Salting Deer Hides For Hair-On Tanning

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As a taxidermist I always get asked the question on what to do with a deer hide if you want it tanned. The answer is, as soon as you get the deer skinned out, fleshed the hide and salt it. Salt kills bacteria and sets the hair. You must set the hair if you plan on getting a hair-on tanned deer hide done.

For hair on deer tanning it is very important that the deer hide be kept in good condition and that your taxidermist receive it as soon as possible.. A hide will spoil in about the same time raw meat would, if left exposed and handled improperly. Bacteria will start to work quickly in temps that are above 35 degrees. this will cause the hair to slip which means to fall out. A hide with hair slippage is unacceptable for hair on tanning.

Be careful while skinning your deer. Use your sharp skinning  knife sparingly as you peel the hide down.
Never let a deer hide dry out without adequate salt. The worst thing you can do is to let your deer hide dry without salt. The purpose of salt is to remove the moisture. Leave the hide open to the air after adequate salting. Roll your hides after salting only for transport to the taxidermist. treat your deer hide as meat. keep it cool. You can freeze a un-salted hide. Never freeze a salted hide. Salt your hides for hair-on tanning only after you have removed all meat and fat.     



1)Remove the all meat and fat from the hide using a fleshing knife.
2) Next, lay the hide flat with flesh side up .
3) Spread a fine granular salt on the flesh side only and completely cover it.
4) Drape the deer hide over a saw-horse, flesh side up, hair down.
5) Allow hide to drain  in a dry area .
6) When all fluid stops draining, deliver your hide to the taxidermist.

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