Hide Preparation


The Two Most Important Words to Remember If You Have Your Hides Tanned




These two requirements are the most important steps to remember when having your taxidermy hides tanned. Without performing both of these duties correctly, right down to the final detail, you should not expect to receive back the best possible tan from your tannery. If you do not correctly do your job as a taxidermist, we cannot do the best possible job as your tanner. Anyone calling themselves a taxidermist should know the correct way to skin, flesh, turn, salt, and dry a hide. Where many taxidermists go wrong, is when they improperly store their salted hides.

One mistake is storing hides that are not completely dry. When wet hides are folded and stored, they may begin to mold. Usually this mold results in hair slippage. When salted hides are stored on a concrete floor, they usually will draw moisture from the floor and again they may mold or even spoil. Keeping any dry salted hide in your shop past April is not a good idea. If the heat and moisture of spring and summer doesn’t spoil them, the hide beetles and moths will probably eat them. Damage due to insects, or shipments containing insects seems to be increasing every year. Usually around the month of April, as the temperature begins to warm, the insects get active. Dry salted hides that are not refrigerated will attract these hide beetles and moths, and if not attended to, these insects will completely destroy your hides.


Help Us Protect the Ears On Your Capes

Without a doubt, one of the most often heard complaints about tanneries is they either “split, cut, blew open, tore, ripped, or mutilated the ears on my capes.” When someone phones our office and complains about damaged ears, the first question my office staff has been instructed to ask is, “Did you cable-tie the ears like we have been asking you to do in our literature?” If you did not take the time, or were not willing to invest approximately 5¢ per ear in order to save hours of repair time, we feel you shouldn’t complain to us now, because the fragile edges ripped open in our tumblers. We believe ears on all antlered game should be cable-tied as a precaution against the edges separating during the tanning process. The diagram on this page shows how the ears should be tied and the correct size of the cable tie to use. This task cannot be accomplished by using string, plastic coated wire, or a cable tie with a plastic clasp. The correct cable tie to use has a stainless steel locking device. This is a Thomas & Bett product and can be purchased from most electrical supply warehouses. Also, leaving the ears unturned 1/8” from the edge will greatly reduce any ear edge damage. They can finish being turned once they are tanned.

Simple Rules to Follow Concerning Hide Prep and Storage


  • Remove all flesh, fat and bones
  • Let hides completely dry before they are stored
  • Leave tannery coding areas accessible when folding dry hides
  • Ship out all dry salted hides before the warm summer months arrive


  • Leave bones in tails or feet
  • Fold up wet
  • Store on a concrete floor
  • Leave dry salted hides in your shop past April, unless they are refrigerated.
[qodef_separator type=”full-width” color=”#000000″ thickness=”1″ top_margin=”15″ bottom_margin=”15″]

Wiring of Bear Claws

The wiring of bear claws is certainly not mandatory, but we always highly suggest you do so. If not all claws, at least wiring the front claws would make a tremendous difference since it seems the front claws are more likely to slip than the rear claws. Should bear claws come off in the tumbling process, we make every effort to locate and return them with the hide. In some cases, all claws cannot be found and therefore cannot be returned. For your own protection, we suggest claws, especially browns, grizzlies, and cinnamon’s be wired onto the cores. This task can easily and quickly be performed once you know how to, and are prepared to do so.

The following supplies are needed:
Electric drill
5/64” bit
20 gauge. steel wire (any hardware store has this)
Wire snips


Step 1.

 Cut wire into short pieces, about 2.5” long for Blacks and 3” for Browns.

Step 2

Drill hole thru side of claw with 5/64’ bit. Hole must be near base of claw and must be centered, so that it penetrates the core.

Step 3

Stick piece of wire thru hole in the claw.

Step 4

Bend wire downward so ends can be twisted together. Twist them tightly at least 4 turns with pliers. By bending the wire downward and twisting the two ends very tight they can be left on the claw after the mount is completed and you can tell the customer the claws have been wired so he’ll never have to worry about them coming off the mount.

[qodef_separator type=”full-width” color=”#000000″ thickness=”1″ top_margin=”15″ bottom_margin=”15″]

Dried Hides Only


Ship only dry, salted hides. Wet salted hides will spoil if stored, and all skins must be stored until they are tanned.

Click Here For Frozen and Raw Skin Fleshing Service