Questions for Linda C.

Submitted by Glen Conley on 02/20/2004 at 15:52. ( )

First off, I would like to thank you for sharing your observations in your Shrink-Tonic post. That being said, I would like to pick your brain and memory!

A quote from your post: I haven't a clue what the problem was with this cape but it was strange from the get go.It was tanned along with 2 others that came through beautifully,but this cape felt "funny" right away.

1. Did that cape have a slippery, silky, soft, stretchy, rubbery feel to it while in the pickle?

2. Did you notice if the skin around the eye lids puffed up in the pickle?

3. Did it have a tendency NOT to plump up, or contract, in the pickle?

4. Did it not want to relax after neutralizing (buffering), but kept about the same size as what it displayed in the pickle?

5. Did the face, neck, or shoulders display more whorls, and swirls to the coat pattern than what you are used to seeing?

6. Do you know what state the deer was from?

7. If you can answer 6, do you know if it was from an area in which any of the legumes, such as alfalfa, soybean, red or alsac clovers could have made up a large part of the diet?

8. I'm assuming you still have the mount in your possesion. Do you have any way of magnifying the hair, such as a visor, or magnifying glass? If you do have, I have an article at this address:
that shows two different types of hair structures. Would you be able to compare the hair of the odd cape to that in the photos, and also to the other two that went as "normal"?

9. Were you expecting a questionaire? LOL!


Return to Deer Taxidermy Category Menu


This response submitted by Linda C. on 02/20/2004 at 19:18. ( )

boy you don't want much do you? lol OK let's see what I can answer and then maybe you can tell me what was up with this hide.

1.Cape had a rubbery feel to it after being rehydrated and in the pickle.
2.Didn't notice the eyelids in particular...was to busy worrying about the rest of it.
3.Did not really plump in the pickle're right...didn't relax after neutralizing
5.No,hair was evenly layered...BUT,this was an early season cape with ery short hair
6.Very Northern Wisconsin
7.Deer was taken in an area where there were numerous food plots planted and supplemental alfalfa and corn was fed to the deer in the area
8.All 3 of these deer have the same straight hair shown in photo number 1.

9.If I had known that free sample was going to involve this much typing I might have

Any light you can shed on this would be greatly appreciated just in case I run into it again.I mount a lot of deer for these folks.


Well, Linda,

This response submitted by Glen on 02/20/2004 at 20:55. ( )

the missing quotient in your observations is the straight hair in all three capes.

Any time someone has described a cape behaving like you described, I bring out the questions.

I've been on this one for some time. I've been able to put some parts and pieces together here and there, but nothing conclusive.

We will have SOME deer around here that the skin will behave like you described when subjected to pickle acids. The difference being, all of the skins I have had a chance to work with that had these characteristics also had what I had described as the zig-zaggy hair in the article I referred you to. They will frequently show a lot of whorls, and swirls along with that. We have referred to them as hard to buffer skins. Until now, everyone I have talked to about this has been able to identify the zig-zaggy hair as a visible factor to go along with this type of skin.

Some populations seem to show no incidence of such, while others show one here and there, and I had one Ohio resident tell me, "They're all like that around here."

Another characteristic that these skins will show is that they will "pick up" a large amount of acid. When pickled seperately, they will cause the pH of the solution to keep climbing. By adding more acid, the skin will pick up more acid, and it will take a lot of acid before this action stops.

What appears to be happening with this is that the collagen fibres are bonding the acid, they take on a characteristic "plump", swollen, mooshy appearance, as opposed to a defined helical twist. The swelling is such that there doesn't appear to be any other fluid movement allowed (things are swollen shut) when this condition occurs.

I have suspicioned that there was another protein involved in some of these collagen structures, but was afraid to run my mouth about observations and theory, except with someone that knew "where I was coming from". One of our state deer biologist became involved on this one with me some time back. He was convinced that he would find something already esxisting in print some where. He struck out. His comment was, "You're right, there isn't much on the physiology of whitetail deer out there."

What I have found out just in recent weeks is that apparently there has been a fourth protein involve in collagen structure in SOME humans. That set me off to grinnin'. I do have a potential contact lined up on that, but as of yet, I have not made contact. A person can only spend so much time on looking for needles in haystacks, it may even be alfalfa haystacks. Tongue-in-cheek pun intended.

As far as shedding any more light on the subject, I am going to send you a jpeg (if it isn't your e-mail address......someone will receive a jpeg) of intact collagen fibres. The microphotograph is from a skin that was treated with STOP-ROT, nothing more. You will be able to see that any body fluids have been "flushed" from the fibres. I can't get my paws on enough of these type of skins to definitely say that STOP-ROT will prevent the acid bonding I described, but the indications are that it may well.

Thanks again for sharing your observations. Your observations did show that the zig-zag/straight hair factor isn't necessarily 100% consistent.

Return to Deer Taxidermy Category Menu