It ran in front of us so fast I didn't know whether to turn left or right. I just yelled really loud and woke Star up. I didn't turn at all. we ran right over it. We pulled over and stopped. I thought the animal would be a mess, but it looked great. We put it in the back of the truck and kept going.
This is the first part of the Badger Trilogy, "Skinning".
It continues with "Badger Stew"
and will finish with "Tan a Badger Hide".
Step 1: Delight the Authorities with a Dead Badger
When we got to the front of the line the greeters gave us the welcome, and took a quick look to see if we were smuggling fratboys. "Naked Bob", our greeter, was thrilled about our dead badger. He called over to another greeter. "Hey I think I found something, come tell me what you think." She came over and was delighted to find a dead badger instead of a drunk fratboy. The joy spread to the adjoining vehicles. When we pulled over inside the gates to stretch our legs, people stopped to see the badger.
It was truly a beautiful animal.
Step 2: Set up the Skinning Workstation
we went looking for our pal Victor Brar. He's known for his skill in odd situations. We found him in mere minutes, which is unusual at Burningman.
We went back and hung up the badger by its hind legs so gravity would help us skin it.
Step 3: Start Skinning
Speaking of anus, badgers are really clean animals. I couldn't believe it. We'd run right over this guy, and his butthole didn't smell at all!! We invited all and sundry to smell it, and sure enough, all agreed there was no smell!! Each time I failed to smell it I'd say something like "If I ever get run over and some badger eats me, he's going to have to put up with my stinky butthole."
People would look at the animal and say "that smells", and we'd say, "really? what smell?" and then they'd pay attention and say "oh, you're right! It doesn't smell!"
Step 4: Moving Camp
They said "This is the weirdest think we've seen at burningman! We love it!"
Step 5: Skinning Open Vs. Cased
The other method, "open". That's used for bigger animals. It starts the same, cutting around the anus and slitting up the hind legs, but then you cut the skin down the belly and out along the front legs to make a skin that lays flat. Then you peel it off around the animal and down the head. Stretch it by nailing it flat to a board or "the back of the barn". Or thongs through holes in the edge to stakes pounded in the ground.
The book "Wildwood Wisdom" has good diagrams of both methods.
Step 6: Skinning and Skinning
The veterinarian warned us that the badger might have rabies, and that you can contract it by getting in contact with the blood, alone. That only one person has ever survived rabies.
We discovered the badger's cause of death in the course of skinning it. It had a snapped spine, cracked ribs, and a broken leg.
At some point, we accidentally poked through the abdominal wall, and a bunch of guts came spilling out. We were really careful not to knife the intestines, which would have ruined the meat.
Step 7: Doing the Hump
Step 8: Ta daa!
For now, stretch the skin out as much as possible, and if you can, peg it to a board so that it dries stretched out. Rub it down with a pound of salt to keep the fat from rotting the pelt.
If you're actually at burningman and you don't have any salt, you'll notice that there are no flies or decomposers at all, and the alkali dust gets everywhere to dry out the skin, so it'll dry just fine and not rot. In fact, even the badger will turn into jerky-on-the-bone, and not smell in the least, should you need to wait a few days before cooking it.
Up next, instructables on Badger Stew and Badger Hide Tanning!