Last september I shot my first bear. It was a little one, and I shot it for meat, when I got home my kids said they wanted to hang the hide in their room I bought the $40 kit at sportsmans and thought tanning the hide would be a project with a few weeks off after having a newborn baby.
Fleshing was more of a hassle than I thought it would be. I looked on youtube and watched videos of guys using expensive fleshing machines - it looks kind of like a diamond wheel for an angle grinder.Say what you will, I'm sure I saved myself a day or two at the rate I was fleshing.
I washed the hide in dish soap and then pulled the hide best I could and tacked the edges down. I had the head inside out and stuffed paper inside it to keep some shape.
The kit comes with crystals that you dissolve in hot water, mix the solution up like pancake batter (literally using flour). I spread the paste, left if for a couple of days and then scraped it back off.
The kit also comes with oil. After scraping off the paste, you oil the hide. It still looks like raw flesh at this point.
A couple of weeks later you've got yourself a tanned hide and can park in the garage again.
I did a sheep hide at the same time, which turned the whole thing into a bit more of a project than I meant. If I do it again I'll probably get mckenzie supplies from vandykes, mostly because I think it's a better value.