A great big howdy to all you trappers and fur harvesters out there in green hide land.
You have probably seen my ad in Fur Fish and Game or one of the other magazines. I want to
give you some information about who I am and what I am trying to provide for you. My name is
Bill Gracey. I live outside Jerseyville Illinois which is about forty-five minutes north of
St. Louis Missouri. Thanks for your intrest in the Critter Skinner skinning machine. It was
originally introduced in Columbia Missouri at the NTA convention. Since then it has been changed
somewhat but is still very much the skinning machine. For several years now I have designed and
built special marking equipment. I did the electronic work on these machines as well as the
machine work. Much of the really reliable equipment used in our cars, trucks, and farm equipment
today was developed in the mills and factories of the United States and the rest of the world.
After retirement I still maintained a good machine shop, including mig welder and basic
electrical test equipment. I have since found that I like messing around in the shop better
than most anything else.
For several years some other folks have manufactured and sold skinning machines to help peal the hide off
the critters they caught. Most of these used a small 120 volt winch as a muscle source. It worked
well, but was entirely unforgiving if you didn't get it stopped soon enough when you ran into a hard
spot in the skinning. Also, the professional who ran them for hours complained of the noise they
made. This is no way a negative sell, as they provided a skinning machine making it possible for a
lot of folks to trap who would not have been able to.
The machine I build is based upon my experience and contains the features I would want in a machine
I would buy.
For those who catch a lot of fur, or who are not fortunate enough to enjoy perfect health, the
skinning machines offer an alternative. There are very few men who could pull hides ten hours a day
and keep it up. None could compete with the skinning machines. A good friend of mine had trapped
for many years and then was injured in a horse-related accident. His trapping days were over. He
could do it all but the skinning, and his back just wouldn’t let him do it. He built a home made
skinning machine, and after several years of practice he can pick up a coon, open it up, and skin it
completely in under 5 minutes. A skinning machine of some kind will make it possible to work up a
lot more catches even if you are in good shape. About a third of the folks who come by and look at
my machine already have something they are using. Sometimes it is a hand operated boat winch.
I don’t fault them for this; it shows they are thinking. You need to be spending more time trapping
and less time skinning. Even more important, many trappers who are looking at having to abandon
their wonderful hobby because of physical limitations will be able to trap many more years with a
good skinning machine.
With the Critter Skinner the skinning is always right in front of you as you just open the gate
and drop the hide down through it and get a new bite. I will add this point, at the price of good
motors, the $1550 price of the skinner is looking better to a lot of folks. Some trappers are
considering teaming up and sharing one with another hunter or trapper. A skinning machine may now
or someday make your trapping or hunting hobby possible where it would not be otherwise.