Animal Skinning Aftermath – The Art Of Skin Curing

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Save your skin — and by skin I mean the skin you get after skinning an animal — and cure it before it stinks like carrion! There’s more to hunting than harvesting the meat out of the game. You can turn animal skin into different products and so preserving them can be handy. It doesn’t always end after animal skinning.

Animal Skinning Aftermath – The Art Of Skin Curing

Whether you’re hunting big or small game, you can cure animal skin and use them as blankets, covers, and even rugs. Animal skinning is an art in itself and the product is a masterpiece if done properly. Of course, you’d want to know the proper way to cure animal skin so check out the steps below.

But first, here are the materials you’ll need:

  • Rubber gloves
  • Hide cleaning solution of your preference (amount depends on hide size)
  • Fleshing knife or bone (or pressure washer)
  • Tanning solution
  • Plank of wood (for drying)
  • Nails (for securing the hide on the plank)

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Step 1: Cleaning The Hide

Once the skin is completely off of the animal, it is submerged in a solution of various chemicals for cleansing and hydration.


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Step 2: Fleshing

After re-hydrating the skin, you’ll need to get rid of all the excess meat that still sticks to the skin by scraping it with a fleshing knife. This is why I often skin the deer properly so there’s not a lot of these gooey, rotting meat sticking on the hide.

Tip: Some use bones but I use a pressure washer when fleshing the hides. Excess meat is washed away like moss!

Step 3: Remove Excess Animal Grease

It’s natural for animals to emit oily liquids and it counteracts the effects of tanning chemicals. You’ll need to get rid of excess grease from the hide by washing it with more chemicals.

Step 4: Pickling

Once the hide is cleaned, it’s time to let it sit in a pickling solution and this marks the start of the tanning process. You’ll have to let it sit for about a week to take effect.

Step 5: Tanning

Once you’re done with pickling, dry the skin out and apply the tanning solution onto the underside of the skin.

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Step 6: Drying The Hide

Finally, once you’re done with the applying tanning solution and softening oil, it’s time to dry the skin in the sun. I suggest that you secure the edges in place by nailing it to a board or tying to a frame. If you want your skin to lay flat on the ground, this has to be evenly stretched out.

Step 7 Remove Tough Stuff

Once the skin is dry, you can give it nice clean up using a sander or a wire brush. Take those rough stuff off the skin.

Step 8 Tidy Up The Skin

Take the skin off the board then give it a trim up using a pair of scissors to give the skin a good shape. Then soften it using your hands by rubbing back and forth. After that, give it a good brush to clean the hair.

Watch rjsmedia‘s video on tanning animal skin to see it in action!

Getting the most of your harvest is always a must. You don’t want all that skin to go to waste so use them as rugs or blankets like our ancestors used to! And remember to follow the proper process of animal skinning so you won’t get too much meat on the hide.

Click here for more hunting tips!

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