Ken smith in hisgimpppa.orgned hunting coat

Native Americans have been making use of game pet hoofs and dewclaws for centuries to make rattles, bandoliers and also decorations for numerous items. Using these raw products helps create one more tie back to Mother earth where all these gifts come from. The hoofs and dewclaws the whitetail and mule deer, the hoofs the antelope and the dewclaws from little elk can all be provided easily. In this article, ns will comment on preparing deer and antelope hoofs because that use and also touch summary on prepare deer and also elk dewclaws.

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The abundance of Wasted Hoofs (How to gain Them for Free)

Each year, hundreds of deer, antelope, and also elk room harvested in phibìc America. Usually, the hoofs and also dewclaws the these pets are discarded or left top top the prairie and in the mountains to go earlier to the earth. Every a person needs to do is go hunting, speak to girlfriend who are hunters or visit a local video game processing tree to acquire these hoofs and dewclaws. If it is legal in your state, friend can gain them from road killed pets also. Most hoofs and also dewclaws that you gain from hunters or processing plants will still it is in attached to the lower leg that the animal. This is due to the fact that there is no edible muscle organization in the lower legs, therefore they space usually discarded. These reduced legs will store well for numerous days if preserved cool, dry and also out that the sun.

Removing Hoofs

An easier WayMatt’s Note: A few years earlier I learned a lot easier method to eliminate the hoofs, native Steven Edholm and also Tamara Wilder.Instead of cut the toe off, just take the whole fresh or frozen (not dried out) reduced leg (the component nearly everyone throws out) and also put in boil water for five to fifteen minutes. Then usage a slight twisting activity to pop the hoof off with a pair of pliers or just your fingers. If that is not prepared put ago in the water.If the cooks too lengthy the tendons that host the toes come the leg will certainly cook and also they will certainly seperate. Then you should resort come the knife an approach as Ken describes. If you want to conserve the lower leg sinew, eliminate it prior to you perform this. This method is exceptionally reliable, quick, and not together smelly

Your first step is to remove the hoofs and dewclaws from the lower legs.Hoofs have the right to be gotten rid of with a witnessed or by cutting thru the joint with a knife, but a faster means is to usage an axe or a hatchet. If you have a great quality axe or hatchet, the fresh small bones you will be cut thru will slightly dull, yet not chip her cutting edge. Dewclaws can be eliminated with a knife. As soon as removed native the reduced leg, to wash of blood and also dirt, her hooves and dewclaws have the right to be frozen because that future finishing. You perform not want to permit them dry out at any point, it is in it top top the foot or not, as once dry, that is an extremely hard to rehydrate them for finishing! If you double bag them and put lock in the bottom of the freezer, your far better half will never recognize they room there.

Proceeding native this point, it does not matter if your hoofs or dewclaws are fresh or frozen. Girlfriend can procedure them in the exact same way. Because that the remainder of the main part of this article, ns will emphasis on finishing deer and also antelope hoofs. The hoofs have a bone and also connective organization inside them. The best way to soften the connective tissue and also remove the bone is to progressively boil the hoofs. If this is done correctly, it will not ache the hoofs. Boil is finest done outside, together hoofs have their very own distinctive odor as soon as boiling!


Slowly boil the hoofs in lots of water because that 2-3 hours, an altering the water twice. (hint: if girlfriend have limited time each day, cook the hoofs a while, change the water, keep cool and also boil some more the following day) After about 3 hours of slow boiling, take a knife and see if the connective tissue (which by now will be soft and sticky—–hoof glue?!) is soft sufficient that the bone inside the hoof can be pried out easily. Because that the rest of the finishing, I use a small, thin bladed, sharp pocket knife. Operation your knife blade approximately the inside of the hoof. If your blade does no go easily, the bone is not ready to pop out, and also a little more boiling is necessary. Walk ahead and also pop out the bone from every hoof and also scrape out the connective tissue. You deserve to put lock in fresh warm water at this allude and they will certainly be less sticky and also slippery to occupational with.

Basic Trimming

At this point, you have a hoof choose you would gain from a trading post, yet to make them useable , much more work is required. First, the huge open finish of the hoof requirements to be trimmed earlier square so that all 3 sides of the bell are about equal in length. You deserve to lay the hoof, pad side under on a board and also cut down thru the hoof and also the pad through a sawing activity of your knife.


The next step is come trim the thickness that the rough, soft, swollen pad. If the pad thickness is not trimmed down, it will certainly dry rough and also thicker for this reason dampening the nice sound that the perfect hoofs rattling together. Watch fig. 1 again. Starting at the tip of the hoof, carry your knife tongue down across the pad and trim flush through the side edges that the hoof material. Part smoothly all the means to the wide base the the hoof. Inspect the bottom leaf of the trimmed pad. Around 1/16 customs thickness is good. Ns emphisize the word “about”. I use a real inch measurement to offer you one idea of what works, that is all. If you feeling the pad is still also thick, simply trim again. If you have actually trimmed also thin or have actually gone all the way thru the pad at some spot, don’t worry, I’ll present you some an excellent ways to complete without this section.

