mountain lion

How to Skin a Mountain Lion for the Taxidermist

So you've bagged yourself a mountain lion and not only do you have the meat, but you want a fine pelt to deliver to the taxidermist. Here's how to do it.

HUSH Life's Casey Lavere has just shot his first mountain lion, and he and JT Robbins from Allout Outfitters are about to skin the cat for either a rug or a full body mount.

JT says this is a unique opportunity to watch the skinning process as he begins the first of five main cuts.

He cuts down the inside of each of the four legs, a couple inches up from each paw and following the line where the fur changes color. He cuts from the paw following the fur line to the center of the chest.

He gently cuts and pulls the hide from the meat around each leg, and uses a bone saw to cut the forearms two or three inches up from each pad, leaving the intricate work of fleshing the paws to the taxidermist.

The lion's hide seems thinner than I expected, and JT is careful not to knick it with his knife. The four leg cuts connect to a symmetrical belly cut that goes right down the center of the cat.

JT remarks a couple of times on how fatty this lion was. "This guy must have been eating two deer a week to get that layer of fat on him," he says.

As he nears the pelvic area he says that it's important to leave evidence of sex attached to the hide. When he reaches the tail he follows a similar path that he took with the legs. That is, he makes a cut on the underside about 3/4 down the length of the tail before sawing of the last 1/4 of tail bone.

They peel the entire hide from the carcass before they get to the head, at which point they skin up to a point just below the skull, where they again bring out the saw to cut through the neck bones.

That's it. It's just a matter of taking your time, being methodical and making clean cuts. Now you've got a hide to take to the taxidermist and a carcass full of grade-A mountain lion meat. And cougar meat tastes like pork!

Just imagine how cool it would be to have a full body mount or a mountain lion rug hanging on the wall while you enjoy some prime cougar steaks.

Like what you see here? You can read more great articles by David Smith at his facebook page, Stumpjack Outdoors.

NEXT: Two Mountain Lions Swimming Across Lake Captured on Video by 11-Year Old