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danlikescoldbeer

Curing Bucktail

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I have a few deer tails.  They have been in a garage for a few weeks. The cartilage is still in them. How do you guys cure them? Cut the tail down the center and peel the bucktail off and salt it? I have plenty of kosher salt for curing baits.

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Here is what you need to do.

 

Cut down the middle and remove the tail bone. Scrape all the flesh and fat from the skin then salt down over night. The next day scrape them down again further removing any tissue then re-salt again for a couple of days.

 

The tails need to be tanned at this point for the salting only sets the hair and will not keep dermested beetles from attacking the raw skin. An easy tanning solution can be make with Aluminum Sulfate which is a soil acidifier that you can pick up at any garden store. Depending on how many tails you have you could probably do three in a two gallon mixture. In a bucket add 1pound of salt per gallon of water and a cup of Aluminum Sulfate, which should place the PH of the solution around 4. Place the tails in the bucket for 24 hours, then wash thouroghly and let dry.

 

This process is the same Alum tan that I have used for 40 years tanning anything from deer to bear, moose, antelope etc in my taxidermy business.

 

Good luck.

SW

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This reply is for Brad

Since I do not have permission to answer private messages yet I am replying to a question about using Acid Dyes after tanning.

 

Since the tanning is an acid tan I don't think you will have any problems using Acid Dyes, just make sure you rinse them well after the dyeing process. The tanning process usually drops the PH to around .4, and I dont think the PH of an Acid dye is much lower than that. I am not really fimiliar with Acid Dyes and don't know if you need to neutralize them after the dyeing process but I don't think it will affect the tan. I would try a small scrap just to see how it affects it before you stick a bunch of tails in the slolution.

 

Good luck

Stuart

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Gilbe

I looked at your process an I am not sure what the Oxyclean does for the hide. I assume that it only cleans the hair and does nothing to tan the skin. The Salting process only sets the hair and does nothing for the hide (its still raw). The freezing process will kill any pests that are on the deer but it will not prevent future infestation unless you store them in the freezer.

 

By properly skinning and fleshing the skin along with tanning you eliminate 99% of any future infestation of Dermested Beetles, which will attack protein so if you have raw flesh or tissue left on the skin that is what they go for. By properly going through this tanning process you can rest easy knowing that you are not going to have bug problems.

 

I hope tis helps.

Stuart

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Stuart,

Thanks, I copied your instructions into my notes for when I harvest woodchuck skins. Does your advice stay the same for birds, I get ducks and grouse also?

JC

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JC

Woodchuck skins may be greasy and will probably need to be de-greased prior to tanning. I assume they are similar to marmots which some tend to have greasy skins. I use a comercial degreaser which is a very powerfull soap (Kemosal) to soak the skin in prior to the tanning solution. I do this on bears, coyotes, racoons, beavers etc which tend to be greasy. If you get into tanning whole skins I would recommend running them through a pickle bath prior to tanning which plumps the skin up to accept the tanning solution. I use Oxalic Acid to do this and put the hides in at a PH of .2 for 24 hours, then I shave them if they are a thick skin. Woodchucks would probaby not need to be shaved. Once the hide is shaved then it goes back into the pickle bath for an additional 24 hours. Then the hide is neutralized for 45 minutes in water and baking soada mixture. Once it is neutralized then it goes into the tanning solution described above. Deer tails can omit the pickle bath since they are usually small and the hide is not very thick/heavy.

 

SAFETY NOTE : Pickle bath acids like Oxalic acid can be hazardous to you, animals or children if injested or come in contact with your skin. You can us Safety acids or Citric (instead of Oxalic acid) acids which are available at Taxidermy supply companies like McKenzie or Research Mannikins and are much safer to use. I just use Oxalic acid because it works for me. I also recommend you use rubber gloves and eye protection using any acid.

 

Birds, ducks and geese are different, and do not need to be ran through a tanning solution. The key is to remove all fat and tissue on birds which means cleaning all feather tracks, skinning the wings and tails out throughly. I wash all my birds in Dawn dish soap then dry and fluff. Once dry I rub the flesh side with Borax then store in a plastic bag for fly tying or go ahead an mount if for taxidermy. I have never had a problem with any bugs in any of my bird mounts or fly tying skins.

 

Good luck

Stuart

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Thanks for the tips :th: .

 

Yes, the oxyclean does nothing other than clean and brighten the hair. Also, in general I am processing my bucktails and using them within 6 months, and I have not had a problem with any bugs. But I can certainly see the benefits of tanning for longer term storage. Good info :) .

 

Alan

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On 1/22/2014 at 10:22 AM, Gilbey said:

Sounds like stuffit knows his stuff :th:. Welcome to the site :wave:.

 

Here's how I have been doing it for years;

 

http://www.stripersonline.com/t/452159/winter-project-processing-bucktails

 

Good luck with your project!

 

Alan

Gilbrey,

 

i know this is a very old thread just one question. 
 

my tails have been drying for two weeks with borax and fan.  I plan on taking them off the board soon but my question is once off the board do you recommend a rinse with dawn and bleach and dry, or oxyclean and dry or just shake and use?

 

Thanks in advance 

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If it's a bucktail that I expect I am going to use in full within a month, I would wash it with dish soap or Oxy Clean, rinse well, let them air dry, and just use them. If I had a bunch that I knew would be stored for a while I would wash and rinse with Oxy Clean or dish soap, and then lay them flat in a warm dry area for a couple weeks. If you had a sunny window to set them in front of, that would be ideal. They need to be dry before you store them, or you risk them going rancid no matter how long you salted/boraxed them. Some guys store them in the freezer too. 

Good luck!

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5 hours ago, Goldy said:

Gilbrey,

 

i know this is a very old thread just one question. 
 

my tails have been drying for two weeks with borax and fan.  I plan on taking them off the board soon but my question is once off the board do you recommend a rinse with dawn and bleach and dry, or oxyclean and dry or just shake and use?

 

Thanks in advance 

Thanks for pulling up this old thread.

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11 hours ago, Gilbey said:

If it's a bucktail that I expect I am going to use in full within a month, I would wash it with dish soap or Oxy Clean, rinse well, let them air dry, and just use them. If I had a bunch that I knew would be stored for a while I would wash and rinse with Oxy Clean or dish soap, and then lay them flat in a warm dry area for a couple weeks. If you had a sunny window to set them in front of, that would be ideal. They need to be dry before you store them, or you risk them going rancid no matter how long you salted/boraxed them. Some guys store them in the freezer too. 

Good luck!

Thx for response.  Doesnt the borax completely dry them out?   Thats the part im not following

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Yes. But after that step you are going to wash them. That means getting them wet. They need to be dried very thoroughly after that wash step or they will go rancid. 
 

Stuffiit is suggesting curing or tanning at that point and you can do that. I’m suggesting there are ways around that especially if you are using the tails soon. 

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