Community > Taxidermy & Scoring

Salting.....The Specifics


Some awesome blacktails hitting the ground and its been tremendous seeing em' come into the shop among other animals. Pretty cool to see some of the biggest bucks have been taken by youth as well! If there is ONE good thing occurring with 'distance learning/schooling' it would be seeing youth out in the great outdoors with the experience of hunting!

Had a few new clients bring in deer for shoulder mounts, with the heads (still in the hide) covered in salt. Along with that, there always seems to be a few animals that are brought in covered with salt due to 'being told' it will keep them from rotting. So...lets clarify a few things with salt use as a vast majority of the time salt application is not needed or done entirely improperly. So here's the facts.
Salt DOES preserve hides and most taxidermists use a tremendous amount of it, however this is done AFTER cape or hide has been prepped which includes complete skinning, fleshing, and 'turning' of the lips, ears, eyes, and nose. Salt's purpose is to draw out the moisture of a hide thus shrinking up the proteins and fats to keep air, oxygen, and moisture out which keeps decomp from occurring. With a wet state we live in you can already see how this can be tough.
Salt WILL NOT permeate a hide from the hair side into the flesh side of a head to preserve it with even a moderate application in moist conditions. Going one step further, even if the head/hide is skinned off, unless the hide has been COMPLETELY fleshed out and 'turned', salt application wont keep the hide from degrading as decomposition will still occur in the viscera level. Salt has to be applied in a manner to have direct contact with the pedicles of the hair/fur on the flesh side. Salting a cape or hide with retained 'red' meat or intact lips, eyes, ears, etc. will ultimately accomplish getting your taxidermist mildly upset with you as you have now pulled enough moisture out of the flesh to make it much more difficult to 'turn'. I actually know of several taxidermists that will charge you more if you have salted the hide prior to turning and fleshing.
Truly the best practice is keeping your hides/capes cold, relatively free of being excessively wet and keeping blood from pooling on or in the hide. The very last option would be salting, but again, this has to be done in the correct method for preservation.
I had, roughly, 6 animals that were brought in last year salted in an effort to 'preserve' the trophies and only 1 of them was done correctly, which was a bear from Alaska that was fleshed and turned by a professional outfit in prep for travel. The others were very tough to get rehydrated enough to thoroughly turn and flesh and would still have rotted if left in their current state.
Always check with your own taxidermist about his/her recommendations for trophy preservation as well.
Food for thought and hope this was helpful

Joel- BlackRiver Taxidermy

Great info!
This needs to be a sticky at the top

Exact same thing my taxi told me, cool it off, keep it dry, roll it up and stuff it in the cooler and please don't do anything else.  I gave him probably 3/4 of the hide to work with and didn't cut the front legs - pulled them off like a tube sock and he seemed to be pretty happy about that.  I got a great mount so I was pretty happy too.


[0] Message Index

Go to full version