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Finishing Mink. #6381829
11/25/18 09:06 PM
11/25/18 09:06 PM
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james bay frontierOnt.
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How do you guys finish your mink,lets see them.Mink is a common furbearer all over North America,with good,prime, well handled bringing around $20 at auction.I have been finishing mine according to the auction house specs now for about 25 years.How do the local fur buyers in your area want them finished?
Mine are-
-saddle on
-skirt pleated on back
-tail pinned short
-front legs tucked
-trimmed window on belly(grease free)
-lower lip removed

[Linked Image]

Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6381881
11/25/18 10:17 PM
11/25/18 10:17 PM
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Boco , same here but I guess I need to remove lower lip. Would be happy to avg. $12.50 here but maybe a huge difference in size?

Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6381913
11/25/18 10:44 PM
11/25/18 10:44 PM
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james bay frontierOnt.
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I didn't mean 20 avg o8o8o8,-20 for the better ones.smalls,unprime or ticks/scars out.I think our mink are on the small side.The auctions only want good fur right now,so that is what I send.(like the ones in the pic).I tan the others and sell for 60ea.

Last edited by Boco; 11/25/18 10:48 PM.
Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6381916
11/25/18 10:50 PM
11/25/18 10:50 PM
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Gotcha. Now I feel a little better.

Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6382014
11/26/18 12:14 AM
11/26/18 12:14 AM
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100 Mile House, BC Can
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[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]


The only constant in trapping is change so keep learning.






Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6382036
11/26/18 12:27 AM
11/26/18 12:27 AM
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james bay frontierOnt.
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That's a nice big mink tomcat but it looks like you scraped off the saddle.

Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6382058
11/26/18 12:40 AM
11/26/18 12:40 AM
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Yes Boco the saddle has been removed. On western and northern mink, with lots of fat under it, it is recommended that it be removed.


The only constant in trapping is change so keep learning.






Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6382084
11/26/18 01:02 AM
11/26/18 01:02 AM
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My mink are northern and often have a lot of fat under the saddle,but I never remove the saddle,just push out the fat from under it.If you remove the saddle you have to be very careful not to damage the delicate skin.I think the buyers feel more confident in a collection with saddles on and pay a little more.
[Linked Image]
.

Last edited by Boco; 11/26/18 01:34 AM.
Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6382096
11/26/18 01:09 AM
11/26/18 01:09 AM
Joined: Jul 2009
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100 Mile House, BC Can
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If it works for you find. All I can say regarding my processing is that I have received numerous top lot certificates re mink I have shipped to auction.


The only constant in trapping is change so keep learning.






Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: bctomcat] #6382181
11/26/18 02:18 AM
11/26/18 02:18 AM
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Boco, I believe the mink from your area are classed as north-central rather than western or northern so the difference in processing:

From the NAFA pelt handing manual:
Due to excessive fat under the saddle, western and northern sections of Wild Mink are
clean-scraped, whereas north-central and southern Mink
with less fat have saddles left on. However, it is important
if saddles are to remain on the pelt that all fat under the
saddle is removed. If the saddle is to be removed, remember
that Mink leather is delicate and care must be taken not to
over-scrape or damage the leather with false knife cuts
or nicks.


The only constant in trapping is change so keep learning.






Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6382192
11/26/18 02:28 AM
11/26/18 02:28 AM
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james bay frontierOnt.
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In our area,Tomcat,our mink will grade northern with some NC.There are actually 6 distinct sections of wild mink in Ontario,but some are intersorted nowadays,because of the buyers preference for larger lots.The Northerns are still lotted separately.

Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6382203
11/26/18 02:43 AM
11/26/18 02:43 AM
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Very nice put-up.


I trap for fun. I skin 'em for the money!
Grinners For Life-Lifetime Member, MO Chapter, Den #1
~You Grin, You're In~
Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6382229
11/26/18 03:02 AM
11/26/18 03:02 AM
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Wisconsin
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I use screen on my mink tails It's just easier.


The forum Know It All according to Muskrat
Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6382513
11/26/18 03:53 PM
11/26/18 03:53 PM
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Armpit, ak
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I had this discussion about mink saddles with Gibb here one time. The main reason that they recommend leaving the saddle on anywhere is the Auctions don't trust trappers not to damage pelts removing them. Made sense to me. IMO it is easier to remove the fat under the saddle with the saddle. We got some fat mink.


