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08 Jul '17

Salt to keep the cape

Posted by S. Sosa

You are almost done; after scouting, chasing and kill a game, the animal was skinned and the meat preserved; a hard job so far, but there's still one step to go: to keep the cape.

Perhaps you wish to use it as a carpet, keep it for commercial purposes or simply send the cape to a taxidermist in order to immortalize your trophy but whichever the reason is, you'll need to properly take care of the skin otherwise it will slip (loose the hair) and deteriorate quickly, rendering the cape just a piece of waste.

First thing to know is how properly skin each game since it's not the same to take a fox skin than a deer; afterwards it's mandatory to properly turn the skin and finally flesh it.

To flesh the skin means to remove all the fat and meat leaving nothing else than dermis, epidermis and hair. Gross fleshing is simple but fine fleshing is an art to be learned and mastered along time.

Just a small piece of meat or fat is enough to ruin a whole cape and turn it useless, no matter how experienced your taxidermist is; thus the preserving job must begin Preserving game skinon the field, too much time before the skin reach its final destination.

There's a lot of online resources to learn how to properly perform fine fleshing then you will learn easily, but if you wish, there's always a chance to learn from masters; just go out to the bushes with someone who really knows how to preserve the cape.

Remember that moisture and bacteria are number one enemies, moreover, the decomposition process begins as soon as you shoot your game to death so you will need to move fast to preserve skin properly.

After turning and fleshing the cape, it's time to do the magic and use salt. All kind of salt (sodium chloride) will work, however, fine grained, non-iodized salt is the best choice.

Once your skin is ready to be processed, just lay it on a flat surface and salt it; begin on the areas near natural body openings such as ears, lips and eyes. At the very beginning the salt won't adhere there but slowly penetrates beginning to dry the skin.

After salting the openings near skin, cover the entire cape with a fine layer of salt (remember to salt inner side of skin but not the hairy side!) and let it dry for at least 24 hours, afterwards repeat the whole process again.

Perhaps you can't spend two days on the field just to salt the skin, if so, a good solution is to proceed with the process as it was previously described and roll cape skin to skin and pack it to start traveling; at the 24 hours mark, unroll the skin, remove the salt and re-salt again before packing and continuing your way back home.

Remember to take the skin as soon as possible to the final destination where it will be finally processed in order to achieve the best possible results.

Perhaps at the beginning you will find some imperfections, but after several attempts, a lot of practice and following experts' tips, you finally will master the art of properly preserve a game skin out on the field and the final results will be remarkable.


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