Instructions are based on our experience using several different ways to tan, these are what we believe to be the easiest.
If you use these instructions and we did not make something clear enough let us know so we can clarify and update.
Read through all the instructions and view the pictures before starting.
Step 1 - Skinning
Skin the entire carcass using a sharp knife. Use care to avoid piercing the skin.
Step 2 - Fleshing
Use a fleshing knife to scrape the hide, get a 6-7 foot piece of PVC pipe that is 6-7 inches in diameter to use as the fleshing beam, remove all flesh, fat and connective tissue. Take your time while doing this. This will also be done at various stages throughout the process. Get Your Fleshing Knife Here
Step 3 - Salting
Pour a liberal coating of NON IODIZED salt over the hide. Leave the salt on the hide until the fluids seeping from the tissues saturate the salt, which should take a few days. I spread the hide on a table and slant the table. Dump off and discard the salt and rinse the hide thoroughly.
Step 3A - Removing Hair
If you are leaving the hair on the skin - move to step 4. If removing the hair, soak the hide in water (5 gallons) and calcium hydroxide - a hydrated lime (1/2 a pound-hardwood ashes can work in place of the lime). After soaking for a couple days start pulling the hair from the hide (this may take several days of back and forth). Once the hair is removed, soak in fresh water (5 gallons) and ammonium sulfate (4 ounces) to neutralize the lime, rinse thoroughly. Use rubber gloves as the lime is very hard on your hands.
Step 4 - Pickling
Pour 2 gallons of water, 2 gallons of white vinegar and 4 pounds of NON IODIZED salt into a large plastic tub and stir well. Add the hide to the solution, pushing it down until it submerges completely. Allow the hide to soak in the solution for two or three days. Stirring occasionally and re-fleshing randomly throughout the 2-3 days. Remove as much flesh and stringy substance as possible each time you flesh the hide. Re-fleshing will help the hide look better in the end. I use boards and bricks to hold the hide totally submerged in the solution.
Step 5 - DePickling
Pour out the solution, remove the hide and rinse it with fresh water. Place the hide back in the bucket and add 4 more gallons of water and 2 cups of baking soda. Let the hide soak in this solution for about one-half hour and then remove it. Rinse it off and dry it with a towel. Discard the baking soda and water mixture.
Step 6 - Tanning
Before coating the skin, flesh the hide one more time removing all excess water. The fleshing process works great to remove the water. Once as much water is removed as possible coat the hair-free side of the hide in a thin coating of McKenzie Tan. Any excess water on the skin will slow the tanning process down.
The McKenzie Tan instructions say to let the solution penetrate for 4-5 hours then to rinse in water and wrap in a towel. This is for if you are mounting the hide onto a plastic head for a wall mount. In order for the whole hide to turn to leather, it is my experience with the tanning solution that it sits on the hide for several days before the whole hide will turn to leather. Sometimes I will add another coat of the tanning solution if it appears to be slow in turning to leather. The latest hide has sat for 30 some hours and has not yet starting turning to leather. One of the pictures below show a hide that is partially turned to leather. The tanning solution sat for 5 days on the hide before the whole thing was turned to leather. I had the hide on the floor when applying the solution and it sat there for 3 days and I noticed it was staying moist, I then placed in on top of the dog cage and the metamorphosis was much quicker. Patience is important.
Step 7 - Breaking the Fiber
Bend the tanned hide with your fingers back and forth to break the fibers of the skin. The more you do this the softer the skin will be. You can a sander to help soften the skin.
The Valley of Blood is my nick name for the place I hunt, it is a valley that is a hot spot for bucks, lots of rubs and scrapes. Lots of activity and where I have taken some really nice bucks.
