Strangest gift from a dog (or, help me figure out how to tan a coyote hide!)

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by frazzlehead, Jan 19, 2007.

  1. frazzlehead

    frazzlehead AppleJackCreek Supporter

    Messages:
    3,717
    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2005
    Location:
    near Edmonton AB
    So, my son logs on to MSN when he gets home from school to check in and tell me how things are at home before I leave work. This is what I see:

    "Mac brought home a whole coyotey skin"

    Mac is Mckenzie, the Great Pyrenees puppy. Sure enough, when I drove up I saw a very clean, very large, fairly intact coyote skin up on top of the generator house. Wow!

    It's got a bit of blood on the inside but no meat at all. It looks like it was just peeled right off the carcass. It's not quite complete (i.e. a chunk is missing out of one side - well, near as I can tell with it being partly frozen and less-than-malleable). It is frozen not-quite-solid (it's been around -5 or -10 here of late), so I just left it outside for now while I ask all you clever folks how one might go about preserving this trophy! I am thinking that it can stay outside frozen for a few days without harm, eh?

    I'm thinking if I can do a basic job of preserving it I could put it in the cat's outdoor house and they'd really appreciate it. I suppose if by some miracle it turned out amazingly well I could make something with it, or maybe give it to the indoor dog for a mat, but I'm looking at this primarily as an experiment.

    I did find this:
    http://www.primitiveways.com/foxtan/Tanafox.htm
    but I'm not real hip on the idea of buying and cooking up brains. Eww.

    I continued googling and found this, which would appear to be instructions even I could follow:
    http://www.cahe.nmsu.edu/pubs/_l/l-103.pdf

    Suggestions?

    Anyone else ever been gifted with a coyote hide by their guardian dogs? :)
     
  2. Meg Z

    Meg Z winding down

    Messages:
    3,471
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2004
    Location:
    NC
    I just wanted to say that any dog who has learned to skin out his own game is a keeper!

    Meg
     

  3. Shygal

    Shygal Unreality star Supporter

    Messages:
    9,894
    Joined:
    May 26, 2003
    Location:
    New York
    Id guess he found it on someone elses place and brought it home! LoL
     
  4. posifour11

    posifour11 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    278
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2003
    Location:
    SW MO
    much agreed. can you teach my pyr to do that?
     
  5. OK Yankee

    OK Yankee Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    242
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2005
    Somewhere in an old issue of The Mother Earth News they had an article on how to tan your own hides. I can't remember which one, but it should be in their archives. Let us know how it goes.

    Yankee
     
  6. tobo6

    tobo6 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,072
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2003
    Your second link there with the alum tanning is going to be the easiest if this is your first time tanning. You'll want to keep it frozen until your temperature rises enough to tan. It's easiest when the temps rise to 70 degree's at night. Okay laugh over that, we live were the temps are always colder then that at night even in the height of summer, lol. But you will want your daytime temps warm, and then you can set your bucket with the tanning hide in your barn or even bathroom at night to keep the temp up. Shortens the tanning time.

    You mentioned putting it in with your cats when finished.....they might tear it up though, but if that doesn't bother you it would keep them entertained, lol. We have lots of pelts on our walls and they are high enough that our dogs don't get to them. For some reason even after tanning them it drives the dogs crazy when a new piece is brought into the house. The only one they don't have interest in is the beaver pelt I have under my desk to put my feet on when I am on the computer(maybe my feet stink! lol).
     
  7. longshadowfarms

    longshadowfarms Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,528
    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2002
    Location:
    Alaska
    I'd guess that he raided some trapper's stock. If you want him to come home alive next time, you might want to make sure he is secure. If that isn't feasible, find out who your nearest trapping neighbor is and go pay for the skin.
     
  8. JasoninMN

    JasoninMN Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,859
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2006
    Location:
    Minnesota
    I agree with longshadow. I am a trapper and would not be to happy to find someones dog taking my furs. If it was my dog stealing I would not be so proud of it either. Its likely he already has sets waiting for the theif to return before it takes more of his furs.
     
