NativeTech: Native American Technology and Art

Removing Deer Toes
Contributed by Jim Mitchel

From a post to the NativeTech Message Board on Sept. 10, 1998

If you have access to the Society of Primitive Technology (Tara, please do not get upset over the use of the term primitive). In the Fall 1995, Vol 10, Bulletin of Primitive Technology, pages 42-43. There is an excellent description of how to remove the hooves and dew claws from the legs.

Lacking this, the best time to remove them without tearing them is when they are still fresh. Basically, boil some water (bubbling, without the legs in the water), place the legs in the water approximately 2-3 minutes, pull one of the legs out of the water.

At this point, look for the leg to be slightly gray and swollen (strong indication it is ready). Try to pinch one of the dew claws between your thumb and forefinger, it should pop right off. The same thing should happen with the hoof. If is still resistant to coming off, pop it back into the water for a few seconds (wouldn't want to cook it at this point).

Remember not to overboil, nor overly soak the deer legs, this may have a somewhat detrimental effect. You can do this with legs if they have not been frozen too long, but it isn't always successful. Sometimes you have to resort to the usage of a pliers to assist in pulling the dew claw or hoof from the leg, with possible tearing as a result.

Good luck!

 ~ thank you Jim

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