Do you know that feeling you get when something wrong happens to a precious and unique item? Isn't it hard to accept and difficult to dispose of? Sometimes it will haunt you like a ghost for days before you can finally shake it off for what it is.
Today I am looking at a beautiful Kudu cape with hair slip. Hair slip is when too much bacteria manage to penetrate the skin and causes the hair to fall out. Unfortunately, it means the skin is rotten, so we cannot use it for Taxidermy.
(Kudu cape with hair slip on the neck)
This exceptional kudu cape is now on its way to the dustbin, and I have difficulty doing it. But I guess it is what it is.
As hunters, it is common sense to take good care of the animal meat we have hunted. The same feeling will apply if one loses the whole carcass because it has rotten. After all, the freezer broke or something similar.
The difference between this kudu's cape and its meat is that we could have created an art piece with the cape that can last a lifetime, whereas the meat of the kudu will eventually also get disposed of.
I know, maybe I am a bit too dramatic, but I feel I need to try and educate hunters to the best of my knowledge in the hope that this doesn't happen to their trophies.
I want to share a Video before I start to share some essential points on how to take care of the animal's skin when hunted. This video is a training video in Tswana and English with the sole idea of educating the skinners/trackers on the farms where Hunters are hunting.
If you ever hunt an animal you would like to mount for your trophy room; you can show this video to the person who will be skinning your trophy.
Essential points for prepping your trophy's skin for Taxidermy
Skin as soon as possible
Bacteria will start to grow from the moment the animal is dead. If you've read to this point, you will know that bacteria is the bastard that will ensure the skin rot and cause hair slip. So we should get the skin off ASAP.
The person skinning your trophy needs to know how to split the eyelids, lips, and ears. If these areas are not separate, the salt will not penetrate, and the hair will fall out in those areas leaving you with a trophy looking like it had some skin disorder.
Wash the skin before salting
Bacteria have the biggest parties in the gut and blood, leading them to breed like rabbits. So it is essential to wash all the blood and gut fluids of the skin the moment you remove the skin from the carcass.
You can mix water and salt and use it to wash the skin, and if you want to be a super bacteria exterminator, you can add some Dettol. Dettol kills bacteria, and this is precisely what we want to do.
NB! use the mixture to wash the skin. Do not soak and leave the skin in this mixture for hours or days. Instead, just was the skin and get it in the salt.
Salt the skin ASAP
You will need to prepare a salt bed on the floor to place the skin with the fur side facing down on top of the salt and the flesh side facing up.
You need to spread the skin out as flat as possible, and your main objective now will be to cover the flesh side with salt.
BUT it is important to note that you cannot just dump 50 kgs of salt on the skin and think that is good enough.
Remember, the skin will fold over, and if you don't make sure you rub salt in on all areas on the flesh side, you will leave spots without salt, and again the hair will fall out in those areas.
The edges of the skin usually fold over, so make sure you rub salt all
the way to the edge of the skin. A cape has leg skins, and the face part has flesh on both sides because you will need to pull the face part inside out to expose the flesh side. You will need to ensure that salt is rubbed on both sides of the face and legs. All and All, you basically need to make sure that every inch of the skin is covered in salt before you can leave it there for 2-5 days.
Dry the skin
After n few days, you can remove the skin from the salt and hang it up to dry, similar to Biltong. Just remember to monitor the skin as it dries because you need to fold the skin, and if it is too dry and hard, you will not be able to fold the skin.
Fold the skin
When the skin is dry enough to be folded, you can take it down and fold it with the fur inside, just like you will fold a blanket.
Just a few things to remember when you are folding a cape
The fur must be inside and the flesh on the outside to protect the hair.
The ears must also be folded inside to protect them - when ears are dry and pointing outwards, they can very easily break off.
If there is an identification tag on the skin, it is essential to fold the skin so that the label is visible. This is to prevent people from trying to open the dried skin to find the identification tag.
Those are basic essential tips to prevent the same thing from happening to your trophies.
You can also watch the tanning video we have created for skinners. Just follow the link below.
I will now dispose of this kudu cape with a long face. I hope my Blog port was helpful.
Happy hunting until next time