This article is meant as a basic guide to fleshing and salting a skin. As a general rule you should always take the skin to your taxidermist and have them perform this process however if you are in the field and do not have a freezer available or if you are an industrious person then this article is perfect for you. Once you have fleshed, salted, and dried the hide you can then send to Wildlife Gallery Tannery and they will finish out the tanning process.
All photos in this blog post were taken by Jonathan Chapman Photography
1. First step is to get a beautiful skin. Axis are excellent specimens and are plentiful around Austin and the Texas Hill Country.
2. Take the hide and place it hair down on the fleshing beam. Begin fleshing at the tail. Using a sharp knife or blade remove all the excess tissue from the skin. In general the hide is thicker around the neck and back areas and becomes thinner toward the belly area.
3. Lay the hide hair down on a flat surface and cover generously with a finely ground feed salt which can be found at most feed stores. Place the skin in a sunny place. Re-salt after 24 hours. I like to lay on a wide grid metal fence so that air can flow on all sides of the skin
4. After you have salted it two times it should begin to stiffen. Fold the skin before it become too stiff and place in the box you will ship to the tanner. Do not cover in plastic because this will trap moisture in the skin and could cause hair to fall out.
5. After you send the skin to the tanner give them 100-120 days to get back to you. If all else fails take the skin to your local taxidermist and see if they can salvage it.
Happy Hunting from David Williamson