It was a cool November morning in NW Georgia as Jayden and I got ready for the day’s hunt. The previous evening Jayden got what we call “buck fever” as she took a shot at her first deer. Buck fever is when you are so excited that you start to shake and your heart is pounding so loud you swear the deer can hear it. She squeezed off a round from her .243 bolt action Stevens rifle just a bit too soon and sent the deer running, scared to death but not bleeding. I heard the shot but continued my round through the woods as planned checking my tree stands that were watching scrapes on the ridge that are at the North end of the property and came up behind her. Her tree stand being on on another ridge she saw me coming, she was extremely excited and asked if I heard her shoot. Of course I did hear her shoot as I was only 50 yards from her when she fired. She sat in her stand and I walked out from her as she tried to navigate me to the spot the deer was standing. We combed the ridge for a blood trail, hair or fat, anything to show us that the bullet hit its target but, we came up empty. Sometimes the bullet doesn’t fly the way we want and misses the mark.
We made our way back to camp all pumped up and excited for the next day's hunt. We had taken the time to set up camp before we went out for the hunt so we started a fire and got some vittles ready for the evening's dinner. The camp fire always makes things better especially when the weather is brisk and cool as it was that evening.
This morning was going to be different. After a pancake and coffee breakfast we set out from camp and formed our plan for the day of hunting. We descended from the ridge where our camp site was into the valley below, The Valley of Blood. The valley is approximately 100 yards wide, 300 yards long and surprisingly flat and in it a creek snaking north to south. We had set up a blind weeks before almost to the bottom of the ridge on the east side that over looked three different scrapes and several rubs at the southern most part of The Valley of Blood. She was going to sit at this blind as I was going to the bottom of the valley and move north about 100 yards and sit at a different tree stand for a bit and then start rattling. I moved as quietly as possible, I always fancied myself akin to Daniel Boone as I move quietly through the woods being sure not to step on any twig or branch I could avoid and step purposefully on any ground that would produce "soft steps". I got to my stand, made a quick look around scanning the landscape for any "sign" and climbed up. It’s a comfortable stand that you can easily take a nap in, but there would be no napping this morning. I sat for about an hour and decided it was time to rattle. Rattling is taking two different deer antlers and "bang" them together, I climbed down from my stand carefully and quietly looking around the woods as I took each step just to be sure I don’t miss out on a nice buck. I leaned my Marlin lever action 30-30 against a fine looking oak tree and grabbed my rattling horns. I began the rattle. I was making as much noise as one can make and being in The Valley of Blood the noise was echoing as if I were shouting into a canyon, I rattled my horns, I broke branches, rustled leaves and pounded on trees with logs. I kept this up for about 10 minutes, grabbed my trusty Marlin and continued my Daniel Boone walk through the woods. Stepping slowly and purposefully as I constantly looked around for the nice buck. I had gone about 100 yards and found a really nice tree to sit by, it had this weird kind of growth at the bottom that formed a perfect back support. I was sitting quietly for quite some time and as the sun rose over the top of the ridge it began to warm me up, it is a really nice feeling to have the warm sunshine on you on a brisk November morning. After being there for a good bit I noticed my feet were getting cold as they began to sweat on my walk in, I took off my boots and socks as quietly as I could and began soaking in the vitamin d that the good Lord was providing. It was calm and peaceful and I was enjoying myself very much. I was facing east watching the sun come over the ridge and quite pleased. So pleased that I began twirling my socks in the air to dry them, as I forgot all about best hunting practices and was simply basking in the sun and quite pleased with myself and the nice spot I found. To my amazement (because I was doing everything wrong) Behind me and to south I heard some noises that caught my attention. These were not the common squirrel noises hunters hear but snorting and hooves pounding and branches breaking. Barefoot and totally unprepared I grabbed my rifle and turned to the west, about a quarter of the way up the ridge I saw two does running north, they were wasting no time as they moved through the woods, a short distance behind them came this ruttin’ buck hot on their trail. He was moving fast and crashing through the brush and snorting like a mad man. I had my scope on him more than once but I never had a good shot. Then they disappeared into the woods. I waited a bit in hopes they would come down into the valley in front of me so I could get a shot. But they were gone. I was facing north at this time and heard more noise to my right - another buck coming, crashing through the brush and charging like a bull.
