I’m Gonna Tan y’r Hide…

Okay.  Maybe not *your* hide.  But definitely *A* hide.

LLM shot himself a lovely four-point whitetail buck on Saturday morning.  We were only out in the hills for maybe an hour and a half when the shot rang out.  We have a little reclaimed and gated logging road that we termed “The Grouse Road” because it’s where I shot my first grouse this fall.  My first grouse ever.  🙂  My only grouse.  But we’ve gone back in there several times hunting because we’ve seen both elk and deer milling about, not to mention a stray mountain lion and some turkeys and more grouse.  Plus there are never any people there for some reason.  So it’s become our little hidey-hunty-hole, and it proved to be profitable once again.

So after dragging the poor devil through the woods, through a draw and back to the used-to-be-road, hauling him a mile or so back up to the top via game-cart, we got him home and hung in the woodshed.  I asked LLM early in the season if I could try tanning a hide when he got a deer or an elk this year.  He used to do it when he was a kid, and has a chest full of old bison and elk hides, and he was more than happy to let me have a try.  So yesterday afternoon he set me up with a log propped up, an old apron that he used to use back in his trapping days, and an antique drawing knife that he pulled out of a wooden box on the porch.  It took me about an hour and a half, but I got the hide pretty clean.  So step one is complete.  He said when he got home from hunting today he would get any left over meat or fat that might be left on it, then would salt it up for me.  I have to order some tanning solution from Cabela’s – but I don’t think it’ll be here in time for the weekend.  He might see if a friend of his, who’s a taxidermist down the Bitterroot, has some extra to spare that we can pick up on Thursday when we’re down that way making the visiting-rounds.

I’m excited to be learning something new.  Plus, I think this could be a pretty useful skill to have.  So far this autumn I’ve learned how to field dress a bird, gut an antelope and a deer, skin ’em, butcher ’em, and now I’m learning to tan them.  Hunting, and everything that goes along with it, is something I’ve never done before.  Every part of it is a new skill to my arsenal of know-how.  And quite frankly, I’m loving it!  Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks!

Of course, I still haven’t gotten my turkey.  So it looks like a Hutterite turkey for Thanksgiving again this year.  But that’s okay – if I don’t get one this year, I’ll make sure to get one next hunting season.


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