the world. Upon purchasing a fur coat, you can enjoy warmth and comfort for the entire coat’s lifetime. Many people associate wearing luxury furs with glamour and sophistication in Chicago, and they are perfectly right.
Fur coats are in huge demand in areas that are constantly cold with occasional snow and rain. The fur coat keeps you warm amidst these extreme weather conditions.
Many Fur accessories are comfortable to wear any time of the year, depending on the weather and climate. This makes fur a cost-effective investment to make as a cloth buyer.
Fur accessories, including caps, fur coats, and other fur-trimmed items are timeless and classic. You can rest assured that they are not running out of fashion anytime soon. Fur coats are now getting fancier and can be worn with jeans and fancy dresses.
The skin should be a precious commodity that you shouldn’t allow to waste just because of a wrong skinning process. Make the skinning process a success by exercising a lot of patience anytime you are at it. Impatience can lead to a sloppy, skinning job.
While taking care during the skinning process, you should apply extra care on some parts of the fox’s skin. They may be thin enough for you to tear through the skin accidentally. You aim to get a clean, smooth skin, so prevent any blood spillage while working your way through the skin. After a few successful skinnings, you will be a pro at this skinning business.
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36 years old, been hunting and fishing my entire life – love the outdoors, family, and all kinds of hunting and fishing! I have spent thousands of hours hunting hogs and training hunting dogs, but I’m always learning new stuff and really happy to be sharing them with you! hit me up with an email in the contact form if you have any questions.