Who is John Galt?
Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6382587
11/26/18 05:53 PM
11/26/18 05:53 PM
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NAFA will not dock you If you remove the saddle.


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Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6383149
11/27/18 04:14 AM
11/27/18 04:14 AM
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james bay frontierOnt.
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The auction doesn't dock for anything,but I know the buyers like to see the saddles on mink.

Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6383153
11/27/18 04:18 AM
11/27/18 04:18 AM
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The buyers only see the show lots. They never see the other skins since for the most part those skins are shipped straight to the tannery.
So It depends on what Is put Into the show lots.


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Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6383171
11/27/18 04:44 AM
11/27/18 04:44 AM
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The show lots are a representative cross section of the bulk.

Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6383176
11/27/18 04:56 AM
11/27/18 04:56 AM
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So they separate all the mink with saddles from the ones with out. BS Boco.


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Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6383180
11/27/18 05:07 AM
11/27/18 05:07 AM
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james bay frontierOnt.
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LOL,no,when the buyers see a bunch of mink with saddles removed mixed in they wont bid as much for the whole string.They tan different also.

Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6383199
11/27/18 06:18 AM
11/27/18 06:18 AM
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Well "Boco" like I said earlier I have numerous "top lot" certificates for mink! And, as I understand it "top lot" brings the highest price, and I have removed the saddle from most all western mink I have processed.


The only constant in trapping is change so keep learning.






Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6383312
11/27/18 01:23 PM
11/27/18 01:23 PM
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It seems to me when fur Is shipped to NAFA It hasn't been graded yet. So NAFA graders are doing the grading on each and every pelt.
So If the grader sees something wrong with a hide It's being down graded. And that my friend Is the same as being DOCKED.


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Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: bctomcat] #6383314
11/27/18 01:26 PM
11/27/18 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by bctomcat
Well "Boco" like I said earlier I have numerous "top lot" certificates for mink! And, as I understand it "top lot" brings the highest price, and I have removed the saddle from most all western mink I have processed.


You have to remember bctomcat that It's Bocos way or the HI way. LOL
You both do outstanding put up.


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Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6383424
11/27/18 03:48 PM
11/27/18 03:48 PM
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james bay frontierOnt.
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The top lot designation is irrelevant.If they all had intact saddles the buyers would have been comfortable offering a 2 to 3 dollar more price per pelt in the entire lot,like has been stated in the auction house fur handling manual.
I am just trying to help trappers get better money by passing on the information from the auction houses.As a tanner I know that mink,like muskrats tan better with intact saddles,and from speaking with furriers/buyers they have indicated they prefer intact saddles on wild mink.The reason given is that although some mink with saddles removed will be fine,there will be some issues with exposed hair roots on some of those skins and they bid accordingly.

Last edited by Boco; 11/27/18 03:50 PM.
Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6383427
11/27/18 03:55 PM
11/27/18 03:55 PM
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Armpit, ak
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I'll help trappers too. If you can tan and sell your bad mink for $60, don't send your good mink to Auction to sell for $20. Well unless they have saddles.


Who is John Galt?
Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6383434
11/27/18 04:05 PM
11/27/18 04:05 PM
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james bay frontierOnt.
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That is after value added work Dirt.The avg will be about the same as the good mink sold at auction.You do know that time is money,right?
I have found 60 is the optimum price point that I can move my inventory at.Lower,I will run out,higher I wont move enough.
If I could move them at 75 I might consider tanning the good ones also.
Thing is,the market that I sell tanned mink into is not concerned about primeness/slt dmg to a great extent. Dmg like a missing tail would likely make a skin unsellable regardless of prime.You need to know your market.These are a sample of the II's suitable for my market.[Linked Image]

Last edited by Boco; 11/27/18 04:11 PM.
Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6383438
11/27/18 04:10 PM
11/27/18 04:10 PM
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Armpit, ak
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Whatever Boco.. It cost $10 to tan a mink. Beav when Juan uses that fleshing machine on all those ranch mink in Stoughton does he leave the saddle on?


