Salt? Is it necessary to salt hide before tanning? Heres a case history about one hide which I believe is fairly typical of your average hunter.
I rolled into camp around 8pm SAT,I live and hunt on the Texas gulf coast. Our humidity runs very high down here you yankee boys want to experience the humidity down here just go into your bathroom put the shower on hot and turn up the water. When your mirror is foggy that is what it feels like.
Anyway after drinking a few brews and walking around in my tshirt this was in the middle of January one of the guys who nailed a doe was going to dump the guts. He killed this doe during the evening hunt and the hide was in the bottom of the gut bucket floating in gut juice and blood. I took this hide rinsed it off and laid it on a table. About 1am I stuck it in a plastic bag and put it in a cooler.
Next afternoon I was lucky enough to nail a monster hog. Some folks on here have seen the picture. Anyway I barely manage to get the head into an igloo cooler and you guessed it the deer hide is crambed into cooler also maybe one bag of ice fits around the head.
Tuesday morning I finally get around to skinning out the head on the hog. I pulled the deer hide out of the bloody iceslush and run it over the fleshing machine and then I just rinse it off. GUESS WHAT NO SALT I DROP IT STRAIGHT INTO THE PICKLE...IN 4 DAYS I tan it and oil it and bam one leather deerhide!Hogs have bacteria! warm temp? etc etc etc...ONCE AGAIN I SAy SALTING IS FOR PRESERVING THE HIDE BECAUSE YOU DO NOT HAVE ROOM TO FREEZE! If fur slips I believe your salting the hide actually gave bacteria time to grow! you salt the flesh side the hair slips on the fur side no salt on that side. Down here you are very lucky to salt a hide to rock hard status its just to humid. Ive had mold start to grow on tanned hides as they dry after oiling...so my point is Salting does not set the hair that is b.s.
Dropping the fresh hides straight into pickle kills all bacteria thus stopping that process. Whats my point. No point do what you want but I believe you are loosing a certain % of your hides because you have allowed bacteria time to grow because you are taking time to salt hides. Heres another point...the finished hides show no difference after they are finished. Salt or no salt they come out the same!
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Add up all of the pelts sold by Nafa, American Legend, Fur Harvesters, Sojuzpushnina, and Copenhagen...
It's about 22 million.
I think that's more animals then deer killed per year...
anyway, none of those pelts are salted! & many are wild.
Salting is over-rated. Maybe it's good for deer but it's absolutely not necessary for fur-bearers assuming you put them up correctly (air dry on wood or wire, in the cold, away from heat, in the breeze).
I have lost more skins that were salted, by far. I prefer the skins to be unsalted and air dried.
Just when I think I know it all someone throws something out there that is totally contrary to what I've read or heard or seen on video. I know I spend a whole lot of time letting my hides and capes to dry rock hard after salting. I'm way up north. But if this isn't needed, maybe I'll stop....Anyone else have input on this one?
Salt was never a bacteriacide. It pulls the water out, discouraging the environment needed to rot. Pickles do not kill bacteria either. Bacteria is not just one entity. The bacteria that a hog carries may not be the same type that breaks down a living tissue. Many capes are lost from molds, like the red mold that all of us in humid areas experience. By the way, "yankees" get humidity too, unless of course you guys down there can find humidity OVER 100% -we yankees would call this rain. Let me know when you go into a warehouse with a couple hundred thousand deer hides on pallets but with no salt, just air dried like those (paper-thin skinned) furs you mentioned. Salt your hides, or dont. Im salting, and seldom having any trouble. Im not changing a thing.
Ok, so I'm not the ONLY one who CAN'T get their capes salt dried hard 'cause of the humidity? :)
PS...I still salt em...lol