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Field Dressing Predator (Pelting)

Whether you are skinning a Wolf, Coyote, or fox, the procedure is the same. Hanging the animal by the back legs will make the skinning significantly easier, but you can skin the predator on the ground as well.

Step 1 - Remove the skin from the back legs.

Insert the knife beside the vent and cut along the back of the legs. Work your fingers under the skin of the legs until they can easily meet. Work your way up to roughly three quarters of the leg and make a clean circular cut around the leg at this point. Peel the skin away from the leg and pull down until the leg meat is fully exposed. Repeat for other side.

Step 2 - Remove the tail bone and open the tail.

For this portion, a tail puller tool is highly recommended.

Using a sharp knife, pull the pelt away from the body and carefully cut around the vent. Make sure to not cut through the skin. You just want to separate the pelt from the body. Be careful of the vent and any fluids that may come out. some fluids from this area will have a strong odor that will be difficult to remove. Once you can work your fingers under the skin between the tailbone and the back of the body, begin to pull the base of the tail away until you have 3 to 4 inches of the tail bone exposed. Attached the tail puller and pull it along the length of the tail, removing the bone. Once removed, use a tail zip to cut the tail open. Exposing the inside of the tail will allow it to dry more thoroughly and reduce the chance of rot.

Step 3 - Remove the skin from the body and front legs

Work your fingers under the skin on the underside of the body where the sex organs would be between the rear legs and pull it away. Try to get as much of the fur as you can from this area. Once pulled away, pull the entire skin down towards the head. Work the skin over the front shoulders and keep pulling down until you can get your fingers between the front of the shoulder and the skin. Keep pulling until you can fit your hand in and can grab the front leg with one hand, and the skin with the other. Push the skin down with one hand while pulling the leg up with the other. Do this until you get roughly 2 inches past the front joint of the front leg. Then cut the skin around the leg at this point. Pull the remaining leg out of the skin. Repeat for the other side.

Step 4 - Pull the skin over the head

Pull the skin down over the head. It will be difficult to pull the skin over the back of the head so take your time. Once over the back of the head, pull until you are over the ears. You can see and feel where the ears are. Make a cut along where the ears are to free them from the skin. Using your knife to help, pull the skin down over the eyes, and mouth. Cut the skin off at the nose.

Click Here to watch a video of field dressing (Skinning) a coyote for the fur.