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Thread: Citric Acid and Capes.....

  1. #1
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    Default Citric Acid and Capes.....

    I've been pouring through older posts but havenít seen these questions posted: If they are buried somewhere and I missed them, sorry for the redundancy

    1. Is it beneficial to use citric acid on a cape or would it clog the pores and make for a stiff hide after its been tanned? It seems like it would help w/ possible hair slippage etc.

    2. After the meat has been treated would it be ok to add salt to the quarters/cape/ ?

    3. Is there any benefit to spraying it on velvet or injecting it? I'm primarily a backpack type hunter so just trying to keep weight down and wanted to know what other applications citric acid might have.

    Thanks for your help!

    Blayne St James

  2. #2
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    I can tell you after this last years north slope hunt i will never go anywhere with out it. It saved me a grizzly bear hide and Bowhunter1 on here all his meat and the cape from his GIANT caribou (hind sight being 20/20 we should have not stayed another 5 days but we wanted to help the rest of the guys in the group). If you do a search for his screen name there are pictures of it. We got extreamly lucky some guys from elmo where camped across from us and gave us some. A huge thanks to you guys if you are reading this. I dont know about adding salt to the quarters after sprying i would think that would be un nessasary but spraying everything down will keep the bugs off and thats the quickest way to ruin everything other then letting it get warm.

  3. #3

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    Hello Blayne, Welcome to the forum. To answer your question, citric acid is used on the meat. It changes the ph and keeps the bacteria under control. For the hide, you need to use salt. If you have a local taxidermist you could consult with, it would be a good idea to talk to him before your hunt and ask him what you could do to avoid hair slippage on your cape. The main things you need to learn how to do, is how and where to make your cuts. If you are going for bear, you will need to cut a straight line from the anus up to the neck region and make incisions out to the paws and skin down to the second to last knuckle. Leave the last knuckle in the hide because it connects to the claws. When skinning out the skull, be very careful around the eyes, ears, and lips. These areas are sensitive and tear easy. Ask your taxidermist to show you how to separate the hide from the lacrimal gland. Then ask him to show you how to flesh and turn the ears and lips. For a sheep, moose, caribou, goat, deer etc. Essentially all the same stuff except you typically cut along the back instead of the belly and make a y just before you reach the horns/antlers. Cut all the way around the horns/antlers then continue down to the eyes, ears, lips etc. One more tip. I always cut all the way around the gum line before I pull the hide off. It is a lot easier to cut the gum line with the hide on the skull then trying to cut it off backwards. If these instructions are confusing just go talk to your taxidermist. I believe Larry Bartlett has some pretty good videos on how to do all this. But your best bet would be to visit your taxidermist. Good luck.

  4. #4
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    Blayne, you bring up some good questions! The citric acid is much lighter to carry than 25-50 lbs of salt! I am no expert on the subject of taxidermy, but I can't see any harm in using the citric acid to prevent the bacteria from forming on the hide (which is the reason for hair slippage). My only concern is possible bleaching of the hair itself. The reason I say this is because my sister used to use lemon juice to lighten the color of her hair and I am not sure if this would do the same thing to the hides hair? She used to do it while sun bathing so maybe if you kept it out of the sun it would be fine? I am not sure, but it is something to think about?

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    I thought if conditions were a little wet, salt may help w/ the crusting of a qtr. Everything I've read pretty much indicates that citric acid (when mixed to the proper Ph) kills bacteria but doesn't do much for forming a skin (or crust) on the meat.

    Smoak'n Gun....I never thought about the citric acid possible bleaching the hide. I'll see what I can find out about that.

    Thanks for the replies....this is a great site!

  6. #6

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    If conditions are wet, you will need to do everything you can to prevent the meat from getting wet. Which means keeping it under a tarp and trying to get a nice breeze to the meat. Salt will not form a crust nor dry the meat. I don't know what source you are referring to, but salt will not prevent your meat from getting wet. It will keep your hair from slipping. I would not recommend citric acid on a hide. What usually forms the hard crust on the meat is a nice cool breeze. The key to saving the meat is three things. Keep it dry, cool, and clean.

  7. #7

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    I've used citric acid as the acid in a tanning pickle, it doesn't cause bleaching. But that does raise an interesting question, what causes lemon juice to bleach hair.
    If you find yourself in a situation without salt and you need to keep a cape/hide from slipping the best thing to do is make sure the ears are turned, lips are split and if a bear, the toes are skinned out to the last joint and turned inside out, it also has to be fleshed thoroughly. Then make sure the inside is completely exposed to the air, pay careful attention to the edges of the skin so that they don't roll or get folded over (they'll taint for sure). let the skin air dry. Trappers never use salt, but pay very careful attention to how they dry their skins.
    It might be worth experimenting with rubbing powdered citric acid into a skin before drying, I'll bet it might work great. I don't think it would screw up the tanning process either.

  8. #8

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    I've tested the theory that lemon juice and/or citric acid will bleach hair on hides. Here's what i found:

    Citric acid doesn't bleach hide hair, at least on hides we've tested (i.e., brown bear, moose, and caribou) over a 14-day period.

    Lemon juice doesn't bleach animal hair (at least over a 14-day treatment period), but it is used as a natural highlight to human hair in conjunction with UV exposure. The sun's UV light when exposed to lemon juiced hair can act as a natural highlighter, but bleach affect isn't a concern.

    Some caviats to the citric acid applications on hides:

    Moisture, warmth and UV exposure increases bacterial growth and potential hair slippage. Therefore, be careful when applying citric acid to anything but meat. In my experience, it is best to keep a hide as dry as possible and avoid all moisture variables...citric acid is usually applied with a spary bottle and water. I have found that proper fleshing is #1, period, followed by shade and airflow followd by keeping hides as cool as possible as long as possible. Direct sunlight is your enemy.

    A way to handle a hide is to keep covered inside a kiva or under a tarp at all times, but unroll it at night for best cooling periods and airflow. In warmer periods during daytime, i usually keep it rolled up and stowed in a white game bag to hold in the cooler temperatures gathered from nighttime exposure. We use snowbanks, permafrost pits, and shade to best cool our hides when salt isn't available.

    Citric acid application would be the ultimate last resort, and only apply it once every several days to allow drying between treatments.

    Fleshing is critical to preserving a hide from hair slippage, all other techniques follow the fleshing process.

    larry

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    Larry,

    Thanks for the response

  10. #10

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    I was told by a taxidermist NOT to use salt with IODIDE on hides.
    He didn't really explain why.

  11. #11
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    I have not used citric acid on the flesh side of hides. I have use dit to treat the bags I hand the hide in during the day, under a tarp. It seems to help keep the flies off and stop them from laying eggs on the bag.
    Do not salt the hide until you flesh it. All it will do is turn any meat remaining to shoe leather but won't do anything for the hide. TTC is a salt substitute that has worked for me although others have varying opinions. My taxidermist has no problems with it and its a lot lighter than salt. Larry ahs done a lot of hands on research in meat care and trophy care, listen to him.

  12. #12

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    Pic1083, My taxidermist (Rich Hamilton of Browtine Taxidermy) helped present hide and trophy care for our 3-disc video set Wilderness Taxidermy. In that video he mentions that Iodized salt can permanently stain lighter colored hides. I showed an example of a caribou mount with rusty stain patches on the top of the neck, which was caused by iodized salt. The cause is iodine, a reddish compound with staining properties.

    http://www.outdoorsdirectory.com/sto...roducts_id=288

    cheers,
    larry

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