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#2440132 - 02/12/11 12:31 AM A whole lotter fun (putting up otters) tutorial
trapped4ever Offline
trapper

Registered: 04/17/09
Posts: 31
Loc: alaska
Well, here goes for the otter fleshing PM's. I picked up a couple little ones today, before the weather came up, and sent me home early. I did a demo of fleshing, for you all, with the 2 little guys this afternoon. This is how I put them up for the auction houses.

Before we get started, always comb dirt, dried blood, or really any sort of clumps, out of the fur, otherwise tears can happen when you hit these while fleshing. Be especially careful around conibear/ snare marks, bullet holes, nipples, and under arms. All are potential tears. If you do nick or tear, sew it up with dental floss.

My fleshing pole is just 4" PVC that I beach combed. Price $0. I cut the top end at a 45 angle. I've been using this one for years. There are a few advantages and disadvantages to using PVC pipe, but we'll get to those later. Here's my set up.



I use the beaver knife down to just below the front legs, all the way around. Like this....



If you have problems with the fat on the front legs, you can put them on a marten board or something for fleshing. I don't usually need to, but showed how, just to illustrate what I'm saying. Here's the front leg over my marten/ mink fleshing pole, which is 2" PVC, also beach combed. This helps stretch the skin taut for fleshing. I use my beaver knife on the front legs also.



Next, I lightly score the membrane into 5 separate lengths. I split down the center of the back, where there is a natural separation. Then, on the belly side, where the fat and membrane meet, I kind of fillet back towards the membrane, with the knife held very flat to the hide. Next, I split each of the now two pieces of membrane in half. This makes two pieces of membrane on each side, and a row of fat down the belly, for a total of 5 separate strips to be fleshed. NOTE: when scoring the membrane be EXTREMELY careful not to score into the leather. Most adult otters have a layer of fat between membrane and hide, so it's easier with them. Juveniles are much thinner skinned, so great care is needed, and I sometimes all together omit this process with little ones. It does make adults much easier to flesh, as you don't ever have to reposition the hide. Just rotate the fleshing pole slightly, and start a new strip.



These strips are then individually fleshed down to the skirt area, taking care to keep fat, grease, meat, blood off the fur, or pole. I usually cut off the strips as I go. This takes maybe 5 minutes. Depends on the otter though. Some older ones have a lot of gristle. My fleshing knife is a piece of 1/4" X 3/4" X 22" bar stock I scrounged from an old homestead site 20 odd years ago. Price $0. It's all I ever use for a flesher on otter. I did add duct tape to the "handles" about 15 years ago, as they kinda dug into my hands otherwise. Here it is after the strips are fleshed.



Next, I move the hide up the pole. Notice the front leg is now on the pole tip. One advantage to using the pipe here, is that the head is dropped back down the center of the pipe, keeping blood smears off your nice clean white leather. I usually have a lot of live foot trapped otter, that I dispatch with a .22. So some blood in the head area is common for me.
Moving the hide up the pole like this, gets the skirt/ tail up to the right height for working on. NOTE: When working on the skirt area, you don't need to worry too much about the last little bit of fat on the belly side, between the legs, as this area will be trimmed for an inspection window.



Then, I trim the last couple inches of fat from the skirt and back legs, using the beaver knife again. Be very careful around the nipples, as they tear easily. When done, it should look like this.


OK, now comes the fun part. I get the most questions about the tail. I just fillet it off with the beaver knife, starting from the top inside, of the "veins" of fat that run the length of the tail. Working from the center towards the outside edge. A super sharp knife helps a lot here. This is how I start...



Then, just carefully work your way out to the edge.



Here is where a wooden pole works a little better, as you can temporarily tack the tail open, to make fleshing easier. I hold my knife very flat to the hide, and pretty vertical to the tail, while doing this "filleting", like this....



Here's the finished tail.



Last area to do now is the head/ neck. For this, I lay the pole across my knees, and keep the neck area tight by pulling down on the front leg holes. I flesh back towards the head, using a longer, more flexible bladed type knife.