Who is John Galt?
Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6383442
11/27/18 04:17 PM
11/27/18 04:17 PM
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james bay frontierOnt.
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james bay frontierOnt.
I pay myself around 20 to tan because I do it by "hand".The rest of the cost is travel to market etc.Saddles are removed from ranch mink with a machine that uses rubber "fingers" to do the work.No problem with hair root dmg to those.And the tannery can adjust the tanning process from initial soak ,shaving etc to accommodate a batch of mink, none of which have saddles.
Problem with wild fur is the inconsistency in handling.

Last edited by Boco; 11/27/18 04:20 PM.
Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6383508
11/27/18 05:17 PM
11/27/18 05:17 PM
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Boco, both NAFA and FHA pelt handling manuals have specified to remove saddles from Western and Northern mink for at least the last 25 years. It seems to me this has been argued repeatedly on here.......
Both bctomcat and Boco have processed their mink properly, for their particular region. However, encouraging ALL Western mink saddles to be left on is an absurd suggestion. Some of the leaner mink saddles can be left intact, with no problems. I have seen Northern and Western mink with a pound of fat under the saddle, there is no way you could even possibly dry them, as they will weep grease and oil, which continuously softens the skin, and rapidly oxidizes/ yellows. These types of mink must be fleshed clean, I've never found it all that difficult to clean flesh them, without damaging the roots of the fur, just kind of slow, as you have to be careful to keep all that grease off the skirt fur. Canadian auctions ARE NOT the place to sell mink these days, or most fur for that matter!!!! So kind of irrelevant what they want! HA!

Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Dirt] #6383519
11/27/18 05:35 PM
11/27/18 05:35 PM
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I'm making a run down there tomorrow I'll check It out.


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Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6383605
11/27/18 07:34 PM
11/27/18 07:34 PM
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james bay frontierOnt.
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Well.T4E If you read what is copied from the fur handling manual you can easily see that the buyers have more confidence in the product with saddles left on.Furriers that I know and speak to on a regular basis have confirmed what the auction house has said.If your mink have a pound of fat on them I suppose you have no choice in the matter.I have handled quite a few very fat mink with the saddles on.Not a pound of fat though,lol.

As a matter of fact I had a true top lot mink(why I remember it) that was the fattest I had ever seen,and I handled it saddle on,pushing about an eighth of an inch at least of fat a out from underneath the saddle.

In the Fur Bible,it states that buyers prefer mink with saddles left on but that most western and Northern trappers feel there is too much fat and prefer to remove the saddle.


Last edited by Boco; 11/27/18 07:46 PM.
Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6383617
11/27/18 07:55 PM
11/27/18 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Boco
The show lots are a representative cross section of the bulk.



At least that is how it is supposed to work.............

Speaking from years of buying at NAFA, it doesn't always work out that way. Just saying.

Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6383641
11/27/18 08:29 PM
11/27/18 08:29 PM
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james bay frontierOnt.
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How timely,these just came in the mail .

[Linked Image]

Just goes to show not all northern section mink need to have the saddles removed.

Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6383695
11/27/18 10:08 PM
11/27/18 10:08 PM
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Armpit, ak
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It's too bad; those could have been tanned $60 mink. frown

Last edited by Dirt; 11/27/18 10:24 PM.

Who is John Galt?
Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6383713
11/27/18 10:47 PM
11/27/18 10:47 PM
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james bay frontierOnt.
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No they couldn't.It would saturate my market and I would have to lower the prices to less than 25cdn before value added to get rid of more than I currently do.My supply is fine tuned to the market to sell all at around a 25 cdn avg before added value.(a match to the auction avg of the better skins).

I price my beaver the same way only have to charge more as I ship those to the tanner.International charges $30 to tan mink.China charges $2 I hear.

Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6383726
11/27/18 11:01 PM
11/27/18 11:01 PM
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I don't know why you guys are pounding your chests on a top lot mink. I got one for a road killed male a few years back! Don't ask which fur house it was, cuz I'm not saying...LOL

Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6383731
11/27/18 11:04 PM
11/27/18 11:04 PM
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Not pounding chest,proving a point.
Funny you think that way.

