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Thread: After how long is it necessary to salt?

  1. #1
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    Default After how long is it necessary to salt?

    I am going on my first black bear hunt here in a couple weeks and have a question on how to care for the hide. Since its my first bear hunt I have been told it would probably be best if I just leave the removal of the feet and head to the taxidermist. Will I need to salt the hide anyway? This is going to be a short trip so we would have the hide out of the field in one or two days. If we don't need to salt the hide do we just wrap it up in a bag or do we need to hang it up?

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    honestly you don't want to salt until the hide is fleshed really well... with fall coming upon us... you will be faced with hot days and cooler nights.. i have gone 3 days in the spring with out salting anything; but i hang the hide in the shade where the breeze will blow on it while i work on it. removing the pads and toes is not really that hard. just get some one to show you how before hand... the head is easy.. case it out use a small sharp knife and cut close to the skull,,, paying attention to the eyes, ears and lips... you want to be scraping bone on those... turning lips and ears is a chore in its self... a scalpel is great for it.. spend your free time removing ALL flesh and fat from the hide... last fall it took nearly 7 hours for two of us to scrape the fall fat out of our bear... it was salted on day three and held 9 more days before i got it to town... keep it cool during the day and hang it out to dry at night... put a tarp over it if need be... but let the wind at it and you SHOULD be okay.
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    Member Hunt'N'Photos's Avatar
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    Vince nailed it. I just spent 8 hours fleshing, removing the head and paws and turning the lips ears and mouth yesterday. It was my first time doing it and I had a taxidermist looking over my shoulder from time to time. Its not difficult once you know how to do it, but it is one of the most tedious jobs I have done! Definitely do not salt it until you have it completely fleshed and the skull/paws out. Otherwise you will ruin your hide. Its best to just treat it like your meat and get it cooled as quickly as possible and keep it cool. But you will run the risk of some hair slippage the longer you keep it without salt. It would be best to go see a taxidermist and see if he has any he will be doing prior to your hunt and learn how to do it. Definitely invest in a scalpel.
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  4. #4

    Default Talk to your taxidermist first

    There are a lot of factors that need to be considered first. Are you doing a rug, a shoulder mount, or a life size? The way you skin your bear depends on what you are doing with it. Ask him to show you some of the basics. #1, it will save you money and save your taxidermist having to fix your mistakes. If I were you, I would ask him to show you how to flesh. Be sure to flesh from the tail to the head, so you don't cut across the grain of the hair roots. Next ask him to show you how to turn the ears, lips, and eyes. Also, ask him to show you what an ear stick is, so that you can make one yourself out in the field. And lastly, ask him to show you how to take out the second to last knuckle in the paws. The last is attached to the claws. That one stays in! One last thing, when you are skinning the hide off the face, be extremely careful around the eyes. They're is a tiny little gland in the front of the eyes called the lacrimal gland. It is a little tricky getting it out. But this is necessary to have a nice looking trophy. If you don't do all of these steps before salting, your hair might start to slip and you could damage your hide.

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    You could get by with a couple of days without fleshing and salting, if the weather is cool. But if it warms up and the sun is shining on that hide, the pores could open up and the hair will slip. It's a calculated gamble. The best thing is to learn how to flesh it and properly salt it. Most taxidermists will gladly show you the main things at no charge, because they know they'll have to fix your mistakes if you do it poorly. Two places I recommend in Anchorage are Knight's Taxidermy and Alpha Fur Dresser.

    And it does certainly take time to do it correctly. I would figure on at least 4-5 hours; probably more than that for your first time around. Just take your time and work carefully.

    You might check out Larry Bartlett's Wilderness Taxidermy video series; he covers a lot of this in pretty good detail.

    Hope it helps!

    -Mike
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    good info guys.nothing worse than salting a skin that isn,t prepped right to begin with.Back when I did taxidermy full time there was nothing worse than a cape or skin already salted but no split lips-eyes and ears not turned.Definitley see your local taxidermist BEFORE you go.have a great day-Lloyd

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    have any of you guys put a cape in a contractor bag and kept it cold, in the lake or river? If so how did it work out for you ?

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wildone View Post
    have any of you guys put a cape in a contractor bag and kept it cold, in the lake or river? If so how did it work out for you ?
    If you do that, the hair will slip. Period. There are no shortcuts to proper field care.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://www.alaskahuntplanning.com/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  9. #9

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    The salt serves two perpousses. #1, it removes unwanted moisture from the hide. #2, it provides a poor environment for bacteria to grow. Bacteria is the reason hair slips. Bacteria needs two things to grow. It needs heat and moisture. Without one of those it can not grow. During the tanning process we (taxidermists and tanners) use chemicals, like acid, to bond the epidermis to the dermis. The problem with bears is the epidermis, which is the outside layer of skin, and where the hair roots are is extremely thin. Therefor, bacteria can destroy it very fast. When you skin it there is a universal way to do it. It will work for rugs, shoulder mounts, half life-size, and life-size. It's called a ventral cut. On the back legs, start on the ankle of one leg and cut the inside all the way up across his privates and down the other leg. Do the same on the front legs. Then cut from his privates up the length of his belly to the top of the brisquite. When skinning the head, do this last. Be really careful on the head. It's easy to fix holes on the body. It's not so easy to fix holes on the face! You will come to the ears first. Cut the ear butts close to the skull. When you get to the eyes, stick your finger in the eye socket. You can feel where your cutting.eave as much for the taxidermist as you can. He will cut off any extra. On the mouth and nose, open the mouth and cut just above the teeth all the way around the mouth. When you get to the nose cut the carriage as close to the skull as you can. Now finish skinning. As stated below, remove every bit of meat and fat from the hide. Then split and turn the eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. One more thing. Do NOT role the hide up. I've had a couple bears come in my shop rolled up with the face in the middle of the roll. When these guys rolled the cape upwith the face in the middle all they did was insulate the heat and trap heat in it. It probably took 4-5 days in a freezer for all the heat to leave the face. All that time bacteria was working on the face. One of those capes could not be saved. Anyway, good luck. I hope this helped.

  10. #10
    Member Roland on the River's Avatar
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    Best advice, choose your taxi and visit him often. Ask and you will receive meaning advice on how it's done. Good luck on your hunt.

  11. #11
    Member Roland on the River's Avatar
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    If I could, I would.What I mean is if I had'nt had 4 back surgeries (may be facing #5 as I type ) I would volunteer to help you or any forum member.Granted I'm no taxidermist but have had experience both as a hunter and assistant guide. This TO ME is back breaking work BUT lots of satisfaction in knowing YOU had something to do with the outcome of how your trophy turns out.Be patient and don't rush the job at hand. Good luck hunting. Hunt now because you may run out of health before you run out of money.

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