Finished products. NOTE: Inspection window cut out on belly side, lower lip removed for auction tag, and I try to remember to tack an eye hole open for CITIES tagger.




The tools I use for both skinning and fleshing otters. The safety razor rarely gets used. Only on older, more gristle laden necks. The older otter seem to have a lot more of this. Little ones tend to be much thinner skinned, so be especially careful on them.



Todays catch before processing.



I'm sure I left a few things out. I hope this helps some of you. Questions, comments or input, feel free.

My favorite picture of the day. One of daddy's little helpers.


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#2440148 - 02/12/11 12:42 AM Re: A whole lotter fun (putting up otters) tutorial [Re: trapped4ever]
alaskanbuckshot Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Posts: 43
Loc: Juneau Alaska
Thats great. Thanks
_________________________
Happy trapping, Jake

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#2440150 - 02/12/11 12:47 AM Re: A whole lotter fun (putting up otters) tutorial [Re: trapped4ever]
Sleepycreek4.5 Offline
trapper

Registered: 01/23/11
Posts: 4
Loc: SE Alaska
Great presentation!
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#2440153 - 02/12/11 12:53 AM Re: A whole lotter fun (putting up otters) tutorial [Re: trapped4ever]
mad_mike Offline
trapper

Registered: 01/01/08
Posts: 173
Loc: Podunk, Alaska
Thank you for taking the time to show your methods on otter. I cuss everytime I get into fleshing one. Most helpful was the segmenting into 5 parts. This should go into the archives, White/Otterman??

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#2440154 - 02/12/11 12:53 AM Re: A whole lotter fun (putting up otters) tutorial [Re: trapped4ever]
Aknative Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/10/09
Posts: 17
Loc: Fairbanks AK
Thanks much for putting this up!
_________________________
Rumors of my assimilation have been greatly exaggerated.

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#2440161 - 02/12/11 01:15 AM Re: A whole lotter fun (putting up otters) tutorial [Re: Aknative]
watarrat Offline
trapper

Registered: 10/04/10
Posts: 15
Loc: Lake Iliamna Ak
Thanks so much for all the info! We have been taking a break from otters but now will use your pvc beams idea and go pop a couple. thanks again.




Edited by white17 (02/13/11 11:18 AM)

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#2440172 - 02/12/11 01:31 AM Re: A whole lotter fun (putting up otters) tutorial [Re: trapped4ever]
alaskanbuckshot Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Posts: 43
Loc: Juneau Alaska
I agree on it going onto the archives...
_________________________
Happy trapping, Jake

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#2440185 - 02/12/11 01:53 AM Re: A whole lotter fun (putting up otters) tutorial [Re: trapped4ever]
northway Offline
trapper

Registered: 01/25/07
Posts: 1264
Loc: Tok, Alaska
Thanks trapped4ever, that was a great tutorial for otter fleshing!

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#2440201 - 02/12/11 02:41 AM Re: A whole lotter fun (putting up otters) tutorial [Re: trapped4ever]
sharksinthesalsa Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/29/10
Posts: 2
Loc: Alaska
Wow nice write up!! Your hides look awesome when done. Just an idea for your tail. You said that it would be better to have a wooden beam to tack the tail flat. What if you had several rubber bands that you could put one above where your fleshing and one below. And maybe a fewdown the pipe that you coul slide up if you cut one. That might hold it better for you. Just a thought
_________________________
Beaver, as many as stars in the sky!! Fighting one another to get in your trap, screaming take me Bill Tyler, take me!!

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#2440210 - 02/12/11 03:34 AM Re: A whole lotter fun (putting up otters) tutorial [Re: trapped4ever]
Family Trapper Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Posts: 2087
Loc: Homer, Alaska
Well done. Thanks for taking the time. This is the kind of endeavors that makes this site so special. Archive YES
_________________________
Passion- There are some people who live in a dream world, and their are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.

