Just try to find a decent tannery in Alaska! Spoke with Alpha Fur Dressing in Anchorage, they must have too much business, because the response I got was "The only thing you are paying me for in tanning ermine, is to not lose the stupid things"; "Muskrats aren't worth the trouble"; and, regarding a beautiful bull caribou hide, "Caribou do nothing but shed, no matter how you process them the hair comes out all the time, They aren't worth the money to tan them, but, I have some nice ones here already tanned that I will sell you, for less than you will spend to have yours tanned". My response, to this and any idea of using this tannery is, thanks, but no thanks.
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Many tanners here no longer accept small game for that exact reason. They deal in volume and for the bother of a weasel, they could have done two deer. I'm sure that they get some real crap from the bush at times when hunters from the lower 48 show up with no concept of what Alaska is all about. I paid extra just to have 10 pounds of salt in our caribou camp. I brought the hides home with me and they tanned beautifully, but I've had customers bring in nightmares for me. I'm sure Alpha has more than enough moose, bear, and sheep to keep them gainfully employed. Why aren't you tanning those low end items yourself? It would obviously save you money.
I use Alpha alot as my Alaskan recieving agent and tanner when I have clients go up there, with out fail they always do a great job and they have saved many capes that would of been lost otherwise. They are great people that told you the truth.
At the moment, I am not in a location that allows me to be set up for tanning. I have otter and other items to be done, and it seems reasonable to send it all, big and small. But if they are large game only, fine, they can just say so. Delete the lecture about what small game hides are worth in value, what a hassle they are to deal with, etc. As far as being an A+ outfit, as they are in the eyes of the fellow above, if he gets great service, wonderful. But "telling me the 'truth' for my own good"? I have handled caribou hides without problems; with care, the hair breakage can be kept to a minimum. That a tannery would advise taxidermists that they should not bother with caribou hides, but hey, "we'll sell you one of ours", ... well, whatever.
I wish my Boss would quit taking bison, warthogs, hyenas,crocs,elephant,rhinos,hippos,and giraffe! Unless I am mistaken, I heard, Mike Boyce owns Alpha now, so unless they are a BIG tannery, which I dont think they are, they probablly are spending most of their time tanning his skins, and dont have time for the little guy. I bet if you wanted a lifesize Dall or grizzly tanned, your tanning would have been welcomed with open arms. Also, caribou dont shed if tanned properly. Oh, I for got ostrich, I hate those damn birds.
We tan skins for a handful of Alaskan taxidermists, I sure you can find a tannery in the lower 48.
they do GREAT BEARS. Just did one today tanned by them, great stretch and a hide you can pull stiches with your pick up truck and not tear the hide
Don't know about other hides but there bears are B E A U T I F U L to work with
AND NEVER A CUT OR HOLE
clearly stated Boyce OWNS Alpha, in one issue, and in another issue, claimed to be a recieving station. Could be mistaken, but I dont think so. Which ever the case, you Taxidermists out there with customers that hunt in Alaska, should be able to read between the lines here. I would guess the guides up there are being paid some nice commissions for referals also. I would call this,"cutting em off at the pass".