Kansas City, MO- A harvested deer can yield more than game and antlers. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) offers classes in December on tanning deer hides and classes in February on making heel balm and candles from deer tallow. The free classes will be held in the Kansas City and Northwest MDC regions, plus a class in Waynesville in the Ozark region. Bow and firearm deer hunters are encouraged to save hides and tallow to participate in lessons.
To make deer rawhide, hunters must scrape the meat from the hides, place them in an airtight bag, and freeze them until class time. MDC will also have tools and demo skins in various stages of conversion to rawhide. Instructions for soaking and preparing your skin for class will be emailed to attendees prior to class. Hides must be accompanied by a valid Retention ID or Telecheck confirmation number.
Participants should wear old clothes and bring a rubber apron if they have one. A heavy trash bag can be used instead of an apron. MDC will have knives and fleshing beams available for use during the program, and participants can bring their own tools. The participant will take home plans to construct a simple beam and structural frame. Participants will need to purchase a fleshing knife and other simple materials to complete and stretch the hides at home.
For deer tallow classes, participants must bring frozen fat from slaughtered deer. MDC will have grease available to demonstrate the techniques. The class will work with hard, waxy fat from the deer’s back and loins. The soft fat around the meat will not be used. Wearing old clothes, rubber gloves and a washable apron is advised. Participants will take home finished samples of heel balm, a candle and a fire starter.
Registration is compulsory for the courses. Security measures related to COVID-19 will be respected.
Rawhide times, dates and locations:
Tallow Processing Class Times, Dates and Locations:
For course information, contact MDC Conservation Educator Ginger Miller at 660-885-8179 or [email protected]