The next step is come trim the tip of the hoof to type a flat spot. You want the flat spot fairly big so that once you put a hole thru that (to hang the hoof by), it’ll be strong enough to keep the cordage indigenous breaking v the hole’s rim. Also, the further down you trim, the much less distance to drill, burn or awl through. In ~ this point. While the hoof is still soft, you have the right to use one awl v a square shank and with a twisting motion, start a hole down thru the flat spot you have created. You have the right to do the whole hole now or simply start one that have the right to be finished (by drilling or burning) when the hoof has dried.You will notification that the hoof now around forms a 3 face bell if hung through the tip.

Various means to form Hoofs

The following two techniques are particularly an excellent to use with small doe and also yearling hoofs (fig. 2 &3).


You can finish the hoofs together in fig.2. You deserve to zigzag the bottom edge v your knife or leave the edge plain. If girlfriend zigzag the bottom sheet you can do the edge of the pad also, but you may have to wait one hour or so come let the pad firm up enough that friend can reduced into it. The edge of the hoof must be zigzagged now, due to the fact that in one hour they will certainly be too difficult to reduced easily.

To finish as in figure 3, just trim every the pad away except for a 1/4 customs up in ~ the pointer of the hoof. Now you have two freshly exposed edges you deserve to zigzag if girlfriend wish, or leaving them smooth. Either way, please note: all the old bandoliers and also rattles that I have seen done with hoofs as in figure 3 have the two freshly exposed edge trimmed back even further. Watch fig. 3 for clarity. A totality rattle or bandolier done in this fashion provides a really delicate rattling noise.

Large buck hoofs deserve to be cut into pieces as displayed in fig. 4 by merely cutting away all of the soft and swollen pad. The two continuing to be triangular sides have the right to be reduced into various shapes. Orient the pieces you reduced out together shown, for this reason the guideline of the finished hoof piece with the hanging hole is the thickest part. You re welcome note: these pieces may curl part as lock dry and also it is ideal to clamp lock betweem a pair soft smooth boards because that a couple of days till dry. If you don’t do this and some pieces carry out curl, just imerse them in cook water for a few minutes untill soft and also then clamp untill dry.

A couple hundred of these flat pieces will make a wonderful timeless bandolier (a belt worn diagonally across the chest). The hoof pieces have actually a very delicate satisfaction sound once they hit together. The State history Museum in Denver, Co. Has several bandoliers in storage made v deer and/or antelope hoofs. 2 of these bandoliers space made through hoof pieces. Among these is exquisitely done through the pieces being reduced into 5 repeating shapes about the entirety bandolier.


There is one last point you deserve to do, if you so desire, before letting your hoofs dry. Girlfriend can consist of some red planet paint blended with a little water and sparingly rub it right into the pad and also inside the hoof. As soon as putting paint inside the hoof, I simply dab the end of my small finger in the paint and also rub top top the inside of the hoof. That does not take much paint and also you don’t need to cover the totality inside of the hoof. Ns say to apply your paint sparingly, due to the fact that as the hoofs dry, the red shade will intensify. I observed an old bandolier at a indigenous American art keep in Boulder, CO. Year ago. That had tiny hoofs done together infig. 2with a tiny red repaint on the hoof pads and on the within of the hoofs. Every hoof to be strung ~ above the bandolier strap v two dark purple translucent old italian crow beads. It to be beautiful. The red planet paint help tie us earlier to the planet where all these exorbitant raw products come from.

After the hoofs have dried because that 3-5 days, you deserve to drill, burn or use a square shanked awl to do the feet in the planarization tips for hanging the hoofs. If your hoofs space mule deer from the rocky mountains and also surrounding foot hills, most most likely they will be scratched up alot. Perform not fear. You have the right to scrape down most of the scratches v your bag knife and also then rub them with a small fine stole wool. Shot rubbing top top a tiny mineral oil or buffalo tallow on the 2 hoof surfaces only- not on the pad. The hoofs obtain real pretty as soon as you do that.You room done!

Variation in between hoof types

Antelope hoofs in basic tend come flatten out together they dry. It’s a fact of life, no a problem. White tail deer hoofs in basic have an ext pretty translucent amber shade at the tips and along the hoof edges 보다 mule deer hoofs. Whitetail deer hoof pads have tendency to it is in a dark gray in color. Mule deer and antelope hoof pads often tend to be a lighter cream color. All 3 look simply as an excellent with the red paint when they are dry.

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Notes ~ above dew claws:

You can use deer and small elk dew claws because that decorations and also the end of drops and also other things. As soon as fresh they can be trimmed from the reduced legs with a bag knife. The prior dewclaws will often tend to be shaped far better than the rear ones. All will certainly work. Procedure the exact same as hoofs, but they don’t have to boil as long. I haven’t seen any kind of old ones with zigzags approximately the bottom edge. You don’t must make a level spot at the pointer for drilling. Lock are more rounded in ~ the tip, not pointed choose hoofs. As soon as making the hole for hanging, work your drill or square shanked awl increase from the inside and also aim because that the center of the pointer of the dewclaw.