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Location: ND
Joined: 09/16/2006
Posts: 29
Cleaning bear claws?

Anybody with any experience taking the claws off the toes? I would like to make a hatband with the rears from this year's bowkill.

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Location: OlyWa
Joined: 04/27/2005
Posts: 472
Cleaning bear claws?

It can be a tad tricky the first time.

Take the paw and lay it on a table or chunk of wood with the claws pointing to the left. With your thumb and first finger of your left hand, grab a claw where the hair starts. With your right hand feel about a half inch behind where the skin starts and you will feel the joint. Now with a sharp knife cut the skin straight down, then rotate your knife hand slightly to the right and cut to the left in a cresent shape.

Once you have all the claws off you will want to clean them up a bit. Here is how I do it.
Hold the claw in your left hand by the long hairs, with the tip facing up and the pad facing away from your hand. Cut straight down between the long hair and back of the claw. Do not remove all of the skin, asically you are giving the claw a close shave. Then I do this to both sides, then with the pad.

When they are done put them in a small bowl with Borax. Every couple days you should shuffle them around a bit. If they are very wet or damp I lay them on a plate to air dry, then back to borax.

Do not use salt or store in the freezer.

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Location: ND
Joined: 09/16/2006
Posts: 29
Cleaning bear claws?

If I understand correctly, you do not pull the nail off as one would the sheath off an antelope skull, for example?

Thanks for the feedback.

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Location: OlyWa
Joined: 04/27/2005
Posts: 472
Cleaning bear claws?

Correct.
Some people do, but you will not get them to stay on without epoxy. The little bit of skin that you keep on will dry and hold it together.

If I get some time I will try to post some pics of some that I have drying right now.

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Location: ND
Joined: 09/16/2006
Posts: 29
Cleaning bear claws?

Thanks, I would appreciate that.

On another note, my guide makes a semi-big deal out of presenting the hunter with the penis bone. I boil them clean, and they lay around in my den-quite the conversation piece.

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Location: OlyWa
Joined: 04/27/2005
Posts: 472
Cleaning bear claws?

Will try to do it tonight.

Yea, I got a couple of those bones laying around myself.

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Location: OlyWa
Joined: 04/27/2005
Posts: 472
Cleaning bear claws?

Here are some photos of some claws that I started to clean. They do not have any hair on them but you will get the idea.

I take the claw by the back, where the long hair is and cut right down the back.

Then I do the sides

Then what is left of the pad.

Here is how I store them.

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Location: ND
Joined: 09/16/2006
Posts: 29
Cleaning bear claws?

Thanks, the photos are great, and worth more than a thousand words.

I have been lurking here for the last couple of months, preping for my 3rd bear hunt in Canada. Lots of neat, usefull info. Who knows, I may even get brave and try to post a pic of my first archery bear!

MnKaMRaM's picture
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Location: Minnesota
Joined: 08/22/2006
Posts: 56
Cleaning bear claws?

KenFred......Let's get them out here.......we'd love to see them!!

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Location: ND
Joined: 09/16/2006
Posts: 29
Cleaning bear claws?

2006 Manitoba bowkill

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Location: OlyWa
Joined: 04/27/2005
Posts: 472
Cleaning bear claws?
MnKaMRaM wrote:
KenFred......Let's get them out here.......we'd love to see them!!

Umm.......bears or bear "bones"......

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