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 Post subject: Otter Fleshing
PostPosted: 27 Jan 2015, 19:14 
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I picked up a decent road kill otter today, and need some advice on fleshing it. I have never touched an otter, before today, so you can guess this was my first time skinning, and I need a little help on fleshing it. Any advice will be appreciated. The way its laying in the pic it measures 42" tip to tip. Is this big, medium, or small?

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 Post subject: Re: Otter Fleshing
PostPosted: 27 Jan 2015, 20:36 
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Mark if you go to archives click on fur handling. There is a post from few years back on otter that I did. The pics are not shown now but will come up if you click on them. If it is to much just let me know and I can try and send step by step info to you. My otter today was 41 inches tip to tip. Large for sure but till it gets on the board and stretched hard to tell where it will end up. 34 to 36 inches is large. 36 to 38 is xlarge and over that is xxl. That's from tip of nose to base of tail. Looks really pale the otter, not a good sign as this year the dark ones are being sought after. A gift for sure and a chance to try your hand on a slider.


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 Post subject: Re: Otter Fleshing
PostPosted: 27 Jan 2015, 20:42 
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wolf1199 wrote:
Mark if you go to archives click on fur handling. There is a post from few years back on otter that I did. The pics are not shown now but will come up if you click on them. If it is to much just let me know and I can try and send step by step info to you. My otter today was 41 inches tip to tip. Large for sure but till it gets on the board and stretched hard to tell where it will end up. 34 to 36 inches is large. 36 to 38 is xlarge and over that is xxl. That's from tip of nose to base of tail. Looks really pale the otter, not a good sign as this year the dark ones are being sought after. A gift for sure and a chance to try your hand on a slider.


Thanks Wolf, I will look it up. I'm not sure I will sell it, thought about having it tanned, but not positive, I would rather tan one I caught myself. We saw three one morning duck hunting, and may try my luck catching one with some new 220 LDL traps that showed up at my house. :mrgreen:


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 Post subject: Re: Otter Fleshing
PostPosted: 28 Jan 2015, 01:55 
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wolf1199 wrote:
Mark if you go to archives click on fur handling. There is a post from few years back on otter that I did. The pics are not shown now but will come up if you click on them. If it is to much just let me know and I can try and send step by step info to you. My otter today was 41 inches tip to tip. Large for sure but till it gets on the board and stretched hard to tell where it will end up. 34 to 36 inches is large. 36 to 38 is xlarge and over that is xxl. That's from tip of nose to base of tail. Looks really pale the otter, not a good sign as this year the dark ones are being sought after. A gift for sure and a chance to try your hand on a slider.

Wolf,

As I know little to nothing about putting up otter, I went to the archives to look at your post. Only picture that was available was the first one. All others that I looked for indicated it had been moved or deleted. Also, looked at another thread and had the same issue. Is there a way to attach pictures to this forum so they don't disappear?

REM


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 Post subject: Re: Otter Fleshing
PostPosted: 28 Jan 2015, 08:31 
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I think it is my photo bucket that has removed or locked the pics. I'll see what I can do.


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 Post subject: Re: Otter Fleshing
PostPosted: 28 Jan 2015, 09:43 
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If you move pictures from one folder to another in pb, it will do that. Even if you move them from the general folder that most folks download to. If they are moved it zaps em....period. Any pic that is not moved will stay on here until the sun dont shine. Trick is to move them to a folder where you want them to stay before you post them.

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 Post subject: Re: Otter Fleshing
PostPosted: 28 Jan 2015, 12:11 
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remrogers wrote:
wolf1199 wrote:
Mark if you go to archives click on fur handling. There is a post from few years back on otter that I did. The pics are not shown now but will come up if you click on them. If it is to much just let me know and I can try and send step by step info to you. My otter today was 41 inches tip to tip. Large for sure but till it gets on the board and stretched hard to tell where it will end up. 34 to 36 inches is large. 36 to 38 is xlarge and over that is xxl. That's from tip of nose to base of tail. Looks really pale the otter, not a good sign as this year the dark ones are being sought after. A gift for sure and a chance to try your hand on a slider.

Wolf,

As I know little to nothing about putting up otter, I went to the archives to look at your post. Only picture that was available was the first one. All others that I looked for indicated it had been moved or deleted. Also, looked at another thread and had the same issue. Is there a way to attach pictures to this forum so they don't disappear?

REM


REM, you did better than I did, I couldn even find the archives. :evil:


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 Post subject: Re: Otter Fleshing
PostPosted: 28 Jan 2015, 12:50 
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Go to BOARD INDEX and scroll down, almost to the bottom. Believe there are six or seven threads there.


