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Tanning coyote hides - special considerations?  RSS feed

 
Destiny Hagest
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I'm the kind of person that gets gifted dead animals from time to time, because people know it makes me giddy as a kid on Christmas morning.

Case in point, I woke up to a Facebook message from a friend the other day saying he had left me a coyote hide on my porch. And sure enough...

I've tanned a rabbit with vinegar and alum, and a raccoon with a brain tan mixture, but obviously have no brains to work with on this one. The hide has been fleshed and stretched, and it currently dry and ready to be worked.

I read in this article
  that a pickling salt tan was a good bet, but I also thought of trying a fir bark tan - are there any special considerations with a coyote hide? The fur is on, and the hide seems less greasy than a raccoon's, but slightly thicker than a rabbit's.
 
Dan Boone
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My mother used a dilute sulphuric acid (battery acid) process on the wolves and (visually indistinguishable) sled dog hides she would turn into parka ruffs up in the frozen north.  But I was a disinterested teenager and do not remember details of her process, I just remember the extreme caution with which I would decant her acid into glass bottles from the bulk container of the stuff we had for selling in our rural hardware/general store. 

 
Destiny Hagest
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I know a lot of people use battery acid, but I want something a little less toxic, particularly since this will be something my son will have contact with when it's done.

My usual go-to is a brain tan, but that's not an option this time around.
 
Dan Boone
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I don't blame you for not wanting to work with battery acid; it's not particularly toxic but it is hard to handle safely.  However, just to be clear for others who might misunderstand: it does need to be neutralized before the tanning process is done, so there isn't any left over in the finished product.  If there was, the finished product would be 100% holes!
 
Destiny Hagest
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Actually, thinking back on it, that's the same deal with other acid forms of tanning - I remember part of the process being to dump a bunch of baking soda in the bucket with the hide and solution to neutralize it, excellent point!
 
Bryant RedHawk
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You might want to go with a vegetable tan for that hide.  We use Oak bark (we have them growing on our land) this is a really good source of the tannin.

Wolf says it will take a lot of fir bark compared to the oak bark for a good tan.  Since you brain tan, using a vegetable tan process won't be a big change over.

Redhawk 

you might like this site for information
braintan.com
 
Destiny Hagest
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We actually don't have any oak around here unfortunately.

I wound up doing an acid tan with vinegar and pickling salt, and it appears to have worked quite well. The hide isn't in the best shape, it seems to have been a bit too aggressively stretched and fleshed, and there's some pull through on the fur, but all in all, it's holding up!

I have a bit more breaking to do around the edges, but it's actually stayed soft and flexible, even left hanging on the tree in our yard for a few weeks in the rain - the neatsfoot concoction really seems to have done the trick.

When I get a bit more time I'm going to go around the edges a bit more and soften, but I think this one is about done, pics coming soon!
 
Ben Zumeta
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I appreciate your using something that is already dead, but you may point out that the people killing the coyotes are doing the equivalent of topping a bush, and many more branches (coyotes) will follow.  I guess this is good for you though, but I would see it as a great opportunity to post a bunch of great pyrenees pictures or have some around to show a better (more beautiful and loving) alternative to shooting the coyotes. Here is a video of how it can work 


Then again, wolves are even better for getting rid of coyotes entirely.
 
Destiny Hagest
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Ben Zukisian wrote:I appreciate your using something that is already dead, but you may point out that the people killing the coyotes are doing the equivalent of topping a bush, and many more branches (coyotes) will follow.  I guess this is good for you though, but I would see it as a great opportunity to post a bunch of great pyrenees pictures or have some around to show a better (more beautiful and loving) alternative to shooting the coyotes. Here is a video of how it can work https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obmBXCzTp2Q

Then again, wolves are even better for getting rid of coyotes entirely.


Oh, the guy killing the coyotes has no concern for the impact he's having on the environment, he just sells the pelts typically. I mean, he gets his tags and (generally) plays by the rules, but ethical and responsible population management is never anywhere on his list. He's kind of a dick if I'm being totally honest.

But, alas, he seems to fancy me. He frequently gives me dead things, like a cat bringing mice to my doorstep    And I'm grateful for the opportunity to at least put some part of this otherwise wasted animal to use and learn a skill like this, so there's that. But I can't help but give him a little bit of grief sometimes - our values are pretty drastically different in this arena. So when he gets a mountain lion, I ask him when he's making mountain lion stew
 
Ben Zumeta
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I understand, and have had similar neighbors and interactions while working in outdoor education.  You are probably making the best of the situation and will have a better impact this way than being all judgy. I get my hugel wood similarly and can't help but feel less angry about the tree being felled when I get to use it.
 
Chris Gilliam
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Don't worry too much about the coyote population, people have been shooting, trapping, and poisoning them for decades and they still spread all over the country. They are very phobic, and very smart.
If you have a meat grinder you can grind them into burger if you want to. I have a video of that on my channel. The taste is the same as pretty much any other home ground burger.
I have some fox hides but I don't really have anything to do with them unless I just wait til next year and send them to auction, I don't really want to tan them because I wouldn't do anything with the pelt.
The pelts down here in the south are not worth much, I trap just for the meat and to keep the number of coons under control.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/email
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