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Discussion Starter #1
Does anyone salt there hides? My younger brother has salted the rabbit and doe he got this past year, they came out awesome. He even asked for the hooves to be saved, he wants to hang his clothes off of them once they are done. My youngest brother went as far as salting the deer tongue. Bunch of wacko's they are:)

I'll have to post up what he has done sometime.
 

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hides no...but i have saved hooves for door handles and gun/coat racks.
 

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Salt does NOTHING to preserve, bug proof or tan the hide. All you are doing is saving food for bugs so they can eat it later. Salt is a dessicant--it draws moisture from the skin and locks the hair in place. The only way to "safely" and "permanently" save hides is to properly tan them. Bird skins and some small mammal skins can be adequately preserved with proper fleshing and dusting with borax.
Salting is temporary at best.
 

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what do you do with a salted tounge ?

listen to paul, your gonna have some bugs around that you dont want.
 

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well the're doing something more.... like tanning them... all salt does is draw out all the moisture in the hide and makes it (the hide) more acceptable for tanning agents, and fleshing, and thinning
 

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Salting is used as a means of preserving hides. It dries the hide to prevent rotting and hair slip, insects won't bother it either. Normally it is used to temporarily preserve them until they are tanned, however they will last pretty indefinitely if salted correctly. I say temporarily because a dry salted hide is hard like a board and usually folded up for shipping making its use in this condition limited. Taxidermists will soak a salted hide before attempting to unfold it.

If you ever hunt overseas you will likely receive your capes and hides back within a year in a totally dried salted state. I have kept some like this for years. I have also sold a number of them on ebay after a couple years.

Here's a bear from Alaska I did at home earlier this year. I think this was around the 6th and final salting over a period of about a week. Just before it hardened solidly I folded and rolled it up, put it in a burlap bag in my basement. Several weeks later I took it to a tannery. Without salting I would have had to keep it in a freezer all that time.

 

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Not to contradict you tundragriz but saying salting a way of preserving hides and that bugs won't bother it is terribly naive. Salting is only a way to TEMPORARILY preserve a skin and bugs LOVE salted skins. So do mice. Don't think, for a second, that they don't.
A properly fleshed, well salted skin can be stored for a while. How long depends on how and where it is stored but it is only a temporary fix. Animal skins MUST be tanned to be completely preserved and bug proofed.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I didn't know this. I'll have to get the hides to my buddy's father who is a taxidermist.
 

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Well you simply have no experience with it. It is used ALL the time to preserve hides. Tanneries often only tan hides in batches and at certain times of the year. In the off times they will only receive goods that are dried and salted so they won't go bad. In the bush it is the only way to preserve a hide and protect it from bugs. In remote areas of Africa there is only one trip in and one trip out for the year, there's no electricity and a great many hides from a lot of hunters are preserved in African bush conditions for several months. To clear US customs, USDA, and USFWS hides are salted and dried. Sometimes it takes more than a year to get them out of the bush and into the US. Like I said above I've had them for years and then either mounted them or sold them on ebay. If you want I can show you lots of pictures and video of salted hides from the bush, its simply the way its done and I have a bit of successful experience with it. http://picasaweb.google.com/tundragriz

Here are the instructions from a few tanneries. Read through them, they don't want wet hides that will go bad. This is the universal way of preparing hides for shipping and storage.

http://www.lonestartannery.com/lone-star-tannery-TIPS-ON-TANNING-HIDES-PREPARATION.html

http://www.sivkofur.com/ship.htm

http://www.wildlifedesigninc.com/shipping.php

http://www.goldenstatetannery.com/shipping.html

http://www.thetanneryinc.com/hide_shipping.html

http://www.kandktannery.com/policies_and_shipping_procedures.htm

http://www.carolinafurdressing.com/shipping_information.htm

http://www.cftannery.com/services.htm

http://www.eastcoasttaxidermy.com/site/Tannery.html

http://www.keystonefurdressing.com/custom.asp?id=96591&page=11

http://www.mistyridgetanning.com/

I can list twice this many more if you like, and I can provide personal pictures and video if you like.

Not sure what your definition is of "terribly naive". Have you ever had anything mounted? Are you under the impression it wasn't salted for preservation before it was sent to the tannery? If you had experiences with dried salted hides going bad then you didn't know what you were doing.

Salt has been used as THE preservative for many things for 1000's of years. If it was good enough to preserve raw food supplies of fish and meat from spoilage and insects then I think it is a good enough product to preserve a well fleshed hide in modern conditions. Have you ever washed your mouth with a brine solution to kill a bacterial infection?

http://natural-products.suite101.com/article.cfm/salt_as_a_natural_preservative
 

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You completely missed what I said Tundragriz. I said salting was only a TEMPORARY preservative and hair fixative. It is NOT permanent and if a salted hide is left long enough the bugs WILL eat it. Not to mention the fact that salted hides will pull moisture from the air and can actually rehydrate with high humidity.

I have a little bit of experience with taxidermy as well as the chemistry behind tanning. I have been a professional taxidermist for 30 years! Long enough for ya?? In my 30 year career I have seen SCORES of "wannabe taxidermists" try to mount something at home that later results in a bug infested disaster. I get no fewer than 3 calls a month from people complaining about a mount they have picked up that is now eaten by bugs and they want to blame the taxidermist. Almost invariably the problem gets traced back to a "home taxidermy" item that they did on their own--salted deer tails, home tanned skins, dried deer feet, or improperly cleaned or SALTED turkey tails.