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 Post subject: Re: Otter Fleshing
PostPosted: 28 Jan 2015, 19:19 
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hope this works. amak you were right about moving.

Image
first off when fleshing otter is to wet the beam or mist the fur as fleshing causes friction which causes heat which could singe your otter fur

Image
Starting at the head I use a knife to flesh the hard parts and once I get past the ears I switch to my Teflon flesher. You in most cases probably don't have one, so what ever you use for a fleshing tool and it's sharp one will have to be very careful.

Image
Just keep fleshing all the way down. I spin the fur after 4 to 6 inches so that I go down even on the otter.

Image
When I get near the base end of the otter, 3 to 4 inches I trim all the fleshing's that have rolled up to this point then add sawdust.

Image
Then I scrape the rest right off the pelt. The sawdust acts as a grease absorbent and also adds some grab to the fat so that the flesher will grab instead of slide over. Don't be shy on the sawdust.

Image
now with the otter fleshed we still have to do the tail

Image
there is a center ridge that flows down the otter tail. Using a metal flesher one can very easily cut the tail. So what I do is flay both sides of the ridge starting from center outwards. Go down 7 or 8 inches.

Image
Then I add more sawdust

Image
then I start doing one side

Image

Image

Image
once you get to this point the ridge is very slight and one can flesh right down. Use sawdust after every couple swipes with the flesher. Keeps the fur for being greasy.

Image
When your tail is done it should look like this.

Image
when boarding pull your fur down and pin the end of tail. Do you see how nice that fur looks by using sawdust

Image
Start by putting your pins on both sides of the tail. My tails I make wide and short, long tails are also acceptable.

Image
After you have a few pins in on both sides remove the pin at the tail so your fur can ride up as you pin wide. If you do not like this method then your tail pin at the end can stay in.

Image
end result of a wide short tail

Image
pin your sides of the otter at edge of board belly side

Image
now we have to cut out the inspection window. Buyers need to be able to look inside and up to evaluate the fur. To small a window could result in a guessing game for the grader and work against you.

Image
A nice size inspection window

Image
now we move up to the front legs. Trim off the extra fur and fat so that the legs will tuck in. You can also sew them up. Trappers choice.

Image
Front legs have been trimmed and ready for tucking

Image
front legs folded.

Image
next trim the lips off the otter

Image
Install your belly board. Do not forget or you will not be pleasant when trying to remove the otter later

Image

Image
done. Dry in cool place 50 to 60. Heat can singe.


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 Post subject: Re: Otter Fleshing
PostPosted: 29 Jan 2015, 14:21 
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wolf1199 wrote:
hope this works. amak you were right about moving.

Image
first off when fleshing otter is to wet the beam or mist the fur as fleshing causes friction which causes heat which could singe your otter fur

Image
Starting at the head I use a knife to flesh the hard parts and once I get past the ears I switch to my Teflon flesher. You in most cases probably don't have one, so what ever you use for a fleshing tool and it's sharp one will have to be very careful.

Image
Just keep fleshing all the way down. I spin the fur after 4 to 6 inches so that I go down even on the otter.

Image
When I get near the base end of the otter, 3 to 4 inches I trim all the fleshing's that have rolled up to this point then add sawdust.

Image
Then I scrape the rest right off the pelt. The sawdust acts as a grease absorbent and also adds some grab to the fat so that the flesher will grab instead of slide over. Don't be shy on the sawdust.

Image
now with the otter fleshed we still have to do the tail

Image
there is a center ridge that flows down the otter tail. Using a metal flesher one can very easily cut the tail. So what I do is flay both sides of the ridge starting from center outwards. Go down 7 or 8 inches.

Image
Then I add more sawdust

Image
then I start doing one side

Image

Image

Image
once you get to this point the ridge is very slight and one can flesh right down. Use sawdust after every couple swipes with the flesher. Keeps the fur for being greasy.

Image
When your tail is done it should look like this.

Image
when boarding pull your fur down and pin the end of tail. Do you see how nice that fur looks by using sawdust

Image
Start by putting your pins on both sides of the tail. My tails I make wide and short, long tails are also acceptable.

Image
After you have a few pins in on both sides remove the pin at the tail so your fur can ride up as you pin wide. If you do not like this method then your tail pin at the end can stay in.

Image
end result of a wide short tail

Image
pin your sides of the otter at edge of board belly side

Image
now we have to cut out the inspection window. Buyers need to be able to look inside and up to evaluate the fur. To small a window could result in a guessing game for the grader and work against you.

