The method I've seen more than any other is salting. The cooled hide is
placed flesh side up and covered evenly with salt. After a day or so it helps to
place the salted hide on a slight angle to drain off fluids. Use as much salt as
is necessary to cure the hide - about one-half the weight of the hide in salt
should do. Keep the hide in a cool dry place out of the sun. One of the
disadvantages of this method is a possible fungal growth. on the salted surface
that will discolor the hide. Also, dogs and insects aren't deterred by salt.
Some Native Americans air-dried their hides by tying them around a tree with
the hair side out. The air drying method is best accomplished on a clean hide.
After soaking, the fat and flesh are readily removed. Then tack it up to a shed
or barn wall that will be cool, dry, and out of the sun. For the first two days
hang hair side out, then turn it over. I've been told that air drying for
approximately two months is beneficial. Tack it up high enough that dogs can't
reach it and keep an eye out for the insects.
Another method is to use Borax. Taxidermists use it a great deal. Borax is a
soap so it helps break down fat and will guard against grease burn. Just spread
it on dry and rub it in. Insects and most dogs stay away.
From The Tracker magazine, Summer 1983,
published by the Tracker School.
For more articles from The Tracker magazine, visit the
Tracker Trail website.