How To Skin A Fox – Step By Step Guide

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Video skinning a fox for tanning

Skinning your first fox can be a daunting task but it should not much different than skinning a coyote. Remember that a fox is more delicate than a coyote and you should take your time especially on the first one to make sure you get a good pelt when you are done.

The method we are going to discuss in this article is how to tube skin a fox. Tube skinning is one of the most common ways and it can be used when selling your fur to a fur buyer, tanning, wall hanging, or slightly modified for taxidermy purposes.

Tube skinning works for all types of fox in North America. This includes the red fox, grey fox, kit fox, arctic fox, and anything in between. If you are looking to trap any of these fox then checkout our fox trapping guide. It explains what traps, bait, and sets to use when trapping fox.

Is It Hard To Skin A Fox?

Skinning a fox can be a little hard at first. If you are skinning a fox for the first time it may take an hour to skin it. Take your time though you should not be in a hurry when you are first starting out and fox pelt will turn out good.

When I skinned my first critter I was trying really hard to do a good job and didn’t have much practice skinning. There is a learning curve to it but it is something you can learn as you watch someone skinning a fox and then try it a few times.

I have added several example videos at the bottom of this article so you can see when different methods of skinning a fox. Watch when the person skinning the fox is pulling and when they are cutting.

Skinning a coyote and a fox are very similar. Checkout our article on how to skin a coyote for more tips on skinning.

How Long Can You Wait To Skin A Fox?

Usually, you are hunting and trapping fox in the cold months. October to February is when most fox have the best fur.

In cold weather, fox will not spoil for two to three days and can be skinned. A fox in warm weather needs to be skinned within a few hours. Fox fur left on the carcass can start to spoil or get green belly and the fur will start to turn a greenish color.

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Green belly is not initially bad if it is light green but as it progresses and the bacteria growing on the fox skin can cause the fur to slip or fall off the hide.

Green belly can be cleaned off with hydrogen peroxide and may not initially ruin a skin.

Tools For Skinning A Fox

  • Fox Gambrel
  • Skinning Knife
  • Tail stripper
  • Tail zipper or splitter

How Do You Professionally Skin A Fox?

Most people professionally skinning fox are doing it to sell the hide and make money. The tube method is the most common method when selling fox pelts.

Steps To Skinning A Fox

  • Cutting Direction: When skinning a fox you may think the cutting direction is down so you can get the skin off but that will cause you to nick the fur and put holes in it. Your cutting direction should be perpendicular to the carcass and should cut the white membrane that appears between the carcass and the hide when pulling down on the fur.
  • Nicking the hide is not a huge deal and can be fixed. Even professionals do it. It can be sewn together later in the fur preparation process but it is best to avoid it. If you have nicked the fur be careful when you pull the fur down off the fox that you are not making the hole bigger and stretching it out.
  • Hang the fox up upside down by the back feet with a gambrel or rope around the legs.
  • Split the fur along the back of the legs where you see a color change in the fur. Start at about the back of the knee and cut in deep. and go around the top of the anus.
  • Work the sin off around the legs by spreading the hair away from where you just cut and skinning the hide around the leg.
  • Split the fur at the knee of the fox and leave the rest of the fur on the foot. When you have enough fur worked down and pull the fur down to about the level of the tail.
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How To Skin a Fox Tail

  • Skin down around the tail creating a gap between the fur on the back and the carcass. Work and skin the fur down the tail an inch or two.
  • Use a tail stripper around the meat of the tail and pull down on the fur and tail stripper while you also push up on the fox with the other hand right where the tail connects to the rest of the carcass.
  • Use a tail zipper or knife to split the tail all the way to the bottom so the tail can dry out.
  • You should now be able to grab a large chunk of fur and pull down all the way to the shoulders and maybe a little farther.
  • Now you should be able to stick a bar into the flesh between the neck and shoulder on both sides and pull down until the fur on the front leg goes over the elbow joint. The fur can then be cut around the leg and pulled through the leg hole.

How To skin a Fox Face, Ears, Lips and Eyes

  • You can now give another good tug down now that the front legs are out. The head should be the only thing left in. The fur should have stopped at the ears.
  • Cut straight into the head and you should be able to cut the ear cartilage at the base of the ear on both sides. You can now stick your finger in the ear and not too hard pull down on the hide and continue skinning.
  • You should start getting into the lips on the sides of the head. They should start to split from the carcass at the corners of the mouth. You can stick your finger in there and pull fairly hard and keep skinning down the rest of the head remembering to cut perpendicular to the carcass.
  • Next, the eyes should be cut fairly deep keeping the eyelashes intact. Again you will cut straight keeping the cuts a little deeper around the eyes.

How To skin a Fox Nose and Lower Jaw

  • Once both eyes are cut skin the nose all the way down the front of the head until you are about a half-inch from the end of the nose. Then cut straight towards the bottom jaw and cut the nose off. The top of the fur should now be free.
  • Next, skin the bottom jaw down about two inches from the end the cut it off leaving the bottom few inches of fur on the carcass. You won’t need that piece. You should now be done.
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How To Skin Fox Paws or Feet

In the tube method of skinning a fox you should not need to skin the feet. As stated above you can cut the fur at the elbows and you will be done.

If you are skinning a Fox for taxidermy then you will need to skin out the feet or paws. You also do not want to cut and leave any of the fur on the carcass.

When skinning out the feet first you will want to split the back of the leg instead of skinning down and cutting it off. Continue skinning down the leg until you ar a few inches from the top of the foot.

You can now split the back of the leg until you come to the big pad at the bottom of the foot. You will then start to skin down the foot until you reach the tird joint on each toe.

You will need to work down and skin each toe individually as you work the hide down. Split the third joint at each toe as you reach it. The middle toes are longer and will be farther to skin than the side toes so finish out the site toes first.

Learning More

I have added a few videos here to help you get a few perspectives on and tips on how to skin a fox. Watch these videos and you will see that each person has their own little tricks.

Fox Trapping Equipment

  • MB 450 Traps
  • Best Coyote Traps
  • Pack Basket
  • Trapping Bag
  • Buckets
  • Trapping Hammer
  • Trapping Sheds
  • Trapping Cabins
  • More Trapping Equipment
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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>