Image
A nice size inspection window

Image
now we move up to the front legs. Trim off the extra fur and fat so that the legs will tuck in. You can also sew them up. Trappers choice.

Image
Front legs have been trimmed and ready for tucking

Image
front legs folded.

Image
next trim the lips off the otter

Image
Install your belly board. Do not forget or you will not be pleasant when trying to remove the otter later

Image

Image
done. Dry in cool place 50 to 60. Heat can singe.


Thanks for the info Wolf, very well done and informative!! I do have one question. You say to use saw dust at the base of the animal; can I use Borax instead of saw dust?

Also, one thing that made me chuckle, in the first pic you show using snow to wet the board. Do I have to wait 4 or 5 years to get some snow before I can flesh it? :--D

Thanks again, Wolf, if work will let me I may give it a try this weekend, that is if we get the snow needed to wet the board. Hmmm, yesterdays high was 79, but it could still snow. :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Otter Fleshing
PostPosted: 29 Jan 2015, 16:36 
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Thanks for the info Wolf, very well done and informative!! I do have one question. You say to use saw dust at the base of the animal; can I use Borax instead of saw dust?

Also, one thing that made me chuckle, in the first pic you show using snow to wet the board. Do I have to wait 4 or 5 years to get some snow before I can flesh it? :--D

Thanks again, Wolf, if work will let me I may give it a try this weekend, that is if we get the snow needed to wet the board. Hmmm, yesterdays high was 79, but it could still snow. :lol:




Wannab I have never used borax for a grease and fat absorbent on my otter. I could not honestly say how it would work. One could only try or just flesh it as it is with out anything.

The snow showed up better to indicate to wet the beam then the liquid stuff :wink: Good luck with your otter and let me know how you made out.


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 Post subject: Re: Otter Fleshing
PostPosted: 04 Feb 2015, 22:14 
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I always enjoy your pictorial instructions Wolf! You are the Master Fur Handler. No way is fleshing an otter as easy as you make it seem. But all the information is great. Some day I hope to be able to one as nice and pretty as all yours turn out. I use borax instead of sawdust and water instead of snow.

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 Post subject: Re: Otter Fleshing
PostPosted: 05 Feb 2015, 19:02 
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Hey Wolf, I don't have an otter board; would a bobcat board work for drying the otter?


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 Post subject: Re: Otter Fleshing
PostPosted: 05 Feb 2015, 19:32 
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Wolf, do you use sawdust on your beavers when you flesh them?


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 Post subject: Re: Otter Fleshing
PostPosted: 05 Feb 2015, 21:09 
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I cant answer for wolf....but I know he is busy with a trapping and fur show this week.

Wannab, bobcat boards will work, i've done 2 on them. Mine were adjustables, but cat and otter boards are close.

Image


Image

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 Post subject: Re: Otter Fleshing
PostPosted: 05 Feb 2015, 21:33 
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Thanks amak, it seems to work good. One little thing is that the inspection window has to be wider and a little higher up. Great put up. Yes amak been a busy day and two more to go.


Browning625 wrote:
Wolf, do you use sawdust on your beavers when you flesh them?


No sir I do not, what I use sawdust on and only towards the bottom end are mink, fisher, fox, otter and lynx.


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 Post subject: Re: Otter Fleshing
PostPosted: 06 Feb 2015, 06:18 
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Thanks wolf for the reminder on the window. I remember you telling me of that from before and will try hard to mimic yours next time. I didnt mind back at the time in doing the window tight because this otter and the other one I done were going to the tannery to be made into our now favorite hats. So please do not pattern the put ups after this one if going to sell.

I will say that though the cat board got me by at the time, I would MUCH rather use an otter specific solid board. I have a couple VERY nice otter boards hand made in Dryden Ontario, that are first class boards. :wink: Now I just need to get off my duff and catch me a couple more to try them out. I hear rumors that sliders are getting pretty close to my trapping area....I intend to find out if its true, when our regular season closes on Feb 15. I just cant make the drive I did before to catch the first two. Pain in the butt!

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 Post subject: Re: Otter Fleshing
PostPosted: 06 Feb 2015, 10:29 
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Thanks Amak for the info. I should have asked the question in general, instead of asking of one person. I was looking at NAFA's recommendations for otter & cat boards and found them to be quite close in dimensions, so I figured the cat board would work for this one otter. Shannon is wanting to put some traps out and try to catch an otter, I guess if we do I could drive over to Mansfield LA, and buy an otter board, heck its only 13 bucks.


