10 replies [Last post]
Location: c springs
Joined: 11/10/2008
Posts: 5
Elk Tanning

Hey everyone....
Just bagged my first elk on Monday. Beautiful cow. I'd like to commemorate the hunt by making a nice rug out of the hide. Any suggestions or tips would be appreciated. I live in Colorado Springs, any recommendations on a local Tannery?



elk.jpg116.66 KB
Ca_Vermonster's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!Moderator
Location: San Diego, CA
Joined: 07/27/2007
Posts: 5813
Don't live in the area, so I

Don't live in the area, so I can't recommend any shops.  However, congratulations on a great cow!  Looks like you'll have plenty of fine eating..... Thumbs up

Location: c springs
Joined: 11/10/2008
Posts: 5
Thank you..it was an

Thank you..it was an incredible hunt and i was really blessed to have it all "come together".

Critter's picture
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Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 4413
Any taxidermest should be

Any taxidermest should be able to take care of it for you.  They usually send it out and charge you a small handling fee.

Location: Denver
Joined: 10/16/2009
Posts: 70
Rocky Mountain Tanners

Congraaaats on the cow! I drove past this place on S Broadway in Denver/Englewood yesterday and remembered your post. I imagine they do much of the work for the taxidermists in the area. http://tanhides.com

numbnutz's picture
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Location: portland,oregon
Joined: 09/06/2007
Posts: 3058
Hey Hey, congrats on the

Hey Hey, congrats on the great looking cow. it nice to have a hunt to come full circle. good luck on the hide, I'm sure it will look great.

hawkeye270's picture
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Location: Fort Collins, CO
Joined: 06/15/2008
Posts: 1862
Congratulations on your

Congratulations on your success! She looks like a big old girl. I bet you got a lot of meat off of that cow. Her hide looks pretty good too and it should turn out pretty good. Critter is right... if you want to pay to get it done just take it to a taxidermist and they will send it off to their tannery. I think I have even heard of one not charging the guy since he had to make a run to the tannery that day anyway. You should think about doing it yourself though. It was not hard and I have done it using two methods. I tanned my first deer using the lakota sioux method of brain tanning the hide. You boil the brains and rub the paste onto the hide and it preserves it. You can also buy tanning kits that use chemicals and I have used this method is easy too. It just adds to the satisfaction of doing everything for yourself. You can pick up a good book on the topic to. When I get home I will look up its name and pass it on to you.

Did you salt it well and keep it dry? That really is the main thing to keep it workable. You don't want that great hair slipping on it.

CVC's picture
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Location: Kansas
Joined: 03/04/2006
Posts: 3579
I got curious so I googled

I got curious so I googled elk tanning and there are lots of services where you can ship the hide to them.  here is a link for one  http://tanhides.com/?gclid=CMK_sJy5lKUCFUcKKgodFTywNg

groovy mike's picture
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Joined: 03/19/2009
Posts: 2544
Check the tips section of BGH

Check the tips section of BGH, I just submitted a tip with my home hide tanning process.

arrowflipper's picture
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Joined: 01/03/2011
Posts: 578

Congrats on a great looking cow.  There's some mighty good eating laying there.

Tanning your own hide can be rewarding but also a ton of work.  I've done it with hair on but I wouldn't say it turned out all that great.  Never did get it very soft.  But it made a good rug on my son's bedroom floor for a while and also I used it to display hunting gear on.  If you're set on doing it yourself, pick up a book or instructions and buy the right chemicals. 

The best thing is to have it done professionally.  The cost of this has really gone up but the end product is very nice.  You will often have your choice of a rich looking tan or white finish.  The white is more authentic.  I have a friend that wrote the book "Mountainman Crafts and Skills" and he did a lot of brain tanning.  The leather turned out white and was great looking.  If you ever see his book with his picture on the cover, he's wearing a brain-tanned buckskin coat trimmed with beaver.  Extremely good looking.  I now own that coat.

Depending on what you want to do with the finished product, hair off is the best.  With hair on is not much more than something to look at. 

Good luck with whatever you do.  By the way, some tanneries will trade you a pair of buckskin gloves for a raw hide sometimes.  A big elk hide is very beautiful on the wall though.

buffybr's picture
Location: Montana, USA
Joined: 11/15/2007
Posts: 358
Elk tanning

A late comment to your original post, but congratulations on your first elk, and I hope you got your cow hide tanned ok.

Way back when I lived in Colorado, Joe Jonas Taxidermy was doing a special of tanning any elk hide hair on for $35.  He kept that special for several years, and I had them do my elk hides each of those years. 

I still have the hide of one big 6 pt bull on one wall of my reloading room.  When I first moved to where I now live, I had a guy out to shoe my horses.  When he finished, I invited him in for a cold drink and to pay him.  He saw that elk hide on my wall and commented on how it was a fine grizzly hide.  He did however, do a good job of shoeing my horses.

When I lived in NW Montana, one year I decided to tan myself a black bear that I had shot.  I took the time and effort to carefully flesh the hide and feet, turn the ears and lips, and salted it.  I bought a home tanning kit from the Tandy Leather store in Kalispell.  My finished hide had blue leather, and the hair on the face and parts of the back slipped.  That was my last try at home tanning.

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