Last edited by Boco; 11/27/18 11:05 PM.
Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6383742
11/27/18 11:11 PM
11/27/18 11:11 PM
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I've been known to laugh at myself on occasion ... Sorry Boco your a good man and you deserve everyone's respect. For all you do on this forum.

Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6383811
11/28/18 12:16 AM
11/28/18 12:16 AM
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Well congratulations on getting $10 U.S. minus commission on those female mink.

Last edited by Dirt; 11/28/18 12:16 AM.

Who is John Galt?
Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6383961
11/28/18 02:24 AM
11/28/18 02:24 AM
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Thank you.My avg was 20.
Have to ship the little ones,cant sell em,the buyers want the bigger ones for dodem.

Last edited by Boco; 11/28/18 02:28 AM.
Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6383976
11/28/18 02:31 AM
11/28/18 02:31 AM
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That is an interesting point, Boco, about the $2 to $3 more per pelt. Never heard that one before. Every NAFA and FHA pelt handling manual I've ever seen or read has specified saddle removal is acceptable for both Northern and Western sections of mink. If you re-read my first post closely, you'll see I said it is acceptable for the leaner Western and Northen mink to be left saddle intact. I didn't say they should all be removed, just the fatty ones. I expect you haven't handled very many coastal Western/ Northern mink?? If you did, you would see what kind of fat I'm talking, which is why the auction house pelt handling manuals specify removal of saddle in these sections, is fine. Leaving saddles intact with the fattier Western/ Northern mink, will result in oxidized fat, and or grease burn.

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]

Mink like the previous two pictured, will result in saddles like the following picture.

[Linked Image]

The above photo is the removed saddle from ONE mink, not including the loose handful of fat pulled off of the exterior of the saddle, easily accomplished with a paper towel for grip.

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]

Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6383984
11/28/18 02:39 AM
11/28/18 02:39 AM
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That plate looks like a picture of Yukon Jeffs lunch.
Nice pile of mink T4E,they sure are hogs.Nice job on keeping them grease free with that much fat.
With that many mink do you sell direct to a manufacturer?

Last edited by Boco; 11/28/18 02:42 AM.
Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6384493
11/28/18 07:39 PM
11/28/18 07:39 PM
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Back from NAFA.

Ranch mink are scraped CLEAN no saddles.


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Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: The Beav] #6384515
11/28/18 08:13 PM
11/28/18 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by The Beav
Back from NAFA.

Ranch mink are scraped CLEAN no saddles.


There goes 2 or 3 bucks. frown


Who is John Galt?
Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6384526
11/28/18 08:24 PM
11/28/18 08:24 PM
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I already posted how ranch mink are fleshed,that is the standard and the buyers know there will be no root damage because they are fleshed with machines with rubber fleshers.
Ranch mink is not the same as wild mink.Different animal.They are also handled fur out,nothing at all like a wild mink.

Last edited by Boco; 11/28/18 08:27 PM.
Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6384532
11/28/18 08:30 PM
11/28/18 08:30 PM
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I bet those ranch mink are real fat. No exercise and all that cheese. Probably why they take the saddle off.

Plus it is hard to damage prime pelts, not so with wild mink pelts caught in Oct and early November 15 degrees latitude south of me and more.

Last edited by Dirt; 11/28/18 08:32 PM.

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Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6384536
11/28/18 08:37 PM
11/28/18 08:37 PM
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Ranch fur is a mechanized assembly line operation all the way thru,they have no choice.Is why the ranch mink coats sell a dime a dozen compared to a well matched wild mink garment designed and put together by an Italian master.
Hand crafted is always better.

Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6384636
11/28/18 11:07 PM
11/28/18 11:07 PM
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Some very nice put-up on display. Interesting the amount of differences that can exist within a wild population, depending on it's geographical location. It's been another example of how prime well-handled fur brings the better prices. Congrats on the Top Lots gentlemen.


I trap for fun. I skin 'em for the money!
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Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6384656
11/28/18 11:20 PM
11/28/18 11:20 PM
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Isn't the leather also better on wild mink than ranched mink? Those mink look nice trapped4ever. Kind of Christmas like with all those pins in that first picture! You weren't going to eat that were you? Looks like a good way to feed the wood stove.

Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6384744
11/29/18 12:30 AM
11/29/18 12:30 AM
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I was gonna do a few more pelt finishing posts for discussion for each species,but the trolls kind of take them off course and de-rail them.So maybe someone else might have more luck with it.

Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6384777
11/29/18 01:10 AM
11/29/18 01:10 AM
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Did you not ask how other people put up their mink, then argue pointlessly how they do it wrong ? Why would anybody share? crazy


Who is John Galt?
Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6384788
11/29/18 01:25 AM
11/29/18 01:25 AM
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No I did not,I just pointed out how the industry wants mink handled,from the tanners,and manufacturers point of view and why.
Out of 3 pages only two others put up pictures of their mink for discussion.One showing why he had no choice but to scrape off the saddles.Then idiot trolls started talking about ranch mink etc,not relevant at all to the topic.And other posters stating wrong facts,about sections etc,to which I responded with pics of auction documents of my mink that are northern.And went on to explain how fat mink can be handled with saddles on as per manufacturers preference(acknowledging the fact that in some extreme cases saddles may have to be removed),and why buyers have more confidence in mink with saddles.

One idiot in particular took it way off topic with every post as they like do with most of their posts.

All discussion on my end was refuting arguments against the stated intent of this post which was why mink are preferred to have saddles intact with related documentation.I never stated anyone was wrong to scrape saddles off their mink,if they have a plateful of fat under the saddle.But that scraping off saddles just because there is some fat under it is not necessary or beneficial.



Last edited by Boco; 11/29/18 01:32 AM.
Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6384852
11/29/18 02:18 AM
11/29/18 02:18 AM
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trapped4ever, that's a lot a tacks! BTW, great job on them mink...

Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6384915
11/29/18 02:59 AM
11/29/18 02:59 AM
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" Do not remove the red saddle. The saddle on mink
protects the skin from over scraping which can cause hair root
damage. A mink with the saddle removed usually brings $2 to
$3 less than a mink with the saddle on.
If the saddle has excess fat
under it, gently scrape the saddle pushing the grease and oil out.

This appears to be the latest from FHA.

"I Think the buyers feel more confident in a collection and pay a little more." Boco opinion.

I think a single mink with the saddle removed when the root hairs are damaged will bring less money than one without damage. I don't think buyers have a magic $2 or $3 less they are paying for a saddle less mink pelt. I see nothing here saying that overall collections are bought on a $2 or $3 less basis because some have saddles removed and some don't.

Anything is possible though.


Who is John Galt?
Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6384928
11/29/18 03:11 AM
11/29/18 03:11 AM
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Some day I'll figure out how to post pics of my put up. It's not happing anytime soon.

Poor Boco Is ticked off and Is taking his toys and going home. Come on Boco I didn't think you were that sensitive keep on posting your put ups. Just because we don't always agree with you don't quit on us.
You have to agree that there are more then one way to skin a cat.


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Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6385353
11/29/18 04:20 PM
11/29/18 04:20 PM
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Thanks for checking Beav.

History:

Source: NAFA Wild Fur Pelt Handling Manual 1995

"The commercial mink rancher's methods for producing well handled top value pelts and expertise in the proper boarding methods of leather out mink can certainly be adopted by trappers. All the credit for this technique must go to the Canada Mink Breeders Association and those individuals involved in mink management research and marketing"

This is where the NAFA put up came from. 20 some years ago

Page 17

"A WELL HANDLED MINK

1. Lower lip removed
2. Front legs removed or tucked in
3. A good inspection window 1-11/2" above base of tail
4. Saddle removed where fat or grease is present
5. Back legs boarded on the back side of the board"

Last edited by Dirt; 11/29/18 09:02 PM. Reason: No coffee yet.

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Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6385404
11/29/18 05:17 PM
11/29/18 05:17 PM
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Nafa should correct number 4 to read "where EXCESSIVE fat or grease is present"

They should have checked in the fur bible which predates that by quite a bit.FHA got it right.

Last edited by Boco; 11/29/18 05:19 PM.
Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6385471
11/29/18 06:40 PM
11/29/18 06:40 PM
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So for the edification of all, what is the "trapping bible"?

