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Thread: Just Salt and Dry to Keep Bear?

  1. #1
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Default Just Salt and Dry to Keep Bear?

    Shot a Black Bear in late June and though it is nice size the hair is pretty thin, My wife and I will never have a Bear hide on the wall in the house but I'd like to stretch this one out nice and hang in shop wall for stories of my first Big Game Hunt with my 8yr old son along. It was a big time for him so I want to hang it for admiring but it'll be out where smell doesn't matter much, etc.

    So can I just hang it in the shop flesh side out after salting, let it dry real well stretched out, (like staple gunned to the wall while drying) then turn it around for an outside shop wall mount? Without tanning, will it be ok or have a heavy smell forever? I think I have it fleshed out as well as can be and it is drying nicely with salt. Looks pretty cool at a distance, no rubs etc.

    Any advice on home Bear hide preservation for the shop wall?
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

  2. #2
    Member Lone Wolf1's Avatar
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    Default Just my humble opinion, but...

    I reflected on your statement, "Shot a Black Bear in late June and though it is nice size the hair is pretty thin, My wife and I will never have a Bear hide on the wall in the house but I'd like to stretch this one out nice and hang in shop wall for stories of my first Big Game Hunt with my 8yr old son along. It was a big time for him so I want to hang it for admiring but it'll be out where smell doesn't matter much, etc."

    If it were my first trophy with my 8 y/o son, I'd spend the extra $200 to get it professionally tanned. That will eliminate the funky smell, reduce the likelihood of insect destruction, and turn the hide into a lifelong keepsake. It will be a nice piece of soft leather that could be put virtually anywhere (even on an 8 y/o boy's bed :-)).

    If you decide to do something like that, I'd recommend Alpha Furdressers in Anchorage. You'll get lots of opinions on the "best" tanneries, but I've always had good service and quality from Alpha for my taxidermy business. The number is 907-868-3227 if interested.

    Congrats on having the opportunity to share the hunt with your son - such memories are priceless.

  3. #3
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Default Thanks

    That's just the info I was looking for, about the funky smell and insect problems, thanks.
    It is a nice enough looking hide and full of memories so I don't want to wreck it in anyway, and could see it on the boys bed as a really cool thing for him. Even thought hanging like a wolf or fox hide as tanned could be acceptable inside the house, maybe.
    It was shedding quite a bit as we skinned so i was wondering if that will stop or if they just have loose hair at that time of year. Wondering if the best way to keep it would be hang high and out of the way, etc. Have also heard of tannery nightmares so thinking not to risk it but by your advice that will be the thing to do. What do you think of the shedding issue tho? It doesn't seem to be losing hair now as salted and rolled, unrolled several times, maybe it'll be fine?
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

  4. #4
    Member Lone Wolf1's Avatar
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    Default The shedding could be...

    ...just "normal" underfur loss as it's a late June bear (like dogs that shed in the springtime). That's the likely explanation. The salting "sets" the hair follicles, and as long as you did a really good job fleshing (getting all the meat and fat off the skin so the salt will penetrate the skin), the skin will probably come through a tan process in good shape. "Turning" the ears and lips is also critical, and if that wasn't done you could lose some hair on the ears and muzzle. You'll want to hang it in a manner that allows air to circulate around it and complete the drying process. The bottom line is, though, you never know how it will turn out until it goes through the tanning process.

    I'm sure Gary at Alpha Furs will be able to give you some good advice as well, and will assess your bear hide upon receipt.

    Good luck with the endeavor.

  5. #5
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Default Thanks

    I think you're right on the shedding, hopefully it is over now after some initial handling it doesn't seem to be losing hair anymore.

    I fleshed it pretty well I believe. and split the lips well enough for the F&G sealer who took a look at that for me. Turning the ears, I hope I did well enough but need to watch someone else do that as well as how they deal with the nose.

    It's been well salted several times and seems to have no spoilage going on,
    Thanks, I'll call the Alpha guys and see what they say to advise.
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

  6. #6
    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Default

    if salted well... DO NOT freeze it.. the salt will keep it from freezing and wrapped up it will insulate itself, i have a few buds that have lost hide in the deep freeze... i have also seen some last a year or more dried properly...
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

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  7. #7
    Member ironartist's Avatar
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    I let a black bear hide dry nice, it's been hanging on my horses wall now for a couple years. I even catch one knothead occasionally swinging it around
    Visions Steel/841-WELD(9353)
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