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Thawing Hides

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by Robert Baker, Jul 11, 2020.

  1. Robert Baker

    Robert Baker Member

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    Hey Everyone,

    Can you please tell me how you thaw your raw hides to split the lips etc. and get most of the fat off before tanning them? I have a few white tail capes that are rolled up like a basketball and I'm guessing they're going to take a bit to thaw, I don't want to take the chance of bacteria setting in on the outside parts that thaw first.

    Put them in fridge? Soak them in a brine solution?

    Thank you in advance..

    -Robert
     
  2. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    My shop is A/C but I put them in a little kiddie pool in my shop on a towel then I lay a couple towels across the top of them . That helps hold the cold in and they thaw slowly. I take them out of freezer bout 8pm and do as stated and in the morning I still have to open them up to let them thaw completely. Don’t force them apart as that can damage them and pull hair , but open them up as they thaw when possible. You should be fleshing by 10 am . I do this exact thing to 6 capes at a time .
     

  3. Robert Baker

    Robert Baker Member

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    Perfect. Thank you for the tip 13 point!

    Robert
     
  4. joeym

    joeym Jeannette & Joey @ Dunn's Falls

    I place a zip tie in the nose of each cape with an ID tag before freezing. I roll the cape so that the face is on the outside of the roll. At thawing time, I hang by the zip tie from a chain dangling from the ceiling in my air conditioned skinning room. The capes unfurl as they thaw overnight. The face is thawed, and the capes are still partially frozen at the brisket the next morning. I usually do 3 at a time. I've done hundreds of capes this way, and never lost one from the thawing process.
     
    Robert Baker likes this.
  5. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    Your biggest problem can be slippage due to rolling it up in a ball. That should never be done. As the other parts are getting cold the center of your cape is staying warm for a long time. During this time body fluids are building up and creating bacteria that can cause issues. Learn to either lay flat till cool then fold and freeze or freeze them flat.
    You can also take your time by thawing in your fridge or a salt brine ( 1-1salt and water) and thaw in there. The salt will keep the bacteria at bay but if there damage nothing will stop that or do as above, but I use a sink instead.
     
    countrycritter and Robert Baker like this.
  6. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Frank I dint think I've ever disagreed with your comments but for 60 years. I rolled my hides up. I never list a single one. During the season, I quickly caped my hides, only removing large chunks of meat I felt would hold or create heat. I used the short "Y". I would fold t ears and tuck them down the tube along with the face. I then rolled the hide with the face/ears at the center. I use 8x12x24 gusseted plastic bags. The hide was placed in the bag and the i hed the opening around my shop van. I found that this poor man's vacuum seal slowed the freeze dry/freezer burn effect. I tied a knot in the bag and then put it in a large brown paper "grocery store bag and taped it shut with quality masking tape. At that point I wrote the work order number on the paper bag and stacked it in my freezer like cord wood.
    When I was ready to flesh it, I set the bag out the night before. The next day, I took it out and unrolled it. If the inner layers were frozen, I did what 13 Point describes.
     
    Robert Baker likes this.
  7. Robert Baker

    Robert Baker Member

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    Hey Everyone,

    I actually received the hides frozen this way. Thank you all for taking the time to share your methods. By using the information you provided I'm confident these will now thaw just fine.

    Have a great weekend guys.

    Robert
     
  8. Great insight, and always a new methodology to pick up here. Something as simple as freezing and thawing can affect the finished mount. Personally I place a garbage bag inside the cape and freeze flat. I used to salt dry them all but depending on time it is easier to cape and freeze. I like the idea of hanging them from the zip tied tag though. Personally I think that any slippage issues I have had in the past was likely due to improper field care during warmer than normal years. Great advice.​
     
  9. I have always rolled my hides up, put them in ice bags and place them in the freezer. Unthaw at room temp or in a bucket of water. Never had a problem.
     
    Robert Baker likes this.