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 Post subject: Re: Otter Fleshing
PostPosted: 12 Feb 2015, 18:22 
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This is one of the best threads ive ever seen. I looked at it the other day before doing our probably last otter of the year. One question though, is there a trick to doing the shoulders? 2 of ours had shoulders that made fleshing a beaver seem easy? I did what i could with our fleshing knife, kinda like "smoothing" the rougher spot(s)and ended up using a 4" fillet knife to literally whittle down the fat/tissue a frogs hair at a time. Is there an easier way or trick? Ive seriously considered buying a premo fleshing knife just because of the otters. Probably sounds like dumb questions but this is only the second year we have had an otter season. Feel like im in first grade again running 5 'rat traps.

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 Post subject: Re: Otter Fleshing
PostPosted: 13 Feb 2015, 17:10 
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Backwoodsmansback wrote:
This is one of the best threads ive ever seen. I looked at it the other day before doing our probably last otter of the year. One question though, is there a trick to doing the shoulders? 2 of ours had shoulders that made fleshing a beaver seem easy? I did what i could with our fleshing knife, kinda like "smoothing" the rougher spot(s)and ended up using a 4" fillet knife to literally whittle down the fat/tissue a frogs hair at a time. Is there an easier way or trick? Ive seriously considered buying a premo fleshing knife just because of the otters. Probably sounds like dumb questions but this is only the second year we have had an otter season. Feel like im in first grade again running 5 'rat traps.


When you say shoulders do you mean the backside or belly side? The hardest part of fleshing an otter is from the eyes back to the front legs. The reason is that there is very little fat under the membrane if any so the flesher has a hard time. One trick that I do is take my beaver skinning knife and flay back some of the thin membrane so that your flesher has something to grab onto. I never use a sharp flesher for the head area as you can add an extra ear hole with out trying. Dull works just fine in my books. I have to go check some sets in the next few days and if I connect on another slider I will do a step by step head area to front legs for you.


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 Post subject: Re: Otter Fleshing
PostPosted: 14 Feb 2015, 15:47 
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Right on top(backside)even with the front of the shoulders. Acts like its greasy super glue. Dang dest stuff ive ever dealt with. Thanks..

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 Post subject: Re: Otter Fleshing
PostPosted: 23 Feb 2015, 16:17 
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Here you go BWM, hope this helps to some degree. It was hard as I had no one to take pics as I moved along.

Image
When I start an otter I use a very sharp knife to start flaying back the meat and membrane. Since there is very little fat or meat on the head it some times is hard for your flesher to get hold of. By doing this a few inches back you now have something to grab onto.

Image
then I take my metal flesher which is not very sharp and start rolling back the membrane and meat. Once I get to the ear I will roll the hide and start over at the nose and work back.

Image
This is the back side, this is the hardest spot to remove. But once you have the membrane rolling it will peel back, it might take a few times working the flesher. I go as far as the ears and roll again. You just keep working around the otter till you are even.

Image
this is the belly side and very easy to flesh

Image
You can see there is a great amount of fat starting at the head on the belly side. I still use the metal flesher at this point until I reach the front legs

Image
again roll your otter and flesh

Image
we are past the ears and by rotating your even all the way round. I find this best for me.

Image
this is were you are having problem I think. Not much fat what so ever but lots of sinew. Flip your otter over at this point and do the belly side up to the front legs

Image


Image
roll the otter and do the sides. By doing this you are working towards the back and will have a thins strip left in the middle

Image
this what you end up with in the middle of the shoulder area. By working into the back I find it much easier to remove the sinew and gristle then going straight down the back. One thing is to always wipe the grease off your flesher often. By not doing so you can feel the flesher floating and not biting into the flesh.

Image
back is done

Image
roll and do the legs

Image

Image
clean as a whistle. The rest is easy as the hard part is finished.

Image

Image
otter was 40 inches from nose to base of tail. xx2. Did notice today in better light that there is small sign of singe plus the female otter had a confrontation with a beaver in the past.


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 Post subject: Re: Otter Fleshing
PostPosted: 23 Feb 2015, 16:28 
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Thanks for posting this Wolf, very informative!! I still have not done mine but am hoping to do so this weekend.


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 Post subject: Re: Otter Fleshing
PostPosted: 23 Feb 2015, 20:10 
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Great info as usual Wolf, I am glad you paid attention when I was teaching you those tricks. :roll: :lol: :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Otter Fleshing
PostPosted: 23 Feb 2015, 22:51 
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Thank you wolf! Now im ready to try another one. If your getting singe that far north i wonder what shape ours will be in? We dont have any fresh sign under the bridges/overhangs etc so we may be done for the year anyhow as far as otter? I think the ones we caught were resident family units, i guess thats a proper term ? Nephews supposed to post some pics to my photo bucket tonight when he gets off work.

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