The care of a fresh hide before tanning is critical to the quality of the finished product.
Skinning - While skinning your animal, use caution and be sure you do not cut into the hide. Try pulling out instead of straight down on the hide. Use your knife sparingly, instead try to "peel" the animal. For transporting back to camp or your home, always fold the hide flesh to flesh to keep them moist. Always TREAT YOUR HIDES LIKE MEAT. Keep them as cool as possible. Freezing is okay. If freezer space is at a premium, follow our instructions on our salting page or get the hide to us asap!
Hair On Tanning - For hair-on tanning, it is critical that the hide be kept in good condition and that we receive it as soon as possible. A hide will spoil in about the same time as the meat. Bacteria start to work quickly in moist conditions above 38 degrees, causing the hair to slip(fall out), making the hide unsuitable for hair-on tanning(bald spots and shedding would be the results). Keep the hide cool, get as much of the meat and fat off the hide as possible, fold flesh to flesh and then like an accordion (NEVER ROLL), and get it to us quickly or freeze it until you can bring it in. Every year we receive many hides that are not suitable for hair-on tanning because we did not receive them before the hair started to slip. However, the good news is we can still do leather (hair-off) tanning on hides that are slipping.
Leather (Hair Off) Tanning - For leather tanning, the condition of the hide is not as critical; we can make nice leather from about any hide as long as it is not in very poor condition. Note: dragging, allowing maggots and other bugs to feed on the meat/hide, and storing the hide above freezing without dry salting will affect the quality of the finished product.