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Tanned a B zone Bear hide

My friend arrowed a small bear and did not want the skin. I was very busy butchering my deer when he arrived at my place telling his story and asking if I wanted the hide since he was living in a high rise condo in Albany Ca. I really did not want it but I also didn't want to waste it. So I was the new owner of a wet skin. I decided to rub the wet skin with 20 Mule Team borax power. I let it dry and then washed it my washing machine also with borax hand cleaning powder. I let it dry rubbing in more borax and scraped it. Before it dried I nailed it to my garage door (inside) to dry. The pelt turned out beautifully and I asked my friend if he wanted it now. I don't think a lot of folks have tanned a hide but this one turned out well.


Well-known member
I always wondered how to tan a bear hide. Sounds fairly simple. Cool looking color and thank you for sharing


Well-known member
With Borax? So... I'm assuming you fleshed it... and Salted it first... yes? To stop "slippage" of the hairs falling out?

Out of curiosity... after doing that Borax route... do you still have to "Break" the hide? (Meaning, it is now in a stiff ridgid state and must now be "Broken in" thru wetting and stretching, and pulling with a handhold on either side rubbing the skin side over a post to work-in and breakdown the collagen in the hide to make it soft and pliable, sometimes people apply Neets Foot Oil to the skin side during this process)

PS... if it was a small Bear, oh my goodness... my dogs would LOVE to snuggle up in that to sleep in right about now! :)


Well-known member
Many bifferent ways to Tan
Rub the Brains on it
Urinate on it
soak it in a lite mix of Battery acid and water
This will keep the hair from Falling out, Then work the hide with a lanalom cream to soften

But never heard of the boraxo treatment ?
Thanks for your replies. I rubbed the borax power in the wet skin after scraping the scraps of tissue that was attached. I let it dry then I washed in also in the borax hand soap in the cold cycle and this way the borax could really work into the hide from both sides. The blood came off and I repeated rubbing the borax into hide let i dr and washed whole thing again. I then tacked to the inside of the wooden garage door and let it dry stretched out. I then went back after it dried and took a needle nose and pulled off any remaining tissue. The hide was stiff but I loosened up by working it on the handle of a baseball bat by pulling down on the hide to stretch it. The hair is beautiful and is solid not pulling. If you got is soaking wet again you would have to loosen I up again. My friend was very happy with the results. He is going to hang it on the wall of his home.


Well-known member
Looks like you did a good job, and for you to offer it back to him was really cool.
A couple years back we killed a beautiful blond phase bear with a great coat.
There were six of us and the bear died on a big flat rock next to a flowing mountain spring.
We quartered the bear and caped the animal out on the spot. Took about an hour.
When we got back to camp we laid the hide out on the table and everyone began to scrape away at the fat over a few beers. The hide came out fantastic, Johns wife says it's her "nicest piece of furniture" lol.
Great conversation piece and just another trophy for the cave.
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