Are you ready to explore the unexpected relationship between skinning large game and compressed air? If you are and find yourself in possession of an air compressor, I highly recommend this clean and quick method to skin your next deer or elk, brought to our attention by @SMHuntington.
1. Hang It Up
You can hang your deer head up or head down, but if you hang it head up by the antlers, you risk detaching one or both. This is more likely to happen later in the season as the bone base weakens following the rut. The other advantage of hanging a deer head down is that it tends to be more stable because the legs form a wider base than the head. Butchers, for example, hang deer head down.
2. Cut a Slit and Insert Nozzle
Use a knife to make a very small incision in the skin covering the deer’s thigh. The hole should be not wider than the nozzle so that when you insert the nozzle it forms an airtight seal. If your cut is too wide or the hide rips, insert the nozzle and seal the edges with duct tape.
3. Air Time
Once you turn on the air, the skin should start to separate from the muscle. If your progress is slowed by air leaking from a large entrance or existing wounds, turn the air off and seal the holes with duct tape. It shouldn’t have to be perfectly airtight to work. Lastly, you’ll want tie the deer down with an anchor rope to prevent it from floating away after it fills with air. Deer balloons are a hazard to aircraft.
4. Rinse and Repeat
Assuming your first effort was not a resounding success, repeat the first three steps as needed. The goal is to completely separate the skin from the layer of fat between the hide and muscle. Once separated, the skin will appear loose and flabby.
How you perform this step depends on how you intend to use the hide. If you want a complete hide, make the traditional cuts along the inner thighs and down the belly so that the hide peels off in one oval-shaped piece. If you’re not particular about the hide, you can pretty much cut anywhere and begin peeling. Keep your knife handy for any spots that may not have separated.