Pelt Care after the Harvest

Author:  Michael T. Huff, CoyoteLight Pro Staff; is a professional outdoor writer specializing in predator hunting.   He owns and operates Master Predator Hunting – Limited Liability Company, a retail supplier of premium predator hunting products.
Owner: masterpredatorhunting.com
November 10th, 2014

If you plan to sell your pelts for profit, the actions you take after the harvest can affect the amount of money you will receive for your pelts.  Consider the pelt care tips below to maximize the money you will receive for your valuable fur:

• Transportation

Depending on your vehicle, there are many options to transport harvested furbearers.  In selecting a method that works for you, avoid transporting predators on non-porous surfaces such as inside a plastic bag or on the bed of a pick-up truck.   Draining blood can pool underneath the carcass and saturate the fur.

An ideal method to transport your harvest is through using an aluminum or steel cargo carrier with an open grate bottom.  Cargo carriers can be purchased for a reasonable price and easily attach into a vehicle’s hitch.  Most are also relatively light and can be installed by one person.   Place your harvested predators on the carrier with the exit wound facing the ground.  Gravity will work to drop any leaking blood through the grates and away from the fur.

If you do not have a trailer hitch, consider a large plastic tote with a sturdy lid.  Place a coated white closet rack/shelf unit on the bottom of the container.  These can be found in big box stores in the home or bathroom departments for a reasonable price.  Use a hacksaw to cut the legs below the slotted shelf so they will sit a few inches above the bottom of the tote.  Place your harvested predator on the rack with the exit wound facing the bottom of the tote.  Any residual draining blood will fall through the shelf and collect on the bottom of the container.

• Paper Towels

Similar to duct tape, paper towels have many uses for the sportsman or sportswoman.  Consider keeping a roll in your vehicle.   You never know when nature will call or your cheeseburger will roll on the floor!  They also are great for the successful predator hunter.  Wearing protective gloves, pushing paper towels into an exit wound soaks up a significant portion of any draining blood.

• Freezing Temperatures

If you harvest a predator during freezing temperatures, a pelt can freeze and become stuck to a surface.  This can occur with predators transported in the back of a pick-up bed as well as other ways.  It can even happen when two pelts are touching each other and freeze together.  If space is limited wrap some paper towels around your harvests to keep them separated.  However, should you ever find yourself with a pelt that has frozen to a surface, refrain from trying to use force to pull the pelt free.   Valuable guard hairs can be torn off the pelt in the process.  Instead, allow the frozen surface to melt inside a warm building.  If this is not an option, consider applying some warm water or using a hair dryer to unfreeze the portion of the attached fur.

• Washing

Pelts soiled with dirt, mud, or blood should be washed to receive top dollar.  Washing will also loosen any matted portions of the pelt which will increase the appearance of your pelt to the fur buyer.  In most cases cool water is all that is necessary.  Should you find that you need to add some soap, use it very sparingly.  Soap can remove essential oils from a pelt and cause it to appear dull.

• Processing

During the 2013-2014 predator season, I used the services of three different fur processors.  If you skin, stretch, dry, and sew your own pelts, I tip my hat to you.  In doing so, you have the ability to control the quality of your work.  When I sold my pelts, my fur buyer noticed a significant difference in the quality of the processing.  In fact, only one of the three processors did a quality processing job.

Using a quality fur processor will increase your profits.  In contrast, using a low quality processor will cause you lost money in terms of what you will be paid for your processed pelt.  Consider contacting experienced trappers and predator hunters in your area to find high quality fur processors in your area.  You may also conduct an experiment like I did last year and try several to find out who does the best job.  Once you have found the best processor, use them for your future processing needs.

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