I have a customer who brought a black bear from canada. He didn't find it after the shot until the next day. Then he rolled it up and put it in a cooler on ice for 5 days before freezing. Then he brought it to me. It was starting to smell but the hair in various places seemed to be locked in very tight. I fleshed it as quickly as possible, then salted but started getting slippage around the base of the neck. Some questions that I have, is there anything I can do to save this skin? Should I have known better than to even mess with this bear, and if so should I charge for the work already completed,the skinning,fleshing,etc. All input will be appreciated.
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I had the same thing happen with a deer last year. That call to the owner was a tough one to make. I just got an elk in that was shot two weeks ago, and has been in a walk-in cooler the whole time. I told the customer that there is a good chance the hide will slip, but it will cost him to find out. I explained to him, that it will take me quite a bit of preperation time to work on the cape, and I will have to charge him for this time, if it slips or not. I told him approximately how much this would be. He told me to go ahead and try it. I have nothing to worry about now. If It works, we will both be happy. If it slips, he will have learned a valuable lesson, and I won't be out any money. I hope everything goes O.K. for you.
Contact a good tannery and discuss the problem with them. Its possible they can save the hide with the proper pickling. It is very important that you notify the tanner about the problem so they are aware to handle things properly.
I would immediately tell the customer that his bear may not make it. If it is slipping already chances are it will not make it through tanning. It will cost him alot of money to find out. I would definitely charge him for your effort. Next time you take in a bear you would want to inspect it before starting pulling on the hair making sure its not spoiled and inform the customer if it comes in frozen that you will call him the day its thawed if there are any prblems before proceeding. I have been in these similar situations and we tend to get blamed for losing stuff unless we cover all bases.As far as getting money for your skinning and fleshing it might be hard unless you already have been given a deposit. I'm not saying its impossible but people don't like paying for (dead horses) that will never hang on their wall. I'm not trying to sound mean but unless hes a good customer you might have done the work with no compensation. If he left it iced in a cooler for 5 days he obviously doesn't care much about his trophy in the 1st place. If you have any questions e-mail me and I will be glad to try and help you. Good luck,Mark