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What to do with deer hide?

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What to do with deer hide?

Old 11-28-2003, 09:30 PM
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Default What to do with deer hide?

Hi Bloodbrothers & Bloodsisters!
I killed a doe the other day and I have the hide frozen.... I want to put the hide on the wall for display...what should I do with it? I don' t want to spend $100 and get it tanned so can I just flesh it, stretch it and dry it? Any help would be great!
Thanks,
Slim
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Old 11-28-2003, 09:50 PM
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Default RE: What to do with deer hide?

i recommend www.braintan.com ... it will help you greatly providing you have the brain... if you do not then look up an old hemlock tanning recipe providing you have hemlock in your area... my family uses hemlock as well as brain tanning so if you have any questions feel free to email or IM me and i' ll be happy to fill any gaps... i warn you... be VERY careful with hemlock.. if ingested or used in the wrong way it is a VERY deadly poison... there are also store brands of tanning oil but i find that the old ways work best
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Old 11-28-2003, 09:57 PM
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Default RE: What to do with deer hide?

thanks for the link! What do you recommend? I looked at the website and it gives different methods..... I would LOVE to be able to use the hide! Thanks again!
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Old 11-28-2003, 10:03 PM
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Default RE: What to do with deer hide?

i strongly recommend the brain tan... the smoking method works well too but the skin might come out a little tougher than you want it to and a bit rough looking unless thats the look you' re going for... i use the hides i tan so i like them to be soft and smooth... you' ll get that the best out of the brain tan
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Old 11-28-2003, 10:08 PM
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Default RE: What to do with deer hide?

Hi again!
I just plan to put the hide on the wall..does it even need tanning? Also, can I tan it without taking the hair off? The website said that the hair should be scraped off.
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Old 11-28-2003, 10:18 PM
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Default RE: What to do with deer hide?

you do need to tan it because it will rot or get a very bad odor and fill the room with it if you don' t... you can tan it with the fur on.. and here' s how
To simplify your first project, slice the hide open all the way up the belly to the hair of the chinny-chin-chin. (Sorry, it' s an old butchers saying.) Now, throw it over a very smooth log or tack it out flat on a piece of plywood (see photo). Buffaloes I stake out right on the ground. Definitely not a good beginners project! You can use a fairly crescent shaped knife held at a 90 degree angle to the pelt. I also use the same scraper used on buffalo.
Now push and scrape. Remove all the fat, meat and membrane until you begin to see the pores of the skin. Sometimes hair will pull back through the underside of the skin. This is usually from animals killed during the summer or early fall. Just move on to the next area and keep scraping. The membrane on the head or mask is the toughest to get off, so take your time.

Of course if the animal was struck by a car and has Good Year stamped in the facial fur, you may want to cut the mask off entirely. The tails generally have a lot of fat on them. Clean them well (soap and water?) but go gently, they can break fairly easily. Fortunately they' re so fluffy they can be sewn back together without a sign of the disaster.


Braining
You' ve finished the first step referred to as fleshing. Pelts and skins used for brain tanning require a thorough fleshing job. The fine oil that is used is the reason for this. No harsh or toxic chemicals are used. This is the only way for me. The way it was created to be used. This leaves you with a pelt that is soft, light, fluffy and very natural feeling.

When the animals life is taken it gives you a complete tanning package as a bonus. Every critter has enough brains to tan it' s own hide, except buffaloes (and some people I know). Remove the brain from the raccoon' s skull and mix with about 1-1/2 cups of water. Cook this mixture for about 10 minutes. Then mash, mix or blend into an oily liquid. This will be divided into two equal amounts.

Buff up the pelts surface with some sandpaper, sandstone, or granite rock. Apply the lukewarm mixture and rub it in by hand. Go ahead ladies, it' ll make your skin soft. Allow to dry overnight. Thicker pelts require more brain and more applications but most raccoons can be done in just two coatings. Buff the surface again and apply the second coat. Now cover with a very warm and wet towel and let it set overnight.


