Saturday, October 23, 2010

Skinning A Chipmunk

Another case of "oh my god look what the cat dragged in" but instead of living my life "sin after sin" against nature I realized this nearly untouched but dead chipmunk would be the perfect opportunity to learn to skin an animal. It seemed like such a waste that my cat killed it without even eating it...even though I know various bugs and some other forest animal could scavenge the body.
No better school though then the school of life, alone, with no teacher to show you the right way, just silly survival books with crappy drawings on skinning small critters.
I tied the chipmunk with hemp twine to a pine stick I found on the ground. Then I hung it up for better leverage.
I won't lie, I was trying to multi-task while doing this... I was on the phone with my sister, and going back and forth with my donkey giving her ginger candies. Which is why I probably made my first mistake...
I thought I'd just cut down the belly, but it was hard to penetrate the skin and when I pushed hard enough, some organs started poppin' out like bubble gum slowly filling with air. Then blood dripped and I was totally unsure if I was doing it right...
I took it down to take some time to think, and realized having it hanging up gave the tension, pull I needed to actually cut into the skin. And that I needed to cut somewhere else.
THE SUCCESS:
I decided to cut around the feet (full circle) then a line up each inner thigh all the way across.
And PULL!
and pull HARDER... the skin pealed off.I realized that puncturing the belly was a bad mistake, because the more I had pulled the skin, the more organs were falling out, the more blood...which got on the fur. I left the rest of the chipmunk for the creatures of the forest, away from my porch.
I had to rinse the blood off the chipmunk fur in the kitchen sink, then put it out to dry.
I am really kinda amazed at how simple this is. If any of ya'll have done it before I would really love tips from a expert!
Also, any ideas on what can be made with tiny chipmunk fur? I was thinking about a bracelet, but wish I could think of something more functional.
XOXoxxoxo (dont worry I washed my hands before these hugs and kisses!)

10 comments:

Nova Scotian. said...

I skin from throat to anus, up the legs, around the head and feet. You do not want to puncture the gut cavity as it spoils the meat. You can eat the heart, and the liver if it is not spotted. You should scrap any fat off the fur and salt it lightly to preserve it, you can google that part. I use chipmunks for making hats.

Lou Cheese said...

You could always try to drain the blood first. If you get around to skinning bigger animals, you may want to consider getting a knife designed for the task, like an ulu. Those things are skinning machines. I use mine as a pizza cutter and as a cleaver.

Lou Cheese said...

Oh, and for what to make out of it-coin purse.

Gratuitous said...

Nice. That's one more chipmunk towards your full-length chipmunk fur.

Lou, why wait until it's dead to use it as a coin purse? I bet I could get 98 cents in there any time I want. Hell, why wait until it's dead to use it for a hat? Dead or alive, meat hats rock.

Leslie's Gone Oko said...

Thanks Nova Scotian!
Those are some really helpful tips. Once I punctured the belly, it smelled bad too which makes the whole thing less easy.
I didn't know how to tell if the meat was good, so I put it out for animals, next time I can check for spots.

Lou Cheese ---
My knife is really good, but could use a professional sharpening. Of course a knife designed for skinning would be sweet.
I don't think it's big anough for a coin purse honestly...

Gratu...
nasty dude!

Leslie's Gone Oko said...

Oh, i forgot to mention...
the reason I am learning to skin an animal is so that I can do it when I need the animal for food.
I am not just skinning for the fur, the fur is something that I will use though.
The chipmunk was practice since it was already dead...
cause i have to learn to hunt the types of meat I actually do want to eat. Which is mostly just fish, but some critters too.

Frank said...

better use the salt treatment or better yet. Next time use the brains for skin treatment. Yea, it;s the way to go. Good "luck" No pun intended.

Leslie's Gone Oko said...

Hey Frank...
I do need to cure it. Personally i like the feel of brain tanned skin the most, it's easy to work with when sewing.

Stephanie Rogers said...

Seeing this today made me laugh because I was at my parents' house this past weekend and my sister said "Oh my god, I looked at your friend Leslie's pictures and I screamed out loud when I saw the one where she was doing something to a dead possum!" And I said "You should read her blog!" She's a new vegetarian and still in that phase of utter horror at anything concerning dead animals.

Leslie's Gone Oko said...

Hey Stephanie...
You can tell her I was a vegetarian for something like 10 years, many of which I was vegan. I always loved animals so much, but i had become vegetarian for health reasons to begin with... and for health reasons changed my diet again to the "whatever the hell i am not allergic to" diet. :)))
I still hold many of the same values and that is to be respectful about food, and to eat what is happy in it's growth.

PS- the opossum was killed by a neighbors dog... poor little guy.