Last edited by bctomcat; 11/29/18 06:44 PM.

The only constant in trapping is change so keep learning.






Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6385488
11/29/18 07:06 PM
11/29/18 07:06 PM
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It was written by Pope Boco. LOL

The bottom line Is this. If the market Is high then put up Isn't a huge factor. When the market Is In the toilet It still doesn't matter. LOL


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Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6385651
11/29/18 10:22 PM
11/29/18 10:22 PM
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[Linked Image]
Before you shoot down the book,know that one of the biologist we have here on T-Man contributed to the section on mink biology(not fur handling)a fellow by name of Jackson Whitman.

Last edited by Boco; 11/29/18 10:29 PM.
Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6385654
11/29/18 10:23 PM
11/29/18 10:23 PM
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i still struggle puttin the legs on the back,it just doesn't seem right when you are doin it.


quality over quantity

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Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6385690
11/29/18 11:23 PM
11/29/18 11:23 PM
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I don't know the procedure you use boarding mink but the following works well for me and will provide the greatest length possible for a mink skin along with dense fur in the inspection area and also bring the valuable portion of the legs to the back of the board easily. This is accomplished by putting the fleshed pelt snug on the board. Then, without any pining, with your thumbs on the lower belly and fingers on the back message the belly up and the back down. Then:

1) Grasp the butt end of the tail and lift up off the board an towards the tip of the board at the same time,
2) Now pull the tail down the board taut and pin in center of the board.
3) Then knead the tail upward along the board, making it shorter and wider and thus increasing the fur density in the butt area.
4) Pin the tail out in that position with cardboard or wire screen.
5) Now with a push pin grab about inch of leg and pull down and pleat over to edge of the tail. Repeat until most of both legs are pleated onto the back side of the board forming a square butt.
The final step is to trim out the inspection window and cut off any excess leg, of little value, remaining on the edge of the board and tuck the front legs in.
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]


The only constant in trapping is change so keep learning.






Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6393291
12/08/18 05:15 PM
12/08/18 05:15 PM
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I think some of this mink saddle "debate" stems from the various sections of mink. As Boco pointed out earlier, Northern section mink have a much thinner, parchment type skin, when dried. North Central, and Central mink will have a much heavier leather, and lighter fur. This thinner parchment skin is much easier to damage, especially on a lean red saddled mink, with no fat underneath. Without a cushioning layer of fat underneath the saddle, they tend to want to cling on to the skin, thus some guys that try to remove them, exert to much pressure, and damage the thinner skin. Fatter mink that are North or North Centrals, flesh really easy, with that fat layer underneath, the saddle just rolls right off, with very little pressure, thus minimizing the risk of over fleshing. Different types of mink in different parts of North America, but as a rough rule of thumb, most Northern Section mink originate in Alaska and Canada, and occasionally some of the Northern US. North Centrals are predominantly made up of Northern tier states in the USA, and a few from Canada and Alaska. Centrals mostly originate in the lower latitudes of the US, but some overlaps and anomalies of sectioning can always occur. For example, I've had mink in the top lot of all three sections, on the same year before, even though they were all trapped in the same general location.

Back to the leather though, the thinner skinned Northern section mink, are similar to an Alaskan red fox versus a lower 48 red fox. Alaskan fox have much more fur, and much thinner skin. Eastern beaver are thinner skinned than Western section beaver too. Different regional variations make it kind of hard to write a "one size fits all" pelt handling manual. However, I have to say again, I think both Boco's, and bctomcats mink put ups are PERFECT, for their type of mink. I find it interesting that the NAFA manual, and FHA manual vary on this "saddle" subject. I suspect it may be due to FHA getting a lions share of the Northern section mink, thus the ones with more "fragile" skin? It is nice that they have changed their manuals to reflect what they want to see though, as early on, after FHA's inception, their pelt handling manuals tended to be an exact copy of NAFA's. I'm still not sure I understand FHA's statement of mink with saddles bringing $2-$3 more per pelt. Does that mean if you have an otherwise perfect mink, but removed the saddle, it will no longer be in with the saddled mink of the same grade? Or are the saddle scrapers now dragging the prices down for every one that leaves saddles intact? Will the highest value lots now NEVER include a clean fleshed mink? I think FHA may want to clarify their statement a little.

