I never tanned a deer hide before, but when my son shot his first buck in archery season, he wanted to try tanning it. So we bought a kit at Cabela's and thought we did everything properly . However, the hide is now starting to develop splits/slits. What did we do wrong, that would cause this?
ANYTHING is possible when using the "kits". You should not ever expect to get a professional job using a kit---especially for the first time.
Tanning is a very delicate and step specific job---any number of things could have gone wrong. That is why most experienced taxidermists tan ONLY for mounts--if they even do that. All other tanning goes to a professional tannery.