Step 1: If the cape is dirty or bloody, wash cape in cold water with 1 capful of Lysol disinfectant (brown bottle) and 1/2 oz. Prowash. Rinse cape thoroughly and tumble or towel dry. Hair that is left wet may result in hair slippage.


Step 2: The lips, nose, and eyelids should be split and the ears turned. Remove as much meat as possible from the skin for better salt preparation.

Step 3: Salt the cape. Cover the entire flesh side with non-iodized salt for 24 hours. After 24 hours, shake off old salt and apply fresh salt for another 24 hours.

Step 4: Rehydrate the cape. For 1 average deer cape, use 2 gallons of cool water with 1 capful of Lysol disinfectant. Soak until the cape returns to a soft, pliable state (usually in 2 to 6 hours).

Step 5: Soak the cape in the acid (pickle) solution. For 1 average deer cape, use 2 gallons of water, 3 cups of salt and approximately 1 oz. Acid Bath Crystals.  The pH of this solution should be between 1.5 and 2. The cape should remain in this solution for a total of 24 hours. During this time, the pH of the solution should be tested. If the pH rises above 3, add more Acid Bath Crystals to lower it back down to 2.

Step 6: Shave the cape on a fleshing machine. Remove the cape from the acid bath and thin the flesh side of the skin to an even thickness throughout. Place the shaved cape back into the pickle for an additional 3 hours.

Step 7: To neutralize the cape, first remove the cape from the pickle and drain. Mix 1 oz. of baking soda per gallon of water and allow the skin to soak in this solution for 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the thickness of the skin.

Step 8: Remove from the neutralization solution and briefly rinse the hair in cool water. Damp dry the skin by towel drying, spinning dry or using compressed air.

Step 9: Weigh the skin. For each 1 lb. of skin add 1 dry weight ounce of Lutan FN and 1 cup of salt per 3 quarts of room temperature water (70  to 80). The pH of the tanning (Lutan FN) solution should be between 3 .5 and 4. Maintain the pH by adding small amounts of acid to lower it or baking soda to raise it.

Step 10: Allow the skin to soak for 24 hours for coyotes, foxes, etc. Deer, moose and elk require 48 hours. Move the skin occasionally to ensure contact with the tan.

Step 11: Remove the skin and rinse briefly (just enough to remove the salt), towel dry, spin dry or hang up and allow the skin to drain.

Step 12: Oil the tanned skin with Ultra Soft or Liqua Soft. For best penetration, shake well and warm oil to 90 to 100 F before applying to the skin. Apply an even coat of Ultra Soft or Liqua Soft to the flesh side. Particular attention should be given to the head areas, including ear butts, nose and eyes, where the oil should be applied to both sides.

Step 13: Allow the oil to penetrate for 2 to 3 hours. Some oil will "puddle" on the surface of the skin. Rub any excess oil into the hide.

Step 14: Wipe off any oil that still puddles, then hang the skin on a drying rack for 2 or 3 days. The drying time will vary according to temperature, humidity and the thickness of the skin. The skin will turn white when it has completely dried.

Step 15: After the skin has dried, tumble or drum the skin in sawdust for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Midway through the drumming period, turn all parts of the skin hair side out to be sure all the hair or fur is cleaned and fluffed. Brush any tangles and blow out all the sawdust with compressed air.

Step 16: Rehydrate the skin for mounting. Use enough water to fully cover the skin. Add 1 cup of salt per 5 gallons of water and soak the skin overnight.


Step 17: Remove the skin from the solution and  remove as much water as possible either by spinning dry or hanging to drain. The skin is now ready to mount.