Last edited by trapped4ever; 12/08/18 06:52 PM.
Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6393337
12/08/18 06:34 PM
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I will say OTA,the forerunner of fha,was always years ahead of NAFA/HBC in fur handling education to trappers.
The first fur handling competitions started way back in the early 50's,at the trappers conventions. [Linked Image]

I just checked the fur handling competition rules for mink-saddles must be left intact.When I was winning at the competitions 20 years ago I always picked a lean January bush mink with big nuts for the competition.They had a long nap,long shiny guard hair with no singe, virtually no fat whatsoever,and an extremely thin saddle.

Last edited by Boco; 12/08/18 06:40 PM.
Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6393360
12/08/18 07:22 PM
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Your living In the past Boco. From what I'm being told It doesn't really matter any more.


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Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6393364
12/08/18 07:25 PM
12/08/18 07:25 PM
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I'm guessing most of the Ontario Trappers Association fur competitions were using Ontario origin, or at least Northern section mink, so I would expect them to say to leave saddles intact. The only lean male mink you would find around here in January, would be a runt of the litter YOY, or one starving due to injury, worn out teeth, or disease/ sickness, such as tail rot. You will find lean females, that can be left saddle intact, but males are pretty rare to be lean enough to do so. I like to skin and roll up and freeze my mink, then flesh and board them just before shipping, to minimize discoloration of the skin, due to oxidization of the fat.

Another interesting side note, depending upon where you are trapping at, geographically in Alaska, the mink vary to an incredible degree. Interior regions and upper tributaries have vastly different mink than coastal regions. Many major inland river systems have nice big, fat mink as well. The interior "mountain mink" at higher elevations are similar to the type you are describing that you liked for competition Boco. They tended to be skinnier, and somewhat smaller overall, compared to the river and coastal mink though, still nice fur though. I'm lucky to have trapped many regions of the state over the last 4 decades, and I can tell you, even within the state, the regional differences are pretty drastic. Of course, a lot has to do with food availability...... Still, some must be genetics...

Boco, I think the OTA was an outstanding group of PROFESSIONAL trappers, geographically located in the same fur rich region, so a lot of knowledge/ education was able to be shared at those conventions, I'm sure. Back in the OTA days, fur had enough value that many professional trappers still existed on fur money alone, so they took it very seriously. These days, not so many professionals left, and many "hobby" trappers, that don't put in the time to even put up their own fur in some instances. I've been to North Bay a few times, lots of fur trade history there, and all the Northern Great Lakes region for that matter.

Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6394326
12/10/18 12:57 AM
12/10/18 12:57 AM
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Boco. I do enjoy reading your post and learn a lot from them. Thanks

Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6395003
12/10/18 09:39 PM
12/10/18 09:39 PM
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I was going to post a THANK YOU to all for the advice and pictures of the Mink put up but decided not to get involved in the saddle or no saddle weiner contest. I am TERRIBLE at mink put up but did get a top lot for one in the 90's for $60 if I remember right. Its a good thing I didn't post if I left the saddle on or removed it.


I have nothing clever to put here.





Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6396262
12/12/18 03:33 AM
12/12/18 03:33 AM
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Ha! Funny!! No contest, just discussion!!! There are many good fur handlers out there, it doesn't hurt to share opinions / techniques. It seems you must have done something right, to get $60 for a mink, so you must not be THAT terrible! Mink saddle removal/ nonremoval is a regional/ sectional thing, and also dependent upon the amount of fat under that particular saddle.

Re: Finishing Mink. [Re: Boco] #6404702
12/21/18 09:43 AM
12/21/18 09:43 AM
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Think of how a grader works with your mink will put some effect of your " put-up" Steps a grader goes through prior to making bundles.
1=sized
2= section
3= leather quality telling grade
4= fur inspection for quality
5= colour matching

So just consider that where your pinned rear legs goes because the grader has to open that area up in # 2and #4 and #5. That is a lot of plying with two thumbs to look at that small area.
So an inspection window means a lot

Last edited by Northof50; 12/21/18 09:44 AM.
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