  9. Junkmanme

    Junkmanme Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,245
    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2006
    Back in the late 1970's, in Colorado, coyote hides brought "pretty good" money. I don't think they bring 1/2 that today. (I had a huntin' buddy -Electrician- that would "drag-up" (quit work) every Sept 1 when hunting seasons started....and he wouldn't go back to "work" until sometime in January when huntin' seasons ended. He made $10,000.00 one fall just shootin' coyotes and stretchin the hides!

    BUT, like i said, the price ain't as good today!

    He was quite a character!
    Ha-Ha!
    Bruce
     
  10. tobo6

    tobo6 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,072
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2003
    I didn't read this as a fur from a trapper. The meat was gone, but I read that as an animal had eatin' the yote, and the bones were still there leaving a hole in the side and all. Reread the post and see where frazzlehead said it looked like it was peeled clean off. Hmmm, could be from a trapper if nothing was left in the skin. Can you tell if there are any marks on the legs Frazzlehead? Might tell you if your dog was stealing.

    I guess others have different practices, but we don't hang pelts out in the dead of winter, they are put in the freezer. Even when we are able to work on animals in the winter when there isn't any freezing going on, we work behind a secure enclosure. (Have dogs myself, so that is a necessary, lol)

    Interesting though, and now you have a mystery to solve too for your dogs protection.
     
  11. jamesdel

    jamesdel Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    196
    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2006
    I use some stuff called trappers Hide tanning formula. You can get it at any trapping supply house and it isnt very high.
    Jim
     
  12. frazzlehead

    frazzlehead AppleJackCreek Supporter

    Messages:
    3,717
    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2005
    Location:
    near Edmonton AB
    We have a lot of roadkill coyotes (and deer, and there was something really big and furry by the road today that looked like either another BIG coyote or maybe what was left of a bear). I was thinking it's either a coyote a farmer shot and left where it was (many do that, coyote predation is a serious problem) or maybe it was roadkill, and through luck and happenstance the skin had managed to be peeled off in the course of a tussle over the carcass or something. It isn't a full pelt: it's got no identifiable legs, but it does have the tail on it.

    However, I just showed the photo of the remains to someone who has actually skinned a critter (I've never done this) and he says it IS definitely a pelt that was peeled by a human. Oi! My dog is a thief!

    The hermit up the road may have set the pelt out to dry, I'll go ask him if it's his. The dogs do chase coyotes up the road in that general direction, so that's a possibility, although it's a long, long way. I don't have any close neighbours - the dogs do roam some, but as the nearest neighbours are a good long ways off, they don't often make it to their places.

    Hmmm.

    Does one post a sign at the mailboxes: "Found, most of a coyote pelt - call to claim!" ?
     
  13. tobo6

    tobo6 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,072
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2003
    I'm so impressed with your investigating this frazzlehead! Kudos for you for even admitting your dog could have taken it, and making plans to find the owner. IF this would have happened to us......it would have been a good reminder that we need to take better care of our pelts. Yes, we don't like roaming dogs but it does happen, and a dog owner that is responsible like you are on trying to fix the problem says a heck of a lot!
     
  14. longshadowfarms

    longshadowfarms Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,528
    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2002
    Location:
    Alaska
  15. tallpaul

    tallpaul Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,040
    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2004
    there is nothin saying that the pelt did not fall off a guys truck on the way by the house either. Don't quit the search but don't automatically assume thief as the only opotion. stranger things have happened,
     
  16. frazzlehead

    frazzlehead AppleJackCreek Supporter

    Messages:
    3,717
    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2005
    Location:
    near Edmonton AB
    I did go up and see the hermit up the road (he's not really antisocial, but he does keep to himself). He doesn't trap, and didn't know anyone who does ... I called another neighbour, she had no ideas either. I appear to have a very big mystery on my hands - but at least my dog hasn't been stealing from my neighbours, which is a big relief.

