Re: Few Things. Impress Me - This does!!!!
Back again. To square a hide first make the proper cuts. Make a cross ways cut between the toes and the pad of the foot. Start the cut down the leg from one end of this cut , following around the edge of the pad to the center of the leg. Make the cut so that when skinned out and laid out flat the pad of the foot will lay towards the back of the hide. (Always have the pad laying toward
the back on both front and rear feet.) After you round the pad to the center of the leg cut down the back of the leg to the vent. This will put the tail at the back end of the hide where it should be, not up in the middle of the back.
Make the belly cut from the vent in a straight line up to but not through the bottom lip. Hold back 3 to 4 inches from the lip. Cut around the front pads the same as described above. Cut down the back of the leg then up to the brisket
so the cuts from both sides meets at the brisket. Skin the bear out , feet , head and all. (It is much easier to skin the head and feet while they are still
attached to the bear. In the dark with dying flashlight batteries and a pouring rain I might opt to cut the feet off and fight skinning them later, but only as a last resort.)
The completely skinned out hide can be squared either before or after fleshing. I prefer to do it after the hide is fleshed. It should always be done before salting. I always do it just before salting.
Lay the hide out flat on a smooth spot with the fur side down. Get someone on each side , hold the middle toe and put about a twenty pound pull on each side, just enough to pull out the wrinkles. Measure from the end of claw to
end of claw. Remember the number in inches. Next put one person on the tail
and one on the nose and do the same, pulling just enough to pull out the wrinkles. Measure from the tip of the nose to the end of the tail in inches.
Add the two numbers together, then divide by two. What ever the end number is convert to feet and inches. Thus an end number on a bear hide of say seventy nine inches would be 6 foot 7 inches. Most guides will round this
number to the nearest half foot , so this bear would square out to six and one
half feet. Then when you say you killed a six and a half footer a knowledgable
person has a very good idea about what size bear you killed.
As you can can see there is ample places for someone to cheat on squaring a hide. You can make the wrong cuts and "flap" the hide, or brace your feet and pull as hard as you possibly can and over stretch the hide to inflate the number. Failing to have the head or feet skinned out or salting the hide before measuring will reduce the number.
The above described method used to be used commonly by the guide indusrtry and gave one a good estimate of a bears size, but more and more
it seems you can not trust the number due to the fact that a lot of guides and hunters alike want to inflate the number to the maximum for status reasons or
Any brown bear over 9 and a half foot is a big bear. Judging by the skull
measurement and the the photos I would estimate the bear at the start of this thread to be about a 10 footer. This size bear is getting harder and harder to come by and anyone taking such a trophy should certainly be
proud of it.