Deer season is now over and with any luck you have filled a deer tag or two. A few venison dishes have been enjoyed, deer camp has been cleaned, waiting till next fall for the fun to begin all over again. However, you probably have a few deer hides you do not know what to do with. Sure you can take them to the back 40 and let the coyotes have their way. Or, you can utilize the hides any many different ways. Lets explore the options you have.
Whitetail hides make exceptional leather garments especially gloves and coats. There are many companies in the United States that will trade gloves for your deer hides. One of the biggest in the country is North American Trading in Wisconsin (715-695-3533). If you would rather not have a new pair of gloves they will also purchase your deer hides. Give them a call for more details.
Not in the mood for gloves? How about a nice wall decoration? Most taxidermists can tan a deer hide at a minimal cost. A soft, tanned deer hide looks beautiful hung on the wall. A couple of years ago I shot a nice buck and had the head mounted and the hide tanned. I hung the hide on the wall and directly above the hide I placed the mounted buck . I have received countless comments on how nice this looks. If your taxidermist does not want to bother with tanning the hide, which some do because they are busy with more profitable projects, there are several tanneries that will do it for you at a reasonable rate. In the past I have used Moyle Mink and Tannery with great results (208-678-8481; www.moyle.net).
For the do it yourself person you can still come out with a nice tanned hide. Just do not expect the softness you would get if it was done by a professional. This past fall I purchased a bottle of Deer Hunter’s & Trapper’s Hide Tanning Formula for $8.00. This one bottle is enough to tan one deer hide and is easy to use. I imagine you have seen these little orange bottles in your favorite sportsman’s catalog trapping supply house or outdoor shop. In about four days you will have a hide ready to display. Not only will this product tan deer hides, but I also used it to nicely tan a bobcat and red fox this past winter and still have a half of bottle left.
A word of caution. I do not recommend using a tanned deer hide as a floor rug. It does take long before the hair begins to fall out after being walked on.
It is possible to even make a profit on your deer hides. Many local fur buyers purchase deer hides. Contact your fur buyer to see how they would like it prepared. Many would just like them salted, rolled and frozen, but check first.
There are many companies who purchase deer hides to tan and later sell at their store or on the internet. Without a doubt one of the biggest in the country is Moscow Hide and Fur located in Idaho. They pay top rates of any company I have worked with and a whole lot more than your local buyer. The only thing is that they may be a little more picky than others. This is because they are a reputable company.
For example, my local buyer pays $5.00 for a frozen deer hide. Moscow Hide and Fur will pay $25.00 for a large hide that is at least 55-inches long and $15.00 for a small hide that is only 45-inches long. However, they want the hides they purchase to be fleshed. Go to their website www.furbuyer.com for more information.
Groenewold Fur & Wool Co. travel the Midwest stopping at many locations buying all types of fur including deer hides. They will grade your skins and hides on the spot and give you a check immediately. This company normally pays more than a local buyer, but less than Moscow Hide and Fur. However, Groenwold does require that the hide be fleshed, there are no shipping fees and you are paid on the spot. Go to their website, www.gfwco.com or call 815-935-2381 for more information and the routes they have scheduled this spring.
No matter the route you take with your deer hides, rather to sell them, have them tanned or trade them for gloves always make sure you have your deer permit and hunting license available. It will be very difficult to do anything without these two documents.
Coon Creek Outdoors has a good video on preparing a deer hide for tanning if you want to tackle the job.