Instructions for Tanning a Coyote Hide

by Zach Lazzari
Coyotes have soft fur, ideal for clothing and rugs.

Coyotes have soft fur, ideal for clothing and rugs.

Tanning coyote hides is a simple process, but it does require several days of dedicated work. Scraping the hide is labor intensive and several specialized materials are required. Coyote hides are moderately sized and do not carry as much grease as a raccoon or bear. The hides are thin; you must be careful not to puncture the skin while scraping. The finished hide can be used as a decorative piece in the home or as a functional piece of clothing.

Scraping and Washing

Split the bottom of the tail with a sharp knife. With the knife, scrape the flesh from the inside of the tail. Place the hide on a stable surface with the fur side down and carefully scrape the flesh away from the hide.

Place rubber gloves on your hands. Grab a handful of non-iodized salt and rub it into the hide. Continue rubbing the salt until the skin is completely covered. With a hammer, pound finishing nails through the corners of the hide into a plywood backer board. Prop the hide at an angle and allow it to dry overnight.

Fill a plastic trash can with cold water. Dunk the hide in the water and work it with your hands until the skin softens with the moisture. Place the hide back on the plywood and hammer the nails through the existing holes. Use a sharp knife to scrape flesh and fat away from the skin.

Place 3 gal. warm water in a plastic trash can with 3 oz. borax and 2 tbsp. liquid dish soap. Use a stick to soak the entire hide and remove the grease. Remove the hide and rinse with cold water until the soap and borax are removed. Hang the hide on a sawhorse and allow the water to drain from the fur and skin.

Tanning

Fill a plastic trash can with 1 gal. water, and mix with 1 lb. aluminum sulfate. Separately mix a 1/2 gal. cold water with 4 oz. washing soda and a 1/2 lb. of non-iodized salt. Pour the washing soda and salt mixture into the trash can with the aluminum sulfate. Place the skin into the mixture and leave it fully immersed for five days.

Remove the hide with rubber gloves and rinse with cold water until it is clean. Pound the finishing nails through the existing holes to secure the hide to the plywood. Prop the hide at an angle and leave it to dry for one night.

Warm tanning oil on a stove and use a soft brush to apply the oil to the skin. Allow the skin to absorb the oil and repeat the process until the skin will no longer accept oil. Leave the hide to dry for several extra days before removing the nails and using the hide.

Items you will need

  • Knife
  • Rubber gloves
  • Non-iodized salt
  • Finishing nails
  • Plywood
  • Hammer
  • Plastic trash can
  • Water
  • Borax
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Sawhorse
  • Aluminum sulfate
  • Washing soda
  • Tanning oil
  • Soft brush

Tip

  • Wash the hide in the liquid dish soap solution several times if it is greasy. Removing the grease is an important part of the tanning process.

Warnings

  • Wear rubber gloves to prevent contact with the chemical tanning solution.
  • Wear safety goggles to prevent contact with the eyes.

About the Author

Zach Lazzari is a Montana based freelance outdoor writer and photographer. You can follow his work at bustedoarlock.com.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images