I turned east with my all readied Marlin rifle in hand. Put the scope on him and followed him, lots of brush and trees in between. Directly east of my position he stopped dead in his tracks, as my scope continued forward I had to back it up a bit and he was standing just far enough ahead of a tree and I squeezed the trigger. He jumped off the ground and ran north, I cycled another round into the chamber and watched his hind legs fly into the air and drop to the ground with a loud crash. I knew I had him. I walked over to make sure he was dead and went and got Jayden so we could experience tracking him together. We dragged him out of the valley to the top of the ridge where camp was, it was an incredible morning hunting with my daughter and we made some awesome memories!
11 points. 19 inch spread.
In the joy of hunting is intimately woven the love of the great outdoors. The beauty of woods, valleys, mountains, and skies feeds the soul of the sportsman where the quest of game only whets his appetite.” – Dr. Saxton Pope
When they were born I was filled with joy
Number 1,2,3 and four
I watched them grow
It all ends to fast
To soon do they grow up and become their own
All alone now
Something I loved so much has ended way to soon
All of my joy came from raising them and watching them, helping them learn, helping them explore
They taught me how to dream
A sorrow I know not how to express
I feel alone with no body
Wherever I went they wanted to go
Wherever I go now I go alone
My trail now is somber and quiet
I have nobody to dream with, nobody to share in my adventures
My trail was once filled with excitement and joy
Exploring and learning together
But now quiet and somber, even melancholy
It all ended to fast
They gave me wings to fly
They believed in me more than I believed in myself
If only I could have believed in myself more
I know they must grow, move on and walk their own trail
It just ended to soon
It ended before I knew it
It ended when I wasn’t looking
Sad is the parent who doesn’t dream with their children
It all ended to fast
The deepest sorrow I have ever felt is the loss of memory my children experience as they became adults. Children do not remember all of the great times and great feelings we experienced together as they grew. All of the booboos, rocking them to sleep, dancing with them, holding them until they fell asleep. They cannot understand the joy this brought to me and they are incapable of understanding how I feel and I am incapable of putting this feeling into words, all the great times hunting, fishing, camping, teaching them to ride a bike. This breaks my heart more than anything I have ever felt before. All the campfires, smores, cooking on the camp fire, walks in the woods, swimming in the pond, snowmobile, four wheeler rides, playing in the snow, all the times just hanging out and when it comes to growing up it seems they forget how wonderful we felt helping them grow, how much they needed us, how much they looked up to us, how much they loved us. It all goes out the window and they are quite literally different people that I have to get know again, find common ground and I have to build it all over again without being able to look back and build on what was there before, no all that gets torn down and I must rebuild. This is truly a deep deep sorrow.
Where does man belong?
Where among the world can he roam free as his soul longs to be at liberty?
In the concrete jungle?
Civilization inevitably enslaves him
He builds cities, leaving his roots, hoping and dreaming of something better
He is lost in the web of civilization though he knows where “he is” each moment
It becomes corrupt and attracts the soulless
It is the age old story of the prodigal son
Man longs for that which he does not have
He longs for what he believes he wants, what he deserves
Only to regret his foolishness and longs to return to his roots
The wiseman returns humbled with a new perspective
His soul longs for his first and one true love - freedom
Where can he find this freedom, but in the woods where he can roam free
In the woods, he belongs. In the woods, he becomes one with nature
In the woods, he recognizes his mortality and is at peace with it
In the woods, he realizes how small he really is, which sets him free from those who wish to enslave him
In the woods, he sees and hears God
From Rush Limbaugh.com
I don’t know what you were taught about Thanksgiving, but I was taught a version that goes like this: The Pilgrims showed up, and they were incompetents. They were well-intentioned good-hearted people but incompetent, and they didn’t know how to do anything. They were stumbling and bumbling around in a foreign place, had no idea even where they were.
And as they’re on the verge of starvation, the Indians stumbled upon ’em — across them — and showed them how to basically live, gave them everything, showed them how to grow crops and kill turkey and build tepees and stuff, and so the Pilgrims survived, and we were giving thanks, that Thanksgiving is to acknowledge the Indians’ role in saving the first Pilgrims. Now, it’s a quaint story, and it has attached itself to a number of people, but it is nothing to do…
Well, I can’t say that it’s nothing to do, but it is very far removed from what the first Thanksgiving is really about. Thanksgiving. George Washington first proclaimed it, Thanksgiving. Well, who was thanking who for what? That’s the root of the error. The root of it is that the Pilgrims must have been giving thanks to the Indians for saving them. That’s not what the Pilgrims were thankful for, as you will soon hear.
