The most important part of tanning or taxidermy relates directly to how the animal was treated before the taxidermist or tanner receives it. The following list is a recommended procedure for taking care of your skins. Remember, how well your skin turns out depends mostly on pre-care. If your skin is going to be used for taxidermy purposes it probably is best to have a taxidermist skin it. Treat the skin better than you would treat the meat.
**We DO NOT Accept Green or Frozen Hides**
Dispatch the animal as neatly as possible. Don’t shoot it if possible, but if necessary use a small caliber gun. Do not shoot in the head area. Clean the animal at the site to remove dirt, blood, etc. Transport with the legs up and the stomach tucked into the chest cavity. Keep out of the sun. Do not allow the animal to freeze. Comb out all burrs, mud and blood, and make sure the fur is dry before skinning. Use a fan if necessary, but never use heat. Skin as soon as possible, do not leave until the next day.
Skin carefully, a small hole in a thin skinned animal will be a larger hole after the tanning process.
Tips and Tricks
Case skinning is always preferred except for large game (deer, bear). If the fur is to be stretched and dried the tail bone must be pulled and the tail must be slit using a tail slitting guide. Ears should be cut where they join the skull, not farther up. If you wish the ears turned or the claws skun out it is your responsibility or a taxidermists. If you are going to stretch and dry the fur, flesh as usual for selling. Removal of fat and meat is important. The membrane that is left will be removed at the tanners. If you are going to freeze the skin leave un-fleshed, turn hair out, and roll up tightly so no leather is showing. Place in a zip lock freezer bag and squeeze out all the air. Label it with the date the animal was killed and the area in which you found the animal. Freeze in a freezer, storing outside is not good enough. Take skin to tanner as soon as possible. Skins left in the freezer too long will freezer burn. Deliver furs frozen, do not thaw. If you choose to dry your skins, dry at room temperature for one week and then store outside in a garage or shed. Get it to the tanner as soon as possible. The longer a skin dries the harder it will be to tan. For tanning purposes it is best to dry with the fur turned in.
If you have the slightest doubt about how to handle your fur, call the taxidermist or tanner that you will be sending the fur to and ask for instructions.
Remember to bring or send your hunting and trapping licenses when bringing in fur as some of these animals must be registered with the Idaho Fish & Game.