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Thread: Bear Hide Prep

  1. #1

    Default Bear Hide Prep

    Heading to SE in two weeks from Michigan for a bear hunt and wondering about the logistics for hide prep.


    We will be in the bush for 8 days so i planned to salt it. When i spoke with a taxidermist that was recommended to me, he insisted on frozen. Never had to worry about this before so i'm not sure if this is hard and fast or just this taxi's preference. Will there be any issues if pull the paws out and salt vs freezing?

  2. #2

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    I will be following this thread closely, I've always just frozen bear hides because I usually could have the hides in a freezer within 24hrs or so, but I'm heading up to AK and might have to deal with a hide for 4-5 days without a freezer. I've been told that you can make a taxidermists job really difficult if you don't flesh and turn the hide correctly and then salt it...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Chugiak, AK
    Posts
    5,067

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    If you plan on salting it, plan on 8hrs of your time to flesh it and turn it properly... It's a lot of work to get all the fat off, and turning paws properly. The face/head isn't any worse than a deer.
    "No Kuiu here"

  4. #4

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    Freezing vs salting largely depends on how close the freezer is after skinning the bear.

  5. #5

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    Before salting you must do the head ... turn the ears, split the lips & eyes ... take the tail bone & feet out. Flesh the total hide very well.

    I use 30 to 50 lbs of salt on a big SE Black Bear. Leave it out flat skin up. work the salt into the toes and around the face very good. Leave the ears inside out. Leave it down for a day or two then shake that wet salt off and re-salt .. takes half as much salt the second time and leave it down ... be sure to work salt around the folds of the face & neck ... don't let the liquid that is drawn from the hide pool or puddle. Put it on a tarp and cover it with a tarp.

    If your lucky enough to have some dry sunny weather, after a few days, you can hang the hide or drape it over a log to dry out some. Not in direct sun. But put it back down under the tarp for the night (damp) hours.

  6. #6

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    Killed a spring bear in ID one year. 6 days traveling before we got home (VA) - spent 2 more days in ID, then checked out some dogs in UT one day, then spent 1-1/2 days in CO to do a little elk scouting. Warm/hot May weather. Left feet and head in hide. Salted daily, shaking out wet salt first. Kept rolled up in cooler during daylight with drain cracked most of the time to keep water out. Would lay out flat over dog boxes when we ate supper (out of the sun and/or after dark) as much as we could to air out. My taxi said most important was to keep dry and cool. Would stuff in hotel fridge at night (in dog food bag). I was a little concerned because of heat (80* during the day).
    Taxi said she weathered well - half body mount turned out great. YMMV.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Nevada/Idaho
    Posts
    152

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    Quote Originally Posted by Festus View Post
    Killed a spring bear in ID one year. 6 days traveling before we got home (VA) - spent 2 more days in ID, then checked out some dogs in UT one day, then spent 1-1/2 days in CO to do a little elk scouting. Warm/hot May weather. Left feet and head in hide. Salted daily, shaking out wet salt first. Kept rolled up in cooler during daylight with drain cracked most of the time to keep water out. Would lay out flat over dog boxes when we ate supper (out of the sun and/or after dark) as much as we could to air out. My taxi said most important was to keep dry and cool. Would stuff in hotel fridge at night (in dog food bag). I was a little concerned because of heat (80* during the day).
    Taxi said she weathered well - half body mount turned out great. YMMV.
    Very good, practical advice and your recommendations are probably all that are necessary. The comments made by the other members are also correct regarding fleshing and splitting. This is very time consuming and delicate work. Your taxidermist should provide these services. Some may charge an additional fee. I've killed 26 or 27 bears, prepared and preserved the hides in the same manner you suggested and had about half tanned and/or made into rugs. All turned out to be more than satisfactory.

  8. #8

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    So both of you salted your bears without completely fleshing them?

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by wllm1313 View Post
    So both of you salted your bears without completely fleshing them?
    I did. Skinned as clean and tight as possible. But left feet and head in hide.
    My taxi originally said salting wouldn't be necessary, but when I realized how long it would be before I could get it to him and the temperature, he said I could salt it - as long as it could drain the moisture that the salt was pulling out and/or water from cooler. Again, moisture was the enemy (more so than heat), according to him.

  10. #10

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    Don't you need the skull free from the hide for sealing?

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by shaffe48 View Post
    Don't you need the skull free from the hide for sealing?
    Black bear sealing depends on the area and hunt - not all black bears require sealing.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by shaffe48 View Post
    Don't you need the skull free from the hide for sealing?
    They pulled a tooth and put a metal tag in a front pad.

  13. #13

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    I was able to skin the head and feet the next morning in the field and I had never skinned a big game animal before period. You just want to really take your time. I didn't mess with the ears, nose or lips. I probably could have but I would have wanted a smaller knife. YouTube is a good source. The head actually took little time and is no harder than the rest of the animal just be extra careful around the eyes.

  14. #14

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    All Black Bears in SE need to presented for sealing. Un-frozen and the skull needs to be skinned out of the hide. Evidence of sex needs to be left on the hide. Penis sheath or vagina is OK. I usually put the NR Tag through the penis sheath so it is easy to find by the sealing agent. The skull is measured and a lower or upper pre-molar is taken for aging. The sealer will put one metal tag on the skull and one on the hide. This satisfies the CITIES requirements for export.

    If your transporting your hide and skull through BC by road make sure you have the export form 3-177 filled out and declare it at the border crossing.

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