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#2440359 - 02/12/11 07:58 AM Re: A whole lotter fun (putting up otters) tutorial [Re: trapped4ever]
FishinHank Offline
trapper

Registered: 10/25/08
Posts: 954
Loc: PWS, AK
Awesome!!! Thanks for posting this, it's going to help me out a lot.
_________________________
[TravC]: an educated coyote is like a fat girl on the diet....she dont slip up with a cheeseburger but sooner or later she goes for the bigmack

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#2440588 - 02/12/11 10:04 AM Re: A whole lotter fun (putting up otters) tutorial [Re: trapped4ever]
limabean Offline
trapper

Registered: 01/12/11
Posts: 10
Loc: Kentucky
Great post. Can I ask what beach combed is for the PVC?

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#2440594 - 02/12/11 10:06 AM Re: A whole lotter fun (putting up otters) tutorial [Re: trapped4ever]
alaska viking Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/25/07
Posts: 1825
Loc: juneau, alaska
That's a great lesson. Otter are about my least favorite critter to put up, and these southeast otter can be incredibly fatty. I can easily spend an hour or more on one!
_________________________
Intellectual capacity is no guarantee against being dead wrong.
Carl Sagan.

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#2440634 - 02/12/11 10:26 AM Re: A whole lotter fun (putting up otters) tutorial [Re: trapped4ever]
white17 Offline

"General (Mr.Sunshine) Washington"

Registered: 03/17/07
Posts: 14668
Loc: McGrath, AK
Outstanding ! Thank you very much. We'll leave this on this page for several days so everyone gets a chance to see it and then move it to the archives. If it's OK with T4E I'll put a link to this thread on the main forum.


Lima Bean: he means he found the PVC on the beach.

I have a comment about the beaver knife. I use one on larger animals like otter, wolverine and wolf. They are easy to get very sharp but I find that I never use the back part of the blade. I also found that while concentrating on the knife tip I could make an unwanted cut with the rear of the blade. I duct taped over the rear 3 inches to prevent that.
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Mean As Nails

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#2440638 - 02/12/11 10:28 AM Re: A whole lotter fun (putting up otters) tutorial [Re: limabean]
mad_mike Offline
trapper

Registered: 01/01/08
Posts: 173
Loc: Podunk, Alaska
Anyone have pics they could post of their PVC fleshing beams?

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#2440695 - 02/12/11 11:04 AM Re: A whole lotter fun (putting up otters) tutorial [Re: mad_mike]
scandiclt Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/24/06
Posts: 32
Loc: fairbanks alaska
VERY nice T4E! Pictures help to clearify anything that words could leave out. Someday i will have to do one on skinning feet,lips, and ears for taxidermy. Have a whole series of pictures i've taken on that subject. Just not sure how to post the pictures. Don't want to steal from your thread though. Nice Job!

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#2440774 - 02/12/11 12:15 PM Re: A whole lotter fun (putting up otters) tutorial [Re: trapped4ever]
HFT AK Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/26/08
Posts: 397
Loc: Wasilla AK
Awesome write up!! Thanks for taking the time to show how you do it, extremely informative!

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#2440851 - 02/12/11 01:08 PM Re: A whole lotter fun (putting up otters) tutorial [Re: trapped4ever]
limabean Offline
trapper

Registered: 01/12/11
Posts: 10
Loc: Kentucky
Thanks white17. Got a pm about it also. I thought it might have been something that was done to the pvc to hold better.

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#2440892 - 02/12/11 01:29 PM Re: A whole lotter fun (putting up otters) tutorial [Re: trapped4ever]
trapped4ever Offline
trapper

Registered: 04/17/09
Posts: 31
Loc: alaska
W17, yeah go ahead on the link. Just hoping it would help someone out. Otter seem to be one a lot of people have problems with fleshing. Don't move it yet, as I have a few things to add tonight, after I get back off the line. Also going to try to do a post on otter blind foothold sets soon.

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#2440955 - 02/12/11 02:16 PM Re: A whole lotter fun (putting up otters) tutorial [Re: trapped4ever]
white17 Offline

"General (Mr.Sunshine) Washington"

Registered: 03/17/07
Posts: 14668
Loc: McGrath, AK
We'll leave here for at least a week so you can answer questions.
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Mean As Nails

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