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Beaver skins are often prepared "open and round," rather than "cased." (Be sure to ask your buyer how he or she wants pelts prepared.) The procedure is as follows.

  • Cut off the feet and tail.
  • On the belly side, slit the pelt in a straight line from tail to lip.
  • Cut the fur away from the belly, one side at a time, toward the back.
  • When you reach the legs, do not slit them open. Pull them through, pulling the hide off the way you would invert a sock. Be careful with the knife when skinning around the legs because the skin here cuts easily.
  • Skin carefully at the head.
    • Cut the ears off close to the skull.
    • Skin around the eyes and nose.

After skinning, flesh the pelt. The pelt then is stretched on a board for drying.

Stretching a beaver pelt
  • Use a large, flat board such as a four-foot-square piece of plywood.
  • Tack the pelt to the board in a circular or oval shape. Use nails at least two inches long, spaced no more than one inch apart.
  • After the nails are in place, lift the pelt off the surface of the board, up to the head of the nails. This will allow airflow between the board and the pelt.

Instead of boarding, the pelt may be sewn onto a metal hoop frame. If sewn, make the stitches about an inch apart.

Whether you dry the pelt on a board or a frame, close the four leg holes with nails or stitches.