Why freeze hides?

George Ricks freezes most of his hides during the winter hunting season, saving them to tan during the summer when the weather is better.

Not every hunter has the luxury of hunting as often as Ricks, so they pick up a hide here and a hide there.

Freezing allows them to stockpile them for tanning.

But the main reason to freeze hides is to preserve their quality. Bacterial growth will cause the hair on a hide to fall out (aka “slipping”).

According to Ricks, bacteria double their numbers every 20 minutes. The fastest way to prevent slipping is to freeze the hide immediately after skinning.

To freeze your hides, fold the pelt over on itself lengthwise so the fleshy side touches the other half’s fleshy side.

Then fold the tail across the lower end of the hide and roll the pelt up on the tail. The nose is the last thing in the roll.

Put the rolled hide in a plastic shopping bag (one per bag) to protect it and keep it separate from other hides or items in the freezer.

To thaw the hide, simply hang its nose from a hook. As it thaws, it unrolls.

About Jerald Horst 959 Articles
Jerald Horst is a retired Louisiana State University professor of fisheries. He is an active writer, book author and outdoorsman.