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Why did my deer cape rot in the Krowtan

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by man2hit, Mar 24, 2016.

  1. man2hit

    man2hit New Member

    I had a spare deer hide in the freezer from last season so I decided to just make a simple tanned hide to hang somewhere. I cut the head and legs off, did about 90% of the fleshing, put it in the tan with the exact amounts of Krowtan/salt/water. I left it in there for 7 days and repositioned it in the mix everyday just like it said too. When I took it out today, I noticed an odd odor coming from somewhere. It smelled like spoiled meat. When I got it in the sink and started rinsing it, hair began coming out by the hand fulls.....that's when I realized what was smelling bad....the cape. I looked more closely and the cape looked discolored in some places too. It smelled totally rotten. I just threw it on in the garbage. Why did this happen? The cape was well taken care of after the kill.....it was brought straight home and went straight in my freezer and hasn't moved since. The only thing I can think of would be the Krowtann. The bottle I used is about 12-14 months old and the directions on the bottle say to not use if it is more than 6 months old. Is this the cause?...If not, then what?

    This sucks because every time I start to gain some confidence with taxidermy, something like this happens and it reassures me I am not ready to handle someone else's trophy. I mean, what would be the solution if this had happened with a customers deer? One that was unique and couldn't be replaced....like if it had a double throat patch or something? Thanks!
  2. Genie

    Genie Member

    I know what you mean about the frustrations and having your confidence shaken. Did you notice in the Krowtann directions that all the quantities are measured in volumes. So if you put salt in by weight then you wouldn't have enough. You would actually need about one & a half times as much salt. I made this mistake on my first few capes but never lost one

  3. I always follow the instructions to the tee and always get fantastic results with krowtann.
  4. austin_0_4

    austin_0_4 New Member

    I have had great results with Krowtan all but one time. I did have one go bad in krowtan but I am pretty sure it was from the field care and overall time it took to get the cape chilled. Had a long hike out and the weather was awfully warm. When used as directed, I have only heard of a few spoiled capes in krowtan...the stuff seems to be pretty bullet proof when the directions are followed. The guys at ozark woods have always been helpful to me when I have called or written. Maybe give them a call!
  5. man2hit

    man2hit New Member

    yes I put the salt and krowtan in by measurements of ounces. It's just confusing to me, I've always had great results with krowtan except for this time. It would just be nice to know what went wrong this time so I'll be sure to never do it again.
  6. KFLAH

    KFLAH Active Member

    I am a firm believer in Krowtan, but I did have a bottle where I had slip on every specimen I did with that bottle. I know that each specimen was handled with care, in fact two of them were mine. I think it was just a bad batch. Other than that I have never had any problems. If anything, I have thrown some very iffy capes in Krowtan that have come out fine.

  7. Genie

    Genie Member

    Like the others, I've been having good luck with Krowtann too. But now you're starting to scare me. :-\ If you can still check the pH on the mixture or the cape that could help find the problem. I recently contacted Ozark Woods about Krowtann & they said a pH of 3 or 4 would be about right - after soaking for a while.
    I have used Krowtann that was a year old with no problems. It had been stored in a very cool basement so that could have helped to keep it.
  8. pir^2h

    pir^2h Retrievers give you the bird

    I doubt the age of the Krowtann had anything to do with it if it was a new, never opened bottle (and you shook it well before use!). My daughter has dabbled in taxidermy and I gave her a bobcat I had in the freezer for twelve years and she used krowtann. The Krowtann was at LEAST seven years old and it came out fine. By the way, this bottle was subjected to freezing weather and heat in an unheated building all this time. (I don't know if it actually turns to ice; never checked it). It doesn't do you any good or answer your question but it will remain one of those unsolved mysteries; there are just too many variables. But don't give up! We all have set backs, even more so in the beginning. I am not knocking Krowtann. It does work but there are a lot of methods out there for the home/small shop tanner. It would be good to try a couple and see which works best for you. Keep your spirits up. Best of luck to you.

