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Thread: Hide Tanning

  1. #1
    Post-a-holic

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    Default Hide Tanning

    After a few seasons of successful deer hunting and wondering if i could pull it off i decided to put some work into this year's deer hide. Since a few of us over the years had been asking and wondering about it, I figured I'd share my experience.


    This year our group of three were lucky enough to get two nice sized does. Buddy's son shot both of them. one on monday morning and the other tuesday morning. I think i hunted a total of half an hour each day before we took this picture. By day three we decided to go goose hunting instead and then we called it day for our group hunt. one doe for each family was more than enough.
    248354687_289320976384352_3971887141653898581_n.jpg


    After this, I took the hide from the nicer doe and pressure washed to remove all flesh, fat and membrane. I placed the hide over a barrel and just slowly went back and forth until all membrane was gone.

    At that point, I salted the hide with table salt. I know I could have gone to the co-op to pick up non-ionized salt for a fraction of the price, but I got lazy and didnt want to go into town for it. Three days of salting where each day I shook off the old salt and re salted. After each time salting, I rolled it up and placed the hide in a tote to allow the hide to release moisture.

    After this, I threw the hide in a salt water pickle bath and put about 4 L of vinegar in. I'm not sure if the vinegar was really needed, but some tutorials called for it and some didn't. To be honest, I dont think you really need vinegar, but it did come in handy to deter my hound from it while it dried (more about that in a bit) .

    After 8 hours in the pickle-bath, I took out the hide. I was afraid that the hair would slip if i left it longer, although some folks say they can leave it up to three days without slippage. Because I wanted to keep the hair, I didnt want to take my chances. I read that this stage is crucial to set the hair and it did set in nicely. I then rinsed the hide in warm water to wash away the salt and grime.

    After the pickle bath, I hung it up in the basement over a drain pipe to dry. As you can see in the picture, there is a bit of blue on the leather side and this is why. My reasoning for the pipe is that because it was freezing outside, the basement was literally the only place I could hang it. because it was still dripping and stunk to high heaven of vinegar, my dog wasn't overly interested and left it alone... for a short while anyways.

    3 days later it was still damp but not soaked. I picked up a bottle of tanning solution from cabelas and generously lathered about 3/4 of the bottle over the flesh side. Hung it up again to dry and this process took another 2 days.

    At this point, the dog began to gain a keen interest in it and before I could catch him he took a chunk out of the rump. damn walker coon hounds are fantastic climbers and jumpers. Luckily he only had it for about 5 minutes before I caught him and there is a bit of hair taken from the back end.

    As it was drying, I worked the hide by stretching and folding it. Over about a week, it did try completely and became quite stiff. Every once in a while I'll work it by dragging it over my wooden basement beam. it's smooth so wont rip the hide but enough to soften it a bit.

    And here's the end result...
    262475558_328756258784024_6057089795661610885_n.jpg


    263399749_868834777113895_6990689982410764767_n.jpg

    As you can see, a bit of hair taken out of the rump but overall it's just a cool keepsake from a fun few days with friends. its soft enough to use as a throw on a couch or a rail, to hang over a mantle or on a wall. i guess you could also use it as a rug.
    for now It'll go into storage until I can have more of a rec-room cave at our next house, and unfortunately it will be put away until our lovable idiot senior coonhound isn't with us any more. At 9 years old, I'm in no rush for that day, so its easier to forgive him for his transgressions around the house.

    Overall, I'm happy with the end result. I think the final cost was around 50 bucks for all the supplies... and still have some of the bottle left for a coyote that my 4 year old has been asking me to shoot for her. I guess that's good practice and it's about time to get chasing the dogs...
    Also, for all the time and work that goes into this, I can definitely see why taxidermists and tanners charge so much. thinking about all the work and time, many actually under charge for their craft. Plus, their work looks so much better than my own. But for small projects like this, its fun to learn new skills and maybe try it out again sometime.

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  3. #2
    Just starting out

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    Thanks for posting this. Interesting thread. Like you I always wanted to do something with deer hide. It seems wasteful to just dispose of it now that the hats for hides program no longer exists. Just as an FYI, there is a thread on the trapperman forum that describes the tanning process written by a fellow Canadian guy that is quite detailed that you may want to check out.

  4. #3
    Getting the hang of it

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    Thank you for detailed post.

    I have bear and deer hides in freeze.
    Going to attempt it processing it as well after season is over



    Sent from my moto g(8) power using Tapatalk

  5. #4
    Borderline Spammer

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    That’s pretty cool man, thanks. I’ll remember this for next year. Already turned hide in for a 2021 crest but next year might make a rug for man cave.

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