"If you had experiences with dried salted hides going bad then you didn't know what you were doing."
--LOLOL. I kinda know what I'm doing there TG....I've won 2 National Championships, a World Championship and more State Championships than I care to count. I also administered the State Taxidermy exam for 12 years---so I have seen PLENTY of wannabe taxidermists with know-it-all attitudes and ideas about how things should be done.

Keep looking for articles on skin prep, tanning and other taxidermy processes---eventually you'll come across some that I've written.

Paul
http://www.tristatetaxidermy.com
 

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I could never figure out the guys that salted their hides,then threw them in the freezer.I figure the hide would never freeze totally with all that salt on it,then it would start to decompose.
 

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You are correct fishkrane, if you salt a hide, let it dry, THEN you can store it in a freezer if you want till you can send it to be tanned or try to tan it yourself. Otherwise, just flesh the skin, and freeze it as is in a plastic bag till you are ready to tan it yourself or whatever your plans are.

Tundragriz, I'd suggest not debating with Paul C! He is a seasoned, well known, well thought of, taxidermist. I am sure he does or has done game from all over the world ( and not just birds!). And I have to agree with him, since I too am a taxidermist, though with only half his years of experience.

North American hides- I've seen it plenty of times when I leave something up into may in my back salting room- the native dermestids and their larvae, and fur moths, get into stuff. They like air dried the most, but they also attack salted hides with glee. It is always my personal stuff left late like this, so not to worry about customer hides being messed up- by that time all customer hides are at a tannery, back from a tannery, or I've tanned it myself and the wet tanned hide is in a freezer. My spare foxes and customer's unwanted elk backhides and whatnot are last on the list.

What I do, is store the salted and dried skins in a freezer if I cannot start tanning on them by may. I also have alot of borax sprinkled around the workshop!

African skins- ask any taxidermist who has ever dealt with african skins, and they will tell you how bad many of them are. Shipments come in after a year stored in some hot african warehouse by a not so good prepping company or taxidermy "factory", and hides are riddled with bug damages, aren't prepped properly, are missing ears and hooves ( chewed off by rodents or plain cut off by careless skinners), and may also be grease burned. Even the best prepped hides, stored properly, and shipped in a more timely manner, often have some bug damage. Each crate has to be disinfected and bug sprayed for a reason after clearing customs. For a taxidermist to directly recieve crates from customs/brokers, they must be USDA lisc'd with a proper facility. Many taxidermist just have the cleared crates shipped from the port of entry to a USDA lisc'd tannery, which then does the disinfection/bug spray process, and also tans the hides.

tanneries: Reputable ones have large cold storage facilities to store the hundreds to thousands of hides before any tanning processing can be started on them. Mainly these coolers operate in the warmer months, or year round if the tannery is located in someplace like TX or FL. The purpose of these coolers is to PREVENT BUG DAMAGE to dry salted hides( bugs don't like such cold), keep rodents away( mice and rats also prefer it warmer), and to keep greasy hides like bears from getting grease burnt.

It is true a salted dried hide can keep indefinatly IF you keep bugs and rodents away from it.

For anyone who wishes to clean their own turkey/grouse/etc tails and fan them out to dry, to preserve a deer tail,etc:

bird tails: clean as much meat and fat off as possible, I mean really pick it clean, but leave the connective tissues instact. Wash the tails if dirty, and allow the feathers to dry and preen them with your fingers. Apply borax liberally to the tissues and end quills, stake the tail out spread open on cardboard or styrofoam sheets, and allow to dry.

deer, fox/coyote, squirrel tails: tails must be skinned out, split the entire way. Deer often have some fat and meat at the top, so this needs scraped off. Squirrel tails also need to be split, at least partway, and with a pinhole made at the end. Fox/coyote tails need split all the way to the end. Coyote tails usually have some fat at the top, also grey foxes may have fat there. This needs to be fully removed. Tails should be washed, then fluffed out to be dry to mostly dry. Apply borax liberally to the flesh side, and with squirrels use a wire to push borax down through the whole tail down to the pinhole. Pin out the tails to cardboard etc to dry. Fluff some borax into the fur as well, getting it down to the base of the fur, then shake the tail lightly.

20 Mule Team borax can be bought at most grocery stores, and is usually found in the laundry section.

If you are unsure how to do these items properly, then take them to a reputable taxidermist.

Also NEVER air dry deer or other feet thinking they will hold up. Bugs plain love air dried feet. Professional mounting or freeze drying is recommended. In my case I freeze dry them, and they are prepepd by being soaked in a borax solution, and they also have dried borax fluffed into the underfur.

Bugs hate borax! It dries them out to dead, or kills them if they eat any of it.
 

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Wow, I cant believe someone who could post all those tannery links didn't know who Paul C. was.
 

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Borax must be widely used in taxidermy.I took a big tiger trout I caught to my taxidermist,it was still alive in a cooler.he threw some borax in the water and that trout was dead in a couple minutes,he also told me that borax helped keep the slime and scales on the fish better.
 

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From my dads experience and my spring experience with my gobblers fan, borax seems better than salt. We did my gobblers legs in salt and after about 2 months the scales were all ripped and maggots were in it. The meat was like moist mush under the scales
 
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