By: Bears Butt


I’ve said it before…Trapping is more than just setting traps and collecting the money.  After the trapping season ends, there is usually a ton of things that needs to be done to make sure the traps, equipment and shed are in working order for next year.  This year I told Bob I would take care of the stretchers and clean them up a bit.  You see the hooks at the bottom of the stretchers get clogged up with parts from the animals and after a few years it gets really hard to get the teeth to bite into the hides.  This year he cussed a ton about the stretchers.  So, since he handles the traps, I took on the stretchers.

I started by pulling all the stretchers out of the skinning shed and laying them out by the BBQ cooker…my heat source.


We have over 200 stretchers and I needed to clean each and every one of them.  Each is in its own way needing a cleaning.  I like to use my BBQ because it’s convenient and the propane bottle is nearly full.  I pull out the grills and the covers over the flame tubes and place an old grill from another BBQ I had years ago that spans two of the three burners and give my big pan a place to rest while it heats up.

I filled my big pan to about 3/4ths full and started it to heating.  In the meantime I counted out 25 stretchers and placed them into the pan of heating water.  If I would have thought about it a bit, I think I would have added some liquid dish soap to the water, but I didn’t and it really didn’t make that much of a difference.  You might want to add some however.

It’s been my experience that the stretchers need to boil about 15 minutes in order for the “gunk” to come off.  Especially if you have stretchers that have never been cleaned before…and we had some of those this time.

What do you need to clean the stretchers?  A heat source, a large pan deep enough to cover about 1/3 rd the the length of the stretchers, water, a wire brush and perhaps a rag.  The objective is to get the hooks on the stretchers clean, which will allow them to grab onto the flesh of the raw hide and stretch it.

So, in the first picture you saw the yucky stuff I needed to clean off of the stretchers, here it is again:




So into the pot they go for about 15 minutes:


They boil away and make a really nasty smelling soup.  I suppose if you were really hungry you could eat it, but not me…I’d rather die.

When adequately cooked, the yucky stuff looks sort of like this:  It’s soft and pliable and will come off easily with the wire brush.


A little elbow grease and a wire brush and it doesn’t take long for them to be nice and clean:


That is all there is to it.  It takes time to do, but next year when we are in the shed putting up furs, we will say…Sure is nice to have sharp fur hooks to stretch these here furs.

I cleaned them all and put them on the hangers in groups of 25.  One of the hangers only has 20 on it as we have 295 stretchers.  Just right for our small time operation.

Keep them babies clean and they will give you years and years of service!

Bears Butt

March 31, 2014

Written on March 31st, 2014 , Daily Trapping Events

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Just some of my old stories, new stories, and in general what is going on in my life.