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How To Soften Tanned Deer Hide?

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by Outdoor_Queen, Sep 24, 2022.

  1. Outdoor_Queen

    Outdoor_Queen New Member

    Hello everyone,
    Several years ago when my son shot his first buck I wanted to keep the hide for him as a memento. I knew very little about tanning hides but the dry tan came out great. I don't have a tumbler or a good way to break a hide this large so it is tanned but stiff. I would like to have it softer.
    What would you recommend? Should I send it in to a tannery? Take a sander to it? (It was a big mature whitetail so the hide is thick) Or re-hydrate it and try to break it by hand? If it was just a practice one I would be worried about messing up but it's my son's one and only deer.
    Thank you for your help. :)
  2. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    To begin with knowing what type of tan you used will help some as the problem can end up with a skin that falls apart.
    The process is to sponge the flesh side to hydrate the cape using per gallon of water, 4 oz of salt and a 1/4 cup of Downey. Also bring thick it’s going to take time to hydrate, then you need to apply a tanning oil that is used on tanned hides not what’s used as a rub on tan as that’s a little misleading and rub that in. Once rubbed in and approximately 85% dry you start breaking over a blunt edge . Then you can try sanding it thinner. It’s a big job and even if you send it out there’s no guarantee that it won’t fall apart on them.
    silverwings likes this.