    Then, a funny thing happened on the way home from town today ... I had noticed this big pile of black furry stuff by the side of the road yesterday and thought "Hmm, wonder what that is?" Well, today on the way back home, the pile was still there so I stopped to look. Sure enough, it is a skinned black bear pelt in four pieces.

    I think tallpaul is right - someone lost some skins off the back of their truck! I would imagine whoever it is would've come back for the bear pelt, it'd been there a full day at least, probably longer, but if they were out hunting and then had a long drive back to town they may have decided it wasn't worth the hassle. Neither the coyote pelt nor the bear pelt is in the 'animal shape' that you'd expect from say, a bearskin rug - when I looked at the coyote pelt again it almost looks like it was slit in half down the back or something. The bear pelt, well, I couldn't puzzle together how it would have fit back onto a bear (if you know what I mean) but it had big hairy parts that look very back-ish and gray parts that look sort of leg-ish. Apologies, all, I was raised a city girl and this is all new!

    I've put the pelts up on top of the wood shed where none of my critters can get to them (the dog was nibbling at that bear hide as soon as he found it, and the cat climbed the ladder to investigate what I'd put up there ... I moved the ladder). I will put up a sign at the corner store: "Pelts found by highway, call to claim!" I'll check out that Alberta trappers link, too, thanks longshadowfarms. If there's a message board there I'll try to post.

    I may need to make friends with someone who tans hides, though, if nobody claims these - I've got a nice chunk of coyote and enough bear skin to make a rug!
     
  17. Danaus29

    Danaus29 Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    19,677
    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2005
    Location:
    Ohio
    Could poachers be operating in your area and the dog scared them off??? In most states coyotes don't have a season but bears sure do and are even illegal in some states. A call to the game warden might be in order.

    I see you are in Canada. I don't know about bear seasons in your area.
     
  18. frazzlehead

    frazzlehead AppleJackCreek Supporter

    Messages:
    3,717
    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2005
    Location:
    near Edmonton AB
    I called the widlife officer - thanks Danaus, I hadn't thought of doing that!

    We can shoot coyotes on our own land any time - bears too, for that matter. It is currently also public hunting season for coyotes, but not bears. Moose season is over.

    The warden is going to go by my place and have a look today. He said that the larger darker pelt might be moose - the gray parts on the legs suggest moose, not bear, and most of the bears are asleep right about now. Not all bears - a couple forestry guys got mauled just on the weekend up north of here, but they figure maybe they disturbed the den (they are ok but somewhat chewed, apparently). Anyway, I'll know more later.

    Nothing like learning by doing - only a city girl would be unsure if she was looking at moose or bear, eh? :)
     
  19. frazzlehead

    frazzlehead AppleJackCreek Supporter

    Messages:
    3,717
    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2005
    Location:
    near Edmonton AB
    Well, ya learn something every day!

    The hides were moose (not bear) and deer (not coyote). :shrug: Who knew deer got so furry in winter? Of course it all makes sense now that I know, but on first glance I had no way to tell. Hey, I grew up in the city and have never hunted or known anyone who did.

    The wildlife officer was very nice: he came and picked up the pelts and took them to the boneyard for disposal. Apparently hunters frequently just dump the hides by the side of the road instead of properly disposing of the waste from their kills. He said they were getting too ripe to tan, so he got rid of them for me.

    So, if I find any more, I know who to call - I don't like having that stuff down by the road, as my dogs go down to get it and it's not good having them roaming close to the highway.

    Mystery solved!
     
  20. Jan in CO

    Jan in CO Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    5,938
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    For future reference, in case you DO find any more pelts in better condition, I think it was Tracy on the rabbit board that posted a few years ago, her forumla for tanning pelts. Her husband made up the mixture and she gives good details of what to use, how to do it, with or without hair when finished, etc. Jan in Co