  9. wilcox1088

    wilcox1088 Active Member

    I have had this happen to me once with using Krowtan. I know the cape was good, got it from another taxidermist friend, and the mixture was good because I was tanning another hide at the same time and I turned out perfect. The hide did not rot but was slipping so bad I had to chunk it. I started almost doubling up on my ingredients and have not had a problem since
  10. The bottle says best used within eight months so thats what I would do. Also you said 90 percent fleshed, all my capes are turned and completely fleshed before they go in the krowtann and have never had a problem.
  11. boarhunter67

    boarhunter67 Well-Known Member

    I just had a bobcat that developed a rank smell in krowtann. I mixed it exactly except with a bit more salt, but after a couple of days the skin still felt raw and the ph was at 3. I normally don't check the ph on krowtann, but because the skin felt raw I did. So I added more and more krowtann until I added almost double and the ph never changed. I figured it would eventually change the texture like it usually does and agitate it daily for 3 weeks, then left it alone. I took it out a few days ago and it stank like something rotten. There is no slippage yet so I am not sure what's going on. The bobcat was partially frozen when I skinned it and it was skinned out and in the krowtann pretty quickly. I used latex gloves and the skin still felt icy cold when I put it in. I did flesh it out 98%. This is the first time I have had an experience like this with krowtann.
  12. BrianHendricks

    BrianHendricks Member

    Let's back up a bit. You say a " cape" but then are referring to a hide. I can see tanning a small cape in a 5 gallon bucket but a hide needs a much bigger vat. Is it possible the hide wasn't free floating in your container and just didn't have enough room or solution to effectively work as intended ?
  13. Khill

    Khill New Member

    I'm in the same boat. I had real good success the last 4 years using Krowtann & love using it , but I've lost 4 whitetail deer capes & 1 mule deer cape & a bobcat recently this past year out of 3 different bottles of Krowtann . My bank account is hurting at this rate replacing capes but my brain is Smoking trying to figure out what's going wrong cuz I really want to keep using it. I even write the date on the bottles with a sharpie when I receive them to keep track of dates of purchase. I do weight my capes down with milk jugs to keep them submerged though. I still have no clue what's going wrong , But hope all goes better this year for me Grrr !!
  14. You should look into a cape saver tanning machine, If you want consistent quality tan
  15. txoutdoors

    txoutdoors Active Member

    The only thing I am reading that is in common here is that in the case of both boarhunter and man2 is that the hide was not 100% fleshed. Not saying that is the culprit but might be something to consider.

    I have had good luck with Krowtan and have not experienced this problem. I have always been nervous about the ability of the chemicals to penetrate the skin so I completely flesh before tanning. The other thing I noticed is that 2-3 days in, there seems to be some sort of stratification or separation of the chemicals. When you first mix it you have a tub full of tan colored solution seemingly mixed well, but after letting things set overnight and checking the next day after my normal job, it seems like the water is more clear with the tan colored fluid separating somewhat. Anyone else notice that?

    Anyhow, between the two concerns above, I always ensure that I have plenty of the mixture in the tub even if it means doubling the amount of overall solution (5 gal vs 2.5 gal for a deer cape) and I make sure that for the first few hours I can stir the solution every 20 -30 minutes. Probably just my paranoia but thought I would share my areas of concern.
  16. Genie

    Genie Member

    How about temperature? Krowtann has been working for me at 55 - 60 degrees.
  17. pir^2h

    pir^2h Retrievers give you the bird

    Interesting observation. I have not used Krowtann in quite awhile myself but when I did I stirred the skin at least four times a day which would (should?) take care of the separation problem as well as making sure all parts of the skin are exposed to the chemicals. (By stirred I mean lift it up and down, in/out of the Krowtann a half dozen times, not like stirring your sugar in your morning coffee!)
  18. boarhunter67

    boarhunter67 Well-Known Member

    I don't think you read my post carefully enough. I said 98% fleshed which means all read meat and fat mostly off. It's as good or better than when I salt it and send it to the tannery. There weren't any chunks. The face needed detailing to thin out and there may have been some membrane here and there, but nothing that would have caused any rotting or slipping.
  19. Cajun Dan

    Cajun Dan New Member

    Did you use a plastic container filled with water to weigh it down or something else. I've heard that using metal, bricks and some other things have caused slippage.
  20. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    Brian Harness said in his tanning DVD that a brick or cinderblock would cause slippage. I think because of the lyme used in their manufacturing.