How to Tan a Bear Skin

By JenniferH
Tan a bear's skin to make full use of your prey.
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Tanning an animal skin is a way to preserve it, which means you can make resourceful use of the animal while creating a usable product. Tanning allows for the creation of an array of products, from shoes to saddles. In addition, many hunters will tan an animal so she can display her catch in the home or office. Bear skins are no exception. As long as you have adequate space to do the job, you can begin with the full carcass.

Step 1

Turn the bear ears inside out, then split the animal's lips and eyes. Remove the cartilage inside the nose. This will prevent spoilage.

Step 2

Using a utility knife, very slowly skin the bear. Take great care to make sure that all flesh is removed, including all the skin that is around the face and claws.

Step 3

Cover the skin side with a one inch layer of non-iodized salt and rub in. Let the salt sit for 24 hours. At the end of the 24 hours, shake off the salt and repeat this step with fresh salt.

Step 4

Pour 1 1/2 pounds of aluminum salt into a trash can or utility bath full of water. Place the hide into this mixture, submerging completely. Let it soak for six to seven days. When it is done soaking, remove and rinse with cold water, taking care to remove any residue left from the salt.

Step 5

Make a neutralizing solution with one ounce of baking soda for every gallon of water. Soak the hide in this solution for 20 minutes to nullify the acid from the aluminum salt. Remove the hide from the solution and lay it hair side down across a flat surface, such as a plywood board. Allow about 48 hours for the bear hide to dry.

Step 6

Heat the tanning oil so that it is warm. You can do this in the microwave or on the stove.

Step 7

Wearing gloves, take a paint brush and brush the heated tanning oil all over the skin of the hide. Let the hide absorb the oil for four hours.

Step 8

Roll up the hide. Place it in a plastic bag and refrigerate overnight. Remove from the refrigerator the next day. Your bear hide is now tanned.