Varmint Hunting Tips: Clean a Coyote Hide with Your Washing Machine

I’m a fan of the saying “work smarter, not harder.” With that sentiment, I bring you this photo. It’s easy to prevent getting a hide bloody if you’re a trapper—most of the time. But if you do any predator hunting with a rifle, you know darn well that it’s hard to not end up with bloody hides. I've spent hours washing out coyote hides in five-gallon buckets.

A few weeks ago, I happened by chance to get a crack at a coyote, and shot him in the head with a .17 HMR. I dreaded putting that hide up; the coyote was gushing blood when I dragged him back to the truck.

I’ve grown accustomed—through trapping—to keeping hides clean and not having to wash them in the first place. After thawing him out and skinning him, I spent some time figuring out options to cheat my way out of this less than appealing job. Then it hit me: use a washing machine.

It works surprisingly well, and is one of the easiest and most effective ways to clean a hide. Treat it as you would a load of laundry. Bloody, messy hides come out perfectly clean, and I think it makes them look better once they dry because the detergent cleans out all of the dirt and grime in the fur. This trick works well for cleaning beaver and other greasy hides after fleshing. It doesn't really matter what kind of detergent you use, and about one cup is enough to get the job done.

If you can get away with it, give it a try the next time you get a messy one. However, I will not be held accountable for angry wives who find hides in their washing machines.