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Thursday, November 8, 2012


Notice to all hunters hunting South Africa's northern Transvaal.  We will no longer be accepting trophies harvested in the Limpopo region due to the on going mishandling of skins.  This area of South  Africa is well known for it Water Based tipping procedures.  Trophies coming from the northern regions of South Africa all need to go though a Water Based dip before exportation.  This procedure is 98% responsible for trophies slipping hair.  The other 2% is poor handling in the field.  I have been writing and giving talks about this procedure since 1992 when I first experienced it for my self.  The average hunter will collect 8-10 trophies while hunting in this region.  He will experience a 40 % loss of skins due to the Water Based Dipping process.  The skins shown here are an example of the ongoing practice in South Africa today.  If a hunter has plans on going into these regions, just know that it is not the outfitters fault for the poor handling of trophies that causes the slippage.  It is the Water Based Dipping procedure still practiced today.  I have posted a link to the details of the dipping process. 

The process is a government mandated process.  The only fault that I place on the outfitter, is his acceptance in which his clients skins are being handled.  The South African Professional Hunters Association is fully aware of the problems with the re-hydration of trophies once they have been salted and dried.  Looking at the Cape Buffalo skin shown here is an example of the epidermis slipping do to the dipping process.     

This is a photo of an Eland cape.  Here again the epidermis has slipped due to the re-hydration of the skin.  In my opinion, this is want and waste and should not be tolerated.  I mentioned a 40% loss on skins.  I need the mention that the loss is 40%; on 100% of the hunters.  If a hunter hunts in these regions, he or she will have trophies damage.

  Slippage like this is avoidable with a little involvement by the hunter.  Most hunters send time going to the range, and buying the perfect hunting clothes for photo ops. If this is more important than receiving high quality handle skins, than no research is needed.  Just go hunting have great time and the skinners will take care of the rest.
This hunter paid daily rates, trophy fees, shipping, dipping, clearing, gave tips, and other connected cost, and ended up with this as his trophy.  In the end;  the hunter is responsible for the outcome.  With some research, he or she can avoid this by just hunting in Africa where the Water Based Dipping Procedure is NOT being used.

 I mentioned 2% was do to poor handling.  It is more possible that is 50-60%.  This photo here would look normal to most hunters.  Most guys that call themselves taxidermist would not see a problem either.  When I seen this;   I went crazy.  Stop and look closely at the wet dark area around the edge of the skins.  This is all the moisture that the salt has pulled out.  These skins are soaking wet under;  on the hair side.  The salt did a great job, but can not hold that volume of moisture.  This is where resalting the skin comes into play.  The professional hunter has not been checking on the skinners to be sure they are changing the salt.  All salt needed to be removed from the skin after the first 24 hours.  That salt would be put in a pile to drain.  The skins are then re salted in a second pile.  Again 24 hours later, the salt is removed and the skins salted for the third time.  Following these steps allows the skins to CURE.  We are not trying to dry the skins before they CURED.  It takes 3 full days to CURE any skin correctly.  A skin can be dried in one day, but it will not be CURED.  Understanding the salting process will insure quality skins at the end of the hunt.  ALL hunters should talk with their taxidermist BEFORE they go on the hunt.  This will save skins from being damaged, and at that time the taxidermist may want to purchase from the hunter, skins he will not be using.  This helps with the taxidermy bill.

Like always, the hunters is responsible for any skins that come back mishandled.  The hunter himself has to be involved in the process.  All taxidermist spend time educating their hunters on skin handling.  Locate a good qualified taxidermist, and begin understanding the value of wildlife.    

1 comment:

  1. Wow!! i am very impressed with your lovely post.. i am so glad to left comment so interesting read, would love to read more here....
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