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Thread: how much can a hid shrink after tanning

  1. #1
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    Default how much can a hid shrink after tanning

    I recently received my trophy from a taxidermist (today in fact) it is my girlfriends first black bear. It was a great hunt after several unsuccessful ones. A decent boar taken at 225 yards. She was estatic! I'm very proud of her. Once we got to our kill it was apparent to me that it was a smaller bear, no less a trophy after so many attempts. We packed it out and have been enjoying it's meat all winter. I had a bear skull that has been sitting in my freezer for a few years, we decided to have our Skulls cleaned and her bear hide tanned. I already have a wonderful bear rug in our living room so we decided that we would just have her hide tanned and consider it a creative accent for our couch. After all the trophy is in the experience.
    Shortly after dropping both skulls and the hid off at the taxidermist, he called me to tell me that "once he had gotten around to it" the bear had squared 6'5" inches! That's great Maybe my field judging skills aren't as tuned as I thought, no big deal. He charges for tanning by the foot. Alright no problem.6 months later I big up two awesome skulls and a nicely tanned bear hid that looks quite small. It's the same bear I brought him last fall it's got the same big cut in it where I goofed up skinning it, easy to recognize. It's my girlfriend's bear no disputed. Still the same small bear I brought him. It looks good I pay him and I 2 hours back home. I measure it a 5 foot 4 inches. It is way smaller than my 6'3" rug. I'm concerned that he may have measured the bear wrong or told me the bear was bigger than it really was. Because he charged me for a much bigger bear than I thought I gave him. Is there considerable shrinkage in a hide after tanning. I'm happy with the work but I feel like he overcharged me by a large margin.

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    Well let's see what the pros say but the caribou I tanned didn't shrink noticing to my amateur eyes, but certainly not a foot!


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    Member JuliW's Avatar
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    Ahhh, yes... Shrinkage it happens. LOL... But you should be charged for the cost of the size of the dry tanned hide. Hopefully that is what you paid for. As for size now, compared to wet up tanned, or not tanned. Yes, it will be smaller...probably 3-6" in length shorter and 6-8" narrower claw to claw.

    A 6'6" squared raw bear, if not overstretched, will be less than 6' square when tanned.

    Hope this helps
    Taxidermy IS art!
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    TOTALLY DEPENDS HOW IT WAS TANNED & WHOM TANNED IT !!!

    The Type of tanning chemicals & how it was Finished makes all the difference in the world.

    The Direction the undershot buffer was used will also make the skin either Wider or longer. For Example ( you send in a Lynx that was 36 inches Nose to base of tail. You get it back & it is now almost 39 inches long but it is narrower than it was.

    If the guy ONLY tumbled the skin to break it down , then Yes it will probably be a little smaller.

    Alum Versus Lutan FN, Versus Synthetic tans.

    Synthetic will actually take Longer to Break the tanning agents down meaning the DRY skin will actually stay soft & last longer.

    Alum tans are actually the first to have the tanning materials break down Causing the skin to start to turn harder or Crunchy with age.

    Lutan FN is like a Happy Medium between the two.

    The other thing to consider on lasting age of tans is How they are displayed or stored.

    ALL TANS & Skins have ( Shelf Live as we call it ).

    That is the time you have to be able to actually soakup & stretch the skin before dry rot will be evident & cause major problems with skins.

    If skins are screwed down on a wall or floor they will not NOTICABLY shrink much..

    If they are displayed in contact with the sun this will DRASTICLY reduce the life of the skin. They will also Shrink Terribly.

    layed over a back of a couch ( Out of the Sun), they will last quite a while but you will notice hair either breaking of or falling out by the pressure & motions of moving against it.

    Most tans will be OK to soak back up for up to 3 years, even though I have mounted some REALY old skins.

    Most of the time I refuse to even try to mount any skins that were dry tanned & are over 5 years old, because of the extra BS that happens when they are rehydrated.

    I charge by the ACTUAL NOSE TO TAIL measurement AFTER they are tanned. That way there is no guessing or estimating.

    RJ Simington
    PRO Taxidermy
    Custom Taxidermy, Experience the difference !!

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    Member JuliW's Avatar
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    Wanted to add a little info. Most tanneries charge their customer by the foot or inch for bear hides. This measurement is made based upon the length of the finished, tanned bear from nose to tip of tail. That is why most taxis charge also for nose to tail measurement.

    When I got my 6' 2" square bear back from the tannery, I think he was about 5'3" nose to tail. When I rugged and stretched him, he was 5'8" nose to tail.

    Squared measurements are how bears are measured for 'trophy' status. It is the length (nose to tail), pus the width (front claw to front claw) on a bear that has been fleshed and is laid out in a fairly relaxed position, divide the sum by 2 and that is your squared measurement. Not stretched first for length, then measured... followed by stretching for width, then measured. Raw hides are very stretchy. LOL

    I have never, ever heard of a taxi charging for tanning based on the raw squared measurement of the bear. I suppose it is possible, just never heard of it.
    Taxidermy IS art!
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    Your mount is more than a trophy, it's a memory. Relive The Memory!

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    Sponsor protaxidermy's Avatar
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    Ive seen some guys that charge their customer for a 8 foot bear just because that is the measurement the guide told them it was , then when they get it home after being mounted it turns out the bear was actually only about 7 foot. YES that was In ALASKA !!

    Or the guy that DOESNT tell the hunter that they also charge a FLESHING FEE, so when they go in to settle up their total cost it is ALOT higher that what they were told on the phone.

    There is Also the guys that THINK their bear was a LOT larger when they shot it than it actually was. ( It was 8 foot from Nose to tail , I measured it)

    When it got to the taxidermy studio it was a 6 foot nose to tail.

    Kind of like a Small Moose having a 40 inch neck. LOL

    But on the other hand I have seen ALOT of skins that were put on the WRONG SIZE FORMS, just because the taxidermist was lazy or didn't understand how to properly make the form the right size.

    Also I have seen A Bunch of guys that didn't soak their skins up to stretch them before rugging. Cheating the hunter out of the real size of his trophy.

    When we stretch the bears WET you are going to get the full size that is attainable from that skin & then the skin stays nailed or stapled down till its dried to Insure it will Stay that large.

    If the taxidermist just Settles for what is available in the book even though it doesn't fit, he is also cheating his client & it will eventually catch up with them in the long run.

    I Also know of a Tannery in ALASKA that is Horrendous for record keeping & cant tell you where your skins are, & MAYBE you will get your own back.
    If not he will just hand you one that he thinks will satisfy the client.

    Ive been in the taxidermy business in my OWN studio since 1996 & can tell ya that I have seen it all.

    RJ Simington
    PRO Taxidermy Fairbanks
    Custom Taxidermy, Experience the difference !!

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