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Mule Deer Cape Ears Thin And Tearing When Rehydrated

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by Shrews5, Mar 28, 2020.

  1. Shrews5

    Shrews5 New Member

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    Hi all I’m new to taxidermy. I’ve done 3 mule deer, 1 whitetail, 1 Pronghorn. I was in the process of rehydrating another mule deer cape and both ears were almost shredding as I was removing the cartilage to put ear liners in. It was the back side of the ears not the thin inner ear. I’ve never had that happen before. It was like the ears were paper thin and after rehydrating then they almost felt mushy too. Cape was tanned by Moyle Mink Tannery. Any reasons why they did this would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. socalmountainman

    socalmountainman Northwestern School of Taxidermy - Class of '73

    The cartilage is attached to the inner ear, not the outer. During the skinning process, If you inverted the ears to the very tips and salted them down before sending to the tannery, then they should be able to re-invert after rehydrating the tanned cape. If you did this and the ears are tearing then I would assume the cape has acid burn.....
     

  3. Shrews5

    Shrews5 New Member

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    Yes the ears were inverted all the way to the tips and salted and dried before going to the tannery. Yes cartilage on the inner ear. The outer skin of the ears are what we’re tearing and almost mushy feeling. Is the acid burn from the tannery or a reaction to all the build up of hair and junk that gets in the hair side , inside the inverted ears, during the tanning process and put it in the salt water to rehydrate?
     
  4. Shrews5

    Shrews5 New Member

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    since the ears are ruined i wa shrinking about trying to save the cape by making it look like the ears were froze off. Would this look alright? Would you just make ear butts basically for frozen ear look?
     

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  5. socalmountainman

    socalmountainman Northwestern School of Taxidermy - Class of '73

    Acid burn is caused by not neutralizing the capes properly after the pickling process. I'm not familiar with the "mushy" feeling though, usually the acid burn doesn't feel any different than a regular tanned skin until you start trying to stitch or repair holes and the threads pull right though the skin! There may be other reasons to cause this that I may not be aware of and hope other taxidermists chime in.....
     
  6. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    Not sure why that happened, for one not sure why you had it dry tanned and not Wet tanned , the tannery should have zip tied the ears closed so no tumbling product got in to blow the ear apart . I would get another donation cape and replace the ears , no way would I do the frozen ear thing . Lastly I don’t and won’t sew ears up , after pulling the cartilage off there is a thin skin u can pull off the cartilage pcs , I lay ear down and pcs back together then use superglue gel and glue those pcs on rebuilding the ear back together, I do that with cuts or tears , it’s a little stiff but once reinverted and liner in it’s flat and you can’t tell there was a tear . You see no stitches or lumps .
     
    socalmountainman likes this.
  7. Shrews5

    Shrews5 New Member

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    I’ve just sent the capes to this tannery and I don’t remember them offering a wet tan. All I’ve done were all dry tanned. And I haven’t had any issues. I see what you are saying about the frozen ear thing and rebuilding and glueing the ears back together. Do you have an idea why the outer ear would of been so paper thin?
     
  8. Shrews5

    Shrews5 New Member

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    This is also one of my deer so that’s why I considered doing the frozen ear thing thinking i could save the cape. Is wet tanning better that dry tan?
     
  9. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    Since this is your personal deer, what a perfect time to learn how to replace them with another deer's ears. I have done it many times and different ways.
     
  10. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    For mounting yes in my opinion, the tanning is the same it’s just not tumbled dry so you wash and mount or freeze no rehydration needed . Not sure on the why , could have been scared up or tick eaten really thin then it had all that tumbler medium pushed in the ear and tumbled.
     
  11. Shrews5

    Shrews5 New Member

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    Does wet tanning keep the ear cartilage soft and playable? I know with the dry tan after you rehydrate the cartilage is still stiff enough that you could not re-invert the ears hair out and use the bondo method. I’ve been using ear liners which is fine. Just wondering if that process makes them easier to work with?
     
  12. Fallenscale

    Fallenscale Well-Known Member

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    I think most prefer wet tan. Yes they are very pliable
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2020
  13. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    Yes yes yes , if you flesh and salt once it gets to tannery and process starts the cape is never dry , the ears are as flexible most the time as when they were raw . Very easy to reinvert to do bondo if you like but I’m still a liner guy . I also tan my Own deer and small game . Once back from tannery (wet tanned) just throw in freezer or run a luke warm bath (lol) and shampoo/condition rinse well , squeeze excess out then roll in towel to dry a little, I also put a towel on the inside then I lay it on towel and roll up . You want it wet but not dripping kinda thing
     
  14. Shrews5

    Shrews5 New Member

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    Wh
    Why are you giving it a bath? And when? Like before you mount it after you pull it out of the freezer? Or just when you get it back and your going to mount it right away?
     
  15. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    Wash the hair to make it light and fluffy and have a sheen to it , plus smells good. And I wash mine the night before I mount it . I take out of freezer and put in bath to thaw and wash and rinse roll in towels , I prep form and set eyes and such as it’s drying . Then I pull Cartilage and put liners in and cover on table or put in fridge till next day and I mount it .
    You don’t have to wash but in my book you should for a better mount.
     
  16. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    All the dry tanned capes I have used rehydrated the ears just like they were when they were green. Not stiff at all and super easy to invert. If you are having trouble inverting the ears of a dry tanned cape, you are doing something wrong or the cape was tanned wrong. When I went to tanning my own capes, I left them wet tanned and there was no difference in the ears.
     
    socalmountainman likes this.
  17. Shrews5

    Shrews5 New Member

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    When you said you cover and leave on the table or put in the fridge overnight, are you putting it in a plastic bag? Like you would if you were “sweating” it?
     
  18. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    No as it’s already wet , I cover it to keep it wet and from drying out , but I leave ears sticking out so they start to dry . When I say cover I just lay a damp towel across it
     
  19. Shrews5

    Shrews5 New Member

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    So I’ve followed the instructions from the tannery on the rehydrating process and all my ears the cartilage has been hard. The top half of the cartilage is soft I’d say but the bottom half seems to stay super hard. It seems like the tannery is good and well known.
     
  20. Shrews5

    Shrews5 New Member

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    Ok thanks for the advice I appreciate it.