Brain Tanning Animal Hides (Native Tan) - April 29 to May 1 - Nature AliveCourses

Brain Tanning Animal Hides (Native Tan) - April 29 to May 1

Regular price $200.00 Sale

Workshop Fee = $200 + GST per person

Purchase Hide Option = $35 per person

Accommodations (tent or RV) = $35 per night

Minimum Participants 8        Maximum 12

This popular and  interactive workshop will provide participants with the entire process required to take an animal hide from freshly skinned, to soft tanned, using the dry scrape and Native tan methods.

Friday afternoon/evening we cover fleshing, dry scrape hair removal, and lashing to a frame.

Saturday and Sunday covers Native tanning (Brains and/or Lecithin) and smoking hides to completion.

Native Tan is one of the oldest methods of tanning hides.   We will be using “animal brains (or lecithin)” to tan the hide followed by smoking the hide to “set the tan” creating true buckskin leather on the inside of the hide.   

This is still considered one of the softest and most durable tanning methods even in our modern times.

This workshop is a hands-on student participation from start to finish.

Friday Afternoon/Evening (4 pm start)

  • Participation in fleshing a Deer hide
  • Lacing Deer hides onto frames for drying and de-hairing
  • Dry scrape a framed Deer hide
  • Discuss other methods of hide preparations
  • NOTE:  the group will work together on a few Deer hides to learn the process.  These hides will not be used for the tanning on Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday Morning

  • Handing out hides to Participants:  Each 1 or 2 participants will receive one of the following hides to work on:  Fox, Fisher, or young Coyote.  NOTE:  Experience shows that participants have the greatest success in completely tanning a hide using smaller animals to learn the process.  It is recommended that 1 or 2 people work together on a hide to ensure the best results.  However, it is possible for a single participant to be successful as long as they are diligent and efficient with the physical work to be completed on Saturday and Sunday.
  • Preparing the hides by removing membrane etc., with some general guidelines to making ready the hides
  • Discussion and demonstration on the safe handling of raw materials used in the process showing how to heat and prepare the tanning solution
  • Working the solution into the hides
  • Explanation of equipment and natural material options to prepare for the next step

Saturday Afternoon

  • Working the hides until tanned
  • Hanging and drying the tanned hides overnight


  • Gathering the wood and materials needed to smoke the hides
  • Setting it all up and smoking the hides.
  • Finally, some discussion, tips and demo’s on sewing and working or crafting with tanned furs

Tanned Hide Fee - There will be an option for participants to purchase their completed (tanned and smoked) hide at the end of the course for $35.  In order for tanned animal hides to be sold in Alberta, this fee is mandatory.  There