“The story of the Pilgrims begins in the early part of the seventeenth century (that’s the 1600s for those of you in Rio Linda, California). The Church of England under King James I was persecuting anyone and everyone who did not recognize its absolute civil and spiritual authority.” The first Pilgrims were Christian rebels, folks. “Those who challenged [King James’] ecclesiastical authority and those who believed strongly in freedom of worship were hunted down, imprisoned, and sometimes executed for their beliefs” in England in the 1600s.
“A group of separatists,” Christians who didn’t want to buy into the Church of England or live under the rule of King James, “first fled to Holland and established a community” of themselves there. “After eleven years, about forty of them” having heard about this New World Christopher Columbus had discovered, decided to go. Forty of them “agreed to make a perilous journey to the New World, where [they knew] they would certainly face hardships, but” the reason they did it was so they “could live and worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences” and beliefs.
“On August 1, 1620, the Mayflower set sail. It carried a total of 102 passengers, including forty Pilgrims,” now known as Pilgrims, “led by William Bradford. On the journey, Bradford set up an agreement, a contract, that established” how they would live once they got there. The contract set forth “just and equal laws for all members of the new community, irrespective of their religious beliefs,” or political beliefs. “Where did the revolutionary ideas expressed in the Mayflower Compact come from? From the Bible.
The Pilgrims were a “devoutly religious people completely steeped in the lessons of the Old and New Testaments. They looked to the ancient Israelites for their example. And, because of the biblical precedents set forth in Scripture, they never doubted that their experiment would work.” They believed in God. They believed they were in the hands of God. As you know, “this was no pleasure cruise, friends. The journey” to the New World on the tiny, by today’s standards, sailing ship. It was long, it was arduous.
There was sickness, there was seasickness, it was wet. It was the opposite of anything you think of today as a cruise today on the open ocean. When they “landed in New England in November, they found, according to Bradford’s detailed journal, a cold, barren, desolate wilderness. There were no friends to greet them, he wrote. There were no houses to shelter them. There were no inns where they could refresh themselves.” There was nothing.
“[T]he sacrifice they had made for freedom was just beginning. During the first winter, half the Pilgrims — including Bradford’s own wife — died of either starvation, sickness or exposure.” They endured that first winter. “When spring finally came,” they had, by that time, met the indigenous people, the Indians, and indeed the “Indians taught the settlers how to plant corn, fish for cod and skin beavers” and other animals “for coats.” But there wasn’t any prosperity. “[T]hey did not yet prosper!” They were still dependent. They were still confused. They were still in a new place, essentially alone among likeminded people.
“This is important to understand because this is where modern American history lessons often end. Thanksgiving is actually explained in some textbooks as a holiday for which the Pilgrims gave thanks to the Indians for saving their lives, rather than what it really was. That happened, don’t misunderstand. That all happened, but that’s not — according to William Bradford’s journal — what they ultimately gave thanks for. “Here is the part that has been omitted: The original contract” that they made on the Mayflower as they were traveling to the New World…
They actually had to enter into that contract “with their merchant-sponsors in London,” because they had no money on their own. The needed sponsor. They found merchants in London to sponsor them. The merchants in London were making an investment, and as such, the Pilgrims agreed that “everything they produced to go into a common store,” or bank, common account, “and each member of the community was entitled to one common share” in this bank. Out of this, the merchants would be repaid until they were paid off.
“All of the land they cleared and the houses they built belong to the community as well.” Everything belonged to everybody and everybody had one share in it. They were going to distribute it equally.” That was considered to be the epitome of fairness, sharing the hardship burdens and everything like that. “Nobody owned anything. It was a commune, folks. It was the forerunner to the communes we saw in the ’60s and ’70s out in California,” and other parts of the country, “and it was complete with organic vegetables, by the way.
