1. Welcome to Taxidermy.net, Guest!
    We have put together a brief tutorial to help you with the site, click here to access it.

Help!! Bear Hide Smells Like Its Rotting

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by treeroot, Oct 26, 2019.

  1. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Look, you came to a taxidermy site. Most of us never used a hide frame, but we know that TANNING A BEAR SHOULD NOT BE ATTEMPTED BY A BEGINNER. The advice you got was pristine FOR TAXIDERMISTS. The "kit" you bought is 99% of the time a piece of crap dippity-do for squirrel hides. Larger animals (anything bigger than a fox) is going to be backbreaking. The very first thing you should have done was 1. Flesh it as you described and 2. Salt the hide thoroughly, roll it skin to skin, let it drain over night, shake off the salt and RESALT.
    The hide dies not need to dry rock hard but it dies need to have stopped puddling fluids in the salt. In a LARGE container, pour enough water to cover the hide (Notice that nowhere have I mentioned washing the hide.) Slowly add acid to the water until the pH is 2 or below. It can set in that bath for weeks if need be but at least several days. At this point, you should have a particular tan in mind(no Juju beans, antifreeze, of "kit") then follow those specific instructions. Once TANNED, a final wash in a mild soap with salty water is next. Now stretch your hide out. Since I doubt you have a 10 foot drum and hardwood sawdust, watch your hide until the skin gets "tacky". At this point you'll need to thoroughly oil your hide. Use water based oils like hand lotion. Reapply as it absorbs. Stop applying when a puddle lasts overnight. Remove the hide from the stretcher. The hide must now be "broken". That means that the skin side of the hide gets repeatedly drug across a dull edge like a dull ax blade in a vise or a fence post. You break the hide until the skin is soft and supple. A bear can take a day to several days to get it soft. Now if you want to rug it, that's a question for later.
    TripleC, AZ~Rich and 3bears like this.
  2. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    Were any of the brain tanned skins you've handled fresh or had they been given time to air out? I am by no stretch of the meaning an expert at tanning but have learned a ton. I have tanned my own bears in house early in my career. I used Basyn tan, I think it was called from Van Dykes, I don't see it in their book any more. It worked fine for me but if I remember correct the directions that came with it forgot to mention degreasing. I figured that out from others here. Dawn works great for birds but a real degreaser intended for tanning is needed for skins. My advice again would be to drip dry that skin and freeze it till you get the proper tanning supplies and then continue. Yes, it will likely cost you more because of location but well worth it to have a properly tanned skin.

  3. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    No one knows that answer unless you try and you’ll be able to answer. Most thoughts will be probably not on the way the the skin was handled. It may work this time but next may totally fall apart. Have fun and try it. Most of the time you won’t find out till the tanning is done.