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Removing the "mask" for a fly fisher

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Removing the "mask" for a fly fisher

Post Number:#1  Unread postby Miss M » Wed Jan 19, 2011 2:34 pm


It seems my husband's boss is a fly fisherman. He finds out we raise meat rabbits, and so now he wants a pelt from our upcoming freezer camp day in a couple of weeks. But Shay told me he wants the "mask", too -- the skin from the face. Apparently, it's many fly fishermen's favorite parts of a pelt.

How does one go about removing the mask?
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Re: Removing the "mask" for a fly fisher

Post Number:#2  Unread postby Anntann » Wed Jan 19, 2011 5:28 pm


good question. I'd think you would use a small skinning or fillet type knife and work around the skull as you pull downwards. would mean not removing the head from the body so you have something to pull against..but...there must be something online about it. Let's take a look :) Would be like squirrel or raccoon which are both often removed whole for taxidermy.

Found a couple of "fly making" supply sites. Wow. Pretty colors. The hides are tanned, and sell for $5.00 for an 8x12" strip. much higher for one that's already cut into thin strips. The masks sell for $3.00. (they're talking European Hares because of the coloring on the masks).

anyway. The mask looks like it's from a cut-off head. Sliced under the chin down the throat, then removed from the skull.
hares-mask.jpg
hares-mask.jpg (18.21 KiB) Viewed 1657 times


I wonder if it's easier to do after the head is removed from body. Clean out brain, hold down the head while you strip off the skin?

Oh, and I'm going to move this thread to Meat rabbits, since it deals with processing a rabbit and would make for queasy ready.

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Re: Removing the "mask" for a fly fisher

Post Number:#3  Unread postby xlt » Wed Jan 19, 2011 5:52 pm


haven't done it on a rabbit, but a raccoon or two... just takes a bit of time. As Ann said, leave the head on the animal, and if you use cervical dislocation for dispatch, might want to try something else so that the head isn't quite as floppy.

Of course, if they sell for three dollars, might be worth it to just buy him one :)

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Re: Removing the "mask" for a fly fisher

Post Number:#4  Unread postby Jack » Wed Jan 19, 2011 6:48 pm


Could you do it by holding the ears and just kinda squeezing the skull out once you loosened it?
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Re: Removing the "mask" for a fly fisher

Post Number:#5  Unread postby LASGSD » Wed Jan 19, 2011 10:25 pm


If you go to this butchering page on my website and check out the 4th picture down (http://www.rawdogranch.com/meatrabbits/ ... step6.html) you can see that the head is almost clear of the pelt.

What I did for those raw feeders that wanted the heads was to use my VERY sharp knife and gently slice through the membrane holding the pelt to the head. It took a bit of work but I could get the whole pelt off - head and all.

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Re: Removing the "mask" for a fly fisher

Post Number:#6  Unread postby Frosted Rabbits » Wed Jan 19, 2011 10:30 pm


And one cuts the pelt around the eyes= if you ever watched a film showing brain or facial surgery where a person's face is peeled back-- well, you would have seen where the eye areas are cut.
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Re: Removing the "mask" for a fly fisher

Post Number:#7  Unread postby Miss M » Thu Jan 20, 2011 2:23 am


Thank y'all! It's late now, so I'll take a look at your site tomorrow, LASGSD. :)

Ann, I tried a search, but I kept coming up with everything but what I wanted. I did finally find that site you found, though. Maybe I can do better if I try again. :)

Xlt, we use a pellet gun, so the floppy head shouldn't be an issue. You have a point about buying him one, though. :lol: But I'll try to get the mask off of one of ours for him all the same.
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Re: Removing the "mask" for a fly fisher

Post Number:#8  Unread postby Anntann » Thu Jan 20, 2011 7:57 am


I've been perusing some of the fly fishing sites I found because of this, and apparently they like the fact that rabbit fur (and squirrel) floats enough to keep it just below the surface without sinking down. :confused: And the fur on the mask has both coarse and finer stuff, so they can make different types. Who knew?

I wonder if they'd like a french angora pelt? with the extra coarse guard hairs. I may have to send one off to a fly fisherman and see what they say.

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