Bear Question

Submitted by Joey on 9/20/99. ( )

I recieved a bear the other day to make a rug. It had been in a cooler so I immediatly skinned out the head and feet, cut off the big chunks and salted. After 24 hrs I fleshed it all the way down to where I could see the hair roots but not feel them. I was afraid I would cut them and the hair would fall out, but the hide is free of any thick pieces of fat. You can see every hair root on the whole thing. It has been salted for two days since. You can still feel a greasy film over the top of the hair roots. Will the salt ever dry it out with it being that greasy? I plan to dry it out and send to a tannery. What should I do?

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This response submitted by George Roof on 9/20/99. ( )

First of all, the tannery is going to hate you. With a bear, you should only remove the large chunks of meat and peel what ever fat you can with a DULL BLADED DRAW KNIFE. It sounds as if you have shaved the hide almost too far already, and the shavers at the tanneries will (1) have nothing to do or (2) reshave it and you will have a super thin bear hide with hair falling out constantly. Bear skin is inherently greasy and thereby MUST be tanned to completely rid the skin of those oils. When you salt it, you are removing the moisture from the skin, not dissolving the fat. Fatty deposits will saturate your salt even if you do this more than once (as you should). Shake the wet salt off and resalt. Then shake it well before shipping it. I would suggest you enclose a note to your tannery and advise them of the skins condition.
I also hope the the "cooler" you referred to was a walkin type rather than a picnic type. Early bears are notorious for spoiling quickly, and a picnic cooler is a fuse for that dynamite. Grab a handfull of hair in several spots and tug gently. If it comes out in fistfulls, save your time and money and call your customer with the bad news. ( Scroll down and check Carl's remarks under Bears.)

Thanks George

This response submitted by Joey on 9/20/99. ( )

Thanks for your response. I didn't get it so thin it would fall out but as you said if they shave it any thinner it will. I didn't get it that thin on the head, but on the back I just got the fat off and I could see the roots. I didn't even thin the skin. I will be sure to include a note.
As far the cooler, I'm afraid it was the picnic kind. The first thing I did when I got it out was pull the hair in different spots and it was tight and still is so maybe it will be ok.

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