(Originally Published in QDMA, Quality Whitetails)
By Rans Thomas
My first introduction to skinning a deer was in the barn on our family farm when I was a kid. My father attached a blockand-tackle hoist to a foundation beam inside the barn. He would back his pickup truck under the hoist and winch his deer up off the truck. I never shied away from the barn when Dad brought in a deer since, like most kids, I was very intrigued by the process. I had no idea how many hours I would spend under a skinning shed later in my career as a wildlife biologist. Not only have I used skinning sheds, I have looked for ways that hunters and wildlife managers are improving the standard designs of their skinning sheds, ideas that make my task of data-collection easier.
Skinning-shed facilities have been around for a long time, but traditionally they were mostly found only on commercial hunting lands and state Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs).These days I find some form of skinning shed on almost every private hunting property I visit. Some are very simple with just a covered hoist and gambrel; others would pass inspection for a commercial meat-processing plant. Since the days of the old hoist in the barn, deer managers have made major improvements in shed designs. A well-designed and well-supplied skinning shed means that deer processing and data collection are easier and more convenient.
Not only does this result in hunters being more likely to collect harvest data, it also helps them collect this data more consistently and accurately. I’d like to share some of the best ideas I have seen for designing an efficient and convenient skinning shed. Hopefully these ideas will help you improve your data collection, also known as Herd Monitoring – one of the four Cornerstones of QDM.
Posted by Tecomate Wildlife Systems