Softening
The following morning uncover and begin to stretch your hide (see photo). Pull side to side and head to tail. The back of an old wooden chair works well for this. Pull the pelt down over it, stretching and buffing over the full length of the pelt. Take breaks whenever needed, but continue to stretch until dry.


A Note From the Editor
While some pelts do come out soft with the first braining, you should expect your pelt not to do this. If it does consider yourself lucky.

If you are softening and you notice that the pelt is getting unacceptably stiff (anywhere besides the edges)and you can' t work that stiffness out...its time to re-apply the brains. If you wait until the hide is totally dry before re-braining, it won' t absorb the brains as well and won' t soften up as soft. You can continue this re-braining, re-softening cycle until the hide is as soft as you want it to be.



If for some reason the pelt dries tough in some spots, mix another solution of brains and re-apply, let it soak in and stretch until dry. If you do enough tanning you will get some tough ones. Take it as a lesson from mother nature and keep trying. The fibers in the skin are a lot like a baby diaper, crossing and overlapping each other. Applying oil to these fibers and rubbing them together fluffs them up making them soft and airy.


Smoking
When the pelt is dry and no longer cool to the touch, it' s ready to be smoked in the teepee. The skin can be hung at the top and rotten wood placed on the fire to smolder and smoke. At the campfire the pelt can be suspended on sticks downwind but out of reach from a possible wild flame. Remember you want smoke not fire. Moths like tanned pelts of any kind. but smoking deters them allowing you to enjoy them year round.
So clear out a corner of the garage and brain-tan those pelts. A beautiful and respectful momento from the hunt or a well earned reward for salvaging a road kill.

Tips for Tanning Heavier Furs
A couple additional bits of information for you when working with beaver pelts. Average to large blanket size beaver are very thick at the neck, tail and jaws. I call them baby buffalo. And as with buff' s I use my hand held scraper (wahintke) to thin them out a bit before braining. This will require them to be stretched and tacked on a board after fleshing over the beam, or laced onto a hoop or small rack.
Feel the thickness of the pelt in the rib area and use that as your gauge for the rest of the back, neck and tail. This scrape/thinning is most easily accomplished when the pelt is still damp. It works well in winter to hoop and freeze scrape them too. Temperatures of 20 degrees or less work best.

Also, with many of the heavier pelts such as beaver, I brain them twice and work them dry as described earlier in this chapter. Then I dunk them right into the warm brain slurry. After soaking for an hour or more I stretch and pull it in the solution until it is completely saturated and then wring it out just as a deer skin! The hair will look shiny and does not slip. (I got this tip several years ago while working with another tanner from Montana.) Just be sure to work the pelts completely dry and give them a thorough smoking of a couple hours or more.

This is a guide for doing roadkill but the same will work for the deer... just double the recipe.. if you want to practice first on roadkill it wouldn' t hurt... that way if you make any mistakes it won' t be on your deer... also you do not need to put the hide in a teepee... you can just build a fire outside and a makeshift stand for the hide and put it in the smoke but obviously not too close to the fire
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Old 11-28-2003, 10:28 PM
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Default RE: What to do with deer hide?

Thanks a million! I think I' ll try that! It looks fairly easy. I like the idea of doing it the indian way......they had it all figured out before we had our hi-tech stuff!
Thanks again huntingirl!
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Old 11-28-2003, 10:30 PM
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Default RE: What to do with deer hide?

who you calling we? lol i' m a pureblood sauk
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Old 11-29-2003, 02:21 AM
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Default RE: What to do with deer hide?

Well, I guess huntingirl gave you pretty much all you needed to know...I also tan my own skins...I love doing it, tis very fun and rewarding...you' ll enjoy it I think ...

Good luck!!
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Old 11-29-2003, 10:35 AM
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Default RE: What to do with deer hide?

lol, yea you are an Native American. Sorry my bad! I wish I was indian! I' m pure white unfortunitly[:' (] and German decent at that[>:] All the Germans ever did was kill innocent people and make beer! Grrrr
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