It was time for the groundhog tanning. I had caught these puppies in a trap and promptly frozen them. The two big ones, the ones I was really hoping to taxidermy, were both write offs. They had spent too long in the trap and they were absolutely foul. I simply caped them and tossed them in the compost bin. The two young ones were too small to taxidermy (I’m not building a form) and thus were skinned whole and tossed. Bottom line is the reason why people gut deer immediately is because the meat spoils immediately. The reason why people trapped beaver instead of groundhog was because killing a beaver underwater kept it cold and preserved until you came to pick it up. The hair slip on the one groundhog was enough to give me pause, but the two juvenile groundhogs seemed to be OK.
As far as eating them is concerned, I probably could have cooked up the smaller ones but I wasn’t really keen on trying it since the two adults which I attempted first were so gross and far gone that I wasn’t going to risk cross contamination to the younger ones. They all had been frozen and defrosted together.
Now, I am a huge fan of krowtann 2000. Other tanning products are either a mess to use or nothing more than battery acid with a neat label. If you’re reading it and the ingredients call for salt, iodine, veggie oil and basically anything but salt it’s simply battery acid with a neat label. Krowtann, whatevers in there (it’s acid, mercury and god knows what else, but it’s oh so pretty), just requires noniodized salt.
I’m tanning in a plastic bucket from home depot, and I made up enough to do a “fullsize bobcat”. This is more than enough to do four groundhogs so I’ll save it in the bucket until hunting season and maybe do a few squirrels too. This stuff, for anyone interested in it, works awesome. You dump the rough pelts in there, the meat just sloughs right off in strips after a day, and the pelts themselves come out brilliant white after just one day in the solution. I’ll be neutralizing the pelts this weekend and post pictures but this krowtann stuff is amazing.