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To get full value for furs, proper handling is as important as catching. Proper handling also shows respect for your catch.

Brushing a pelt

In the field, follow these guidelines for handling fur.

  • If an animal is wet and muddy, rinse it in the cleanest water available. Gently shake the animal or stroke the fur to remove excess water. If there is dry snow, roll the animal in the snow to absorb the water. Dry the fur completely as soon as you get home by hanging the animal by the head or forelegs in a cool place. Use a fan to circulate air and decrease drying time.
  • Do not place wet animals on ice or metal in freezing temperatures. Hairs will freeze to ice or metal. This will cause damage to the pelt when you pick it up.
  • If an animal is trapped on land, keep it dry. Use a brush or comb to remove burs and dirt. Keep in mind that land furbearers may have fleas, ticks, and mites. Handle carcasses in a way that won't contaminate your clothing, vehicle, or home.
  • If an animal is not bloody from shooting, put the animal in a burlap bag or other protective cover to transport it from the field. If there is fresh blood on the fur, lay the animal on newspaper for the drive home.

At home, you will need to skin, flesh, and stretch your pelts.

  • Pelts should be dry before skinning.
  • After skinning, the pelt is fleshed.
  • Then is it pulled over a stretcher to dry in the desired shape.

Pelt Preparation Guide

Review a detailed chart showing the skinning and stretching methods to use for different types of furbearers.