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Bear Skin Shrinkage
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I shot a really nice Grizzly this spring in Alaska. I hate measuring an animal as an indication of the success of a hunt, so I didn't measure it. The guide knew I was happy with the hunt, so he really didn't have to embellish the size of the bear. He said it was pushing 8 feet, but for sure over 7 1/2. I guess I should have measured it.
I had the skin tanned in Alaska. I thought that would be easier for me, since I live in Kentucky. I got the hide back on Monday and it squares about 5 1/2 feet. It looks like the same coloration. Will they shrink that much when tanned? I'd hope to have a life size mount made, will the hide stretch when they put it on the form? I think I did lots of dumb things on this one. Lesson learned. Thanks for your help.
 
Posts: 150 | Registered: 15 February 2006Reply With Quote
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Bears shrink when tanned. Kill it and the guide says 8ft. Measure it accurately after its skinned and fleshed and not over stretched and it squares 7ft. Salt it and it shrinks to 6ft. Tan it and it'll be near 6 ft. depending on the tannery. In your case, with no HONEST measurements, it's probably really your bear if the color is close. Rehydrate after tanning and they get bigger. Most guides exaggerate wildly. Just my humble opinion.
 
Posts: 56 | Location: Idaho | Registered: 11 October 2010Reply With Quote
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Send it to Artistry of Wildlife; Dennis Harris. He will get every inch of its original size when mounted. He did mine and it turned out fantastic.


His website is ; http://www.artistryofwildlife.com
 
Posts: 89 | Location: Mishawaka, In. | Registered: 22 August 2010Reply With Quote
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Bears do look smaller when tanned and mounted up than when dead. The guides make the bear size bigger so there tip is bigger. I took a bear in Maine at dusk ,thought it was good size when we found it after dark, the first thing I said was "where is the rest of him ".
 
Posts: 137 | Registered: 06 February 2010Reply With Quote
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Thanks for the feedback. You are right, they always shrink, and I'm not trying to stretch a 6 foot bear into an 8 foot bear. It just looks really small compared to the video and pictures I have of it. Again, it was stupid not measuring it.
 
Posts: 150 | Registered: 15 February 2006Reply With Quote
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TRL,

What Grumpa said was on the money. I shot a brown bear years ago. My first any kind of bear. We measured it at around 9 feet green. When I rec'd it back from tanning I was shocked. It looked like a small interior grizzly hide. With the help of a guy that was previously a taxidermist we mounted it in my basement. When the process of wetting and stretching was finished we had an 8'4" rug. I think you got your bear. My current taxidermist that I've used for 20+ years says on average that a bear's finished hide will square just about a foot less than the green hide.

Mark


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Posts: 11680 | Location: LAS VEGAS, NV USA | Registered: 04 August 2002Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by Ricardo C:
Bears do look smaller when tanned and mounted up than when dead. The guides make the bear size bigger so there tip is bigger. I took a bear in Maine at dusk ,thought it was good size when we found it after dark, the first thing I said was "where is the rest of him ".


lol that cracked me up!


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Hunting: I'd kill to participate.
 
Posts: 2876 | Location: Boston, MA | Registered: 04 January 2005Reply With Quote
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Thanks. This has really been helpful. I understand a little more about what to expect.
 
Posts: 150 | Registered: 15 February 2006Reply With Quote
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I love that grizzly mount----nice!



quote:
Originally posted by SCHALL53:
Send it to Artistry of Wildlife; Dennis Harris. He will get every inch of its original size when mounted. He did mine and it turned out fantastic.


His website is ; http://www.artistryofwildlife.com
 
Posts: 520 | Location: Colorado | Registered: 09 June 2002Reply With Quote
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Thanks Bob
 
Posts: 89 | Location: Mishawaka, In. | Registered: 22 August 2010Reply With Quote
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So that means your 5 ft bear looks like a throw rug when it is just tanned.

Saw a young girl shoot a young black bear that wasn’t more than 2 1/2 ft long stretched out.

That must have made a nice dolly when tanned.

BH63


Hunting buff is better than sex!
 
Posts: 2205 | Registered: 29 December 2015Reply With Quote
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If the hide was 2 1/2’ green, she didn’t shoot a young bear- she shot a 5-6 month old cub. It guess it would make a nice teddy bear.
 
Posts: 8737 | Location: Georgia | Registered: 28 October 2006Reply With Quote
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I didn’t see the skinned hide, just the dead bear. I certainly wouldn’t shoot one anywhere near that small.
The girl was only about 16 and had never seen a bear in the wild.

BH63


Hunting buff is better than sex!
 
Posts: 2205 | Registered: 29 December 2015Reply With Quote
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I imagine it would be illegal.
 
Posts: 8737 | Location: Georgia | Registered: 28 October 2006Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by Colorado Bob:
I love that grizzly mount----nice!



quote:
Originally posted by SCHALL53:
Send it to Artistry of Wildlife; Dennis Harris. He will get every inch of its original size when mounted. He did mine and it turned out fantastic.


His website is ; http://www.artistryofwildlife.com


Sorry Guys, the real thing. Big Grin It's just not there.



Grizz


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Posts: 484 | Location: Central Alberta, Canada | Registered: 20 July 2019Reply With Quote
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Another point after the skin is tanned it shrinks, when they re hydrate the hide if they they attempt to stretch for length they lose width, so the re stretching is a compromise to how much length to width. Now the forms are standard made, so after stretching measurements are taken they then go to the form provider to find one that will work, common sense the form has to be smaller other wise the hide won't fit. The hide will shrink when it dries on the form and it is better to have extra hide than not enough. The problem is there are very many forms so depending on your measurement you may be surprised as I was when I picked up my full mount but I got over it and it is a pleasure to show it off


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Posts: 2118 | Location: Monee, Ill. USA | Registered: 11 April 2001Reply With Quote
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Here is a thought. The next time you go on a $10,000 or more Bear hunt go to Home Depot and purchase a tape measure ($15.00 tops)then if your successful measure the carcass not the hide. You will have exact size of your bear.
Problem solved.


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Posts: 196 | Location: Minneapolis Minnesota | Registered: 01 September 2010Reply With Quote
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No, a tape won't solve anything and just frustrate you even more. You get a nice coastal brown on his back and start whacking him up. You'll find that the carcass is way smaller than the hide you took off of him. Bears lose and gain 30% of their weight during the year. Bear skin is extremely thin compared to what one might think and a "green" bear hide off an 8 foot bear can conceivably be a "10 foot square" (few people know what "squared" means anyway). I've done a few bears in over 60 years and I know that from doing my own bears, with a bit of patience, a skin will fit a form the size of the bear you killed. I learned from some OLD pro's like Tom Ray who told me that if the hide didn't fit the legs (the usual place they don't) or the belly, simply sew them up with 4 inch stitches, cover the seam with a wet towel and wrap in plastic overnight. Next day, come in and restitch the hide with 2 inch stitches and repeat. By the third day, the hide will have "grown" back to its original size. All tanned skins shrink, in fact, we depend on that so the hide can be shaved thinner and stretch more when rehydrated. if your CARCASS measurements were taken and a form that size was ordered, your skin will fit. If a form that size isn't available, well, that's what you pay the taxidermist big money for. A good one won't have a problem.


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Posts: 827 | Location: Magnolia Delaware | Registered: 02 December 2006Reply With Quote
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