“Bradford, who had become the new governor of the colony, recognized that” it wasn’t working. It “was as costly and destructive…” His own journals chronicle the reasons it didn’t work. “Bradford assigned a plot of land” to fix this “to each family to work and manage,” as their own. He got rid of the whole commune structure and “assigned a plot of land to each family to work and manage,” and whatever they made, however much they made, was theirs. They could sell it, they could share it, they could keep it, whatever they wanted to do.
What really happened is they “turned loose” the power of a free market after enduring months and months of hardship — first on the Mayflower and then getting settled and then the failure of the common account from which everybody got the same share. There was no incentive for anybody to do anything. And as is human nature, some of the Pilgrims were a bunch of lazy twerps, and others busted their rear ends. But it didn’t matter because even the people that weren’t very industrious got the same as everyone else. Bradford wrote about how this just wasn’t working.
“What Bradford and his community found,” and I’m going to use basically his own words, “was that the most creative and industrious people had no incentive to work any harder than anyone else… [W]hile most of the rest of the world has been experimenting with socialism for well over a hundred years — trying to refine it, perfect it, and re-invent it — the Pilgrims decided early on,” William Bradford decided, “to scrap it permanently,” because it brought out the worst in human nature, it emphasized laziness, it created resentment.
Because in every group of people you’ve got your self-starters you’ve got your hard workers and your industrious people, and you’ve got your lazy twerps and so forth, and there was no difference at the end of the day. The resentment sprang up on both sides. So Bradford wrote about this. “‘For this community [so far as it was] was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort.
“For young men that were most able and fit for labor and service did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense,'” without any payment, “‘that was thought injustice.’ Why should you work for other people when you can’t work for yourself? What’s the point? … The Pilgrims found that people could not be expected to do their best work without incentive.
“So what did Bradford’s community try next? They unharnessed the power of good old free enterprise by invoking the undergirding capitalistic principle of private property. Every family was assigned its own plot of land to work and permitted to market its own crops and products. And what was the result? ‘This had very good success,’ wrote Bradford, ‘for it made all hands [everybody] industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been.’ …
“Is it possible that supply-side economics could have existed before the 1980s. … In no time, the Pilgrims found they had more food than they could eat themselves. Now, this is where it gets really good, folks, if you’re laboring under the misconception that I was, as I was taught in school. So they set up trading posts and exchanged goods with the Indians. The profits allowed them to pay off their debts to the merchants in London.
“And the success and prosperity of the Plymouth settlement attracted more Europeans and began what came to be known as the ‘Great Puritan Migration.'” The word of the success of the free enterprise Plymouth Colony spread like wildfire and that began the great migration. Everybody wanted a part of it. There was no mass slaughtering of the Indians. There was no wiping out of the indigenous people, and eventually — in William Bradford’s own journal — unleashing the industriousness of all hands ended up producing more than they could ever need themselves.
So trading post began selling and exchanging things with the Indians — and the Indians, by the way, were very helpful. Puritan kids had relationships with the children of the Native Americans that they found. This killing the indigenous people stuff, they’re talking about much, much, much, much later. It has nothing to do with the first thanksgiving.
The first Thanksgiving was William Bradford and Plymouth Colony thanking God for their blessings. That’s the first Thanksgiving. Nothing wrong with being grateful to the Indians; don’t misunderstand. But the true meaning of Thanksgiving — and this is what George Washington recognized in his first Thanksgiving proclamation.
Our own custom brand! We're very excited to announce that we will be making our own products along with the other products that we sell. Seeing as we're still small this operation will also be small, but we hope to grow soon and achieve our goals! The brand is called 9 Mile T-shirts. That's the road I grew up on and the brand will represent what it was like living on that road. In one word- simple. But in more words- it'll represent the days I spent playing with my brothers and feeling the mud between my toes. Or the excitement I felt whenever we'd leave the house for a day of frog catching, dirt bike riding, and tree house building. And the calm cool nights when you could see all stars in the sky but below dad was lighting the biggest bonfire I'd ever seen. It'll represent all the knowledge my father has shared and everything that has happened because of it.
I'm a cofounder of BearTraxLLC and I'm very passionate about everything we're going to accomplish.