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Some trappers keep the furs they catch to make hats, muffs, or other clothing. Before pelts can be used for this purpose, they must be tanned to prevent decay. A professional tanner or taxidermist can be hired to do the job. Or the trapper can do the tanning at home.

  • Tanning converts animal skin to leather. (Skins can be tanned with or without removing the fur.) During the process, a tanning agent is applied to the skin. This agent replaces the water in the hide, blends into the fibers, and fuses them together. Home tanning techniques vary, but the basic steps are as follows.
    • Remove all surplus tissue, flesh, and fat.
    • Degrease the skin.
    • Soak the skin in a tanning solution.
    • Dry, oil, and finish the skin.
  • Tanning can be somewhat risky, especially for the beginner.
  • Each pelt may react differently from others in the same lot. It is a good idea for the beginner to practice on a few low-value furs to learn the tanning process.
  • Some tanning materials are dangerous. An adult should supervise any youngster tanning skins.
Raccoon skin cap, belt