Learning how to skin a coyote can net you $50 per pelt for western coyotes and $25 for eastern coyotes. Not bad—especially if you have the opportunity to bring in several pelts at once. If you don’t know how to skin a coyote, you could always sell the carcass, but you won’t get nearly as much.
Depending on the state, coyotes are considered nuisance animals—vermin. You’re free to exterminate them at will. Why not make a little pocket change while you’re at it? Skinning coyotes isn’t the most pleasant job in the world, but if you decide to do it, don’t throw away the pelts.
How to Skin a Coyote – Step by Step
Skinning a coyote is much like skinning a deer or most other animals for that matter; after all, it’s a quadruped. The shape and form of the body are similar to that of a deer. You’ll need a few tools and a way to hang the coyote before you get started.
- Latex Gloves
- Razor-sharp pocket knife or knives
- Skinning Gambrel
- Game hoist or a good tree
- Knife sharpener
- Fleshing knife
1. Set up
No matter what you use to hang your skinning gambrel, you’ll need a chain or a heavy rope to attach the gambrel to the game hoist, T-Post, tree branch, or whatever you have at hand.
A sharp knife is an absolute must. It’s even better to have a few different blade lengths and a drop-point blade is a huge benefit since they are far better at skinning than clip-point blades. Keep your whetstone handy, especially if this is your first time.
Your blade will encounter bone more often than not, and bone does a fantastic job of turning your knife into a dull and useless tool. Use a hatchet to cut off the forepaws at the front joint. You can do the same with the back paws, but you don’t have to.
2. Hang the Carcass and Begin
When they say start at the back legs, it’s important to understand that you need to start your cuts where the last joint is before the coyote’s paw. It’s the joint that is most similar to a human ankle. Your cut starts here, just above the knob of the joint (on the thigh side, not the paw side of the joint).
Cut in a circle, all the way around the leg. Oftentimes, you can follow the color pattern of the coyote, where it meets the lighter colors in this spot. Draw your cut up the back of the legs, towards the anus, and around the tail and anus. Cut down the center of the tail and remove the tailbone.
Removing the tailbone by hand is often difficult. However, you can purchase a deer skinning claw to help you pull the bone out of the tail.
3. Stomach and back
By now, you should have peeled the skin down from the legs to just above the anus. Since you cut around the anus, you should be able to continue pulling the hide down. Use your fleshing knife to cut the membrane when the skin stops pulling.
Anytime you cut around the stomach, exercise caution. You don’t want to open up its belly. Work the skin down past the neck, as far as you can go.
4. Eyes, Nose, and Ears
You will have to cut these out carefully. It’s like cutting out holes for a mask—you simply cut out around the eyes, the ears, and the nose. Once you’ve made the cuts, you should be able to pull straight down, separating the hide from the body.
Once you’re all done, you can typically sell the hide as is. However, if you want to make a lot more money off the hide, you can tan it. You can do this just like you would a deer hide or a rabbit hide. The process is the same.
The more coyotes you kill and skin, the better you will get at it until you can skin a coyote quickly and easily.
You don’t have to skin a coyote, but there are a lot of advantages to doing so, especially if you decide to tan the skin afterward. Coyotes, like most vermin and rodents, breed fairly quickly and often. There’s a good chance it won’t be long before new coyotes show up, especially if you live pretty rural.
You’re not going to make yourself a millionaire by selling coyote hides, but you can certainly turn it into a lucrative side gig. If nothing else, you can add a whole new aesthetic to your home, with pelt rugs, wall hangings, or you can set up your own booth at the farmer’s market.
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