I had only marginal success tanning whitetails before I learned to salt dry them hard prior to the pickle. So I do that now religiously and haven't lost one. Do you do the same with elk?
My concern is that the salt won't penetrate the thickness of the hide, but then again, maybe the bacteria won't either. Also, do you have to thin the hide before salting and pickling? Or just before you return it to the pickle?
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Kristi, the salt draws out the body juices that are trying to rot the hide. It does not go into it. You do not need to dry the cape rock hard, salting for 24 hours in a cold area, will assist the pickle so it does not have to work as hard at killing the juices. Then go right into the pickle after you rinse the salt off is ALL that you NEED to do. The same with Elk, just cover a little deeper with the salt for it has more body juices to draw out.