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Thawing whole frozen animals in pickle?

Discussion in 'Tanning' started by wingman77, Dec 21, 2017.

  1. wingman77

    wingman77 New Member

    I am newer to tanning. I see that some people thaw there whole frozen critters in pickle. If you do this, do you skip salting the hides and go back into the pickle after fleshing, then neutralize.

    What is everyone’s thoughts on thawing in pickle vs just air thawing?
  2. I've thawed a whole fox in a mild pickle solution just because I've heard they're prone to slip. Worked great. After skinning I proceeded as if it was fresh. Fleshed, salted, rehydrated, then into full strength pickle.

  3. BrookeSFD16

    BrookeSFD16 Well-Known Member

    Iffy stuff and thin skinned animals (bobcats, fox ect) always thaw in the pickle. Why not? Safer is better.
  4. wingman77

    wingman77 New Member

    Awesome, thanks for the quick responses, will try it out!
  5. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    Personally I see no real reason for this mainly why do I want to contaminate my pickle with body fluids of any animal. If I have to do this I would be throwing out my pickle cause if it. It will render it useless .
    If you have an iffy skin I would thaw in a fridge but the use of stop rot on the face including the ears and anywhere else like shot holes or the belly if I suspect problems. A pickle isn't gong to stop what damage is already there but will kill any bacteria from spreading. The same thing as stop rot will do but cheaper. Even the use of alcohol will aid you.
  6. BrookeSFD16

    BrookeSFD16 Well-Known Member

    Frank, I always either mix a new (small) batch in a separate tub to use to thaw an iffy animal, or if I have a couple to do I'll use the main pickle then disguard it. Once something has thawed in the pickle mix, the mix is dumped out. Usually it takes only 2-3 gallons to thaw a fox or cat. Coyotes a little more, but yes, never use a pickle solution once it's thawed a dirty bloody animal.
  7. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Sorry guys, I guess I'm stuck in conventional. A frozen animal isn't going to slip but whatever set up the slippage initially, I can't imagine it being eliminated by a pickle bath. The pickle is simply constricting the skin to lock in the hairs. Once you neutralize that bath, if the hair was loose BEFORE you put it in, why wouldn't it fall out once the hide no longer constricts it. I'm not Billy Graham and I can't save everything. When I get foxes in, I skin them immediately and I spray them with Stop Rot IN HOPES of stopping bacterial growth down the line. When I get them in frozen, I warn the customer that it may be unmountable. The animals then go in the shop refrigerator to thaw. All thin skinned, hot blooded animals are prone to slippage because the interior of the animal continues to heat the hypodermis where the fat cells lie after its death. This in turn keeps the dermis where larger blood vessels lie, warm enough to start the blood in those vessels to begin spoilage. This frees up the hair follicles in the epidermis and the hair falls out along with the outer layer of the epidermis sloughing off. That's just the way it works and once spoilage has begun in earnest, ain't much going to help you. If you skin the animal quickly, you take away that insulation factor that was a breeding ground of destructive bacteria.
  8. woakley144

    woakley144 Active Member

    Check out Brian Hendricks "Pickle to Thaw" series on youtube.. He uses it on all of him bobcats and says he has not had any slippage issues... I talked with Brian at the Texas Convention last year and recommended I try it. Now that's the way I do my frozen bobcats> Haven't had any problems and will continue to use it. I have a couple of foxes to do and have always had ear slippage problems, looking forward to trying the pickle to thaw technique to see if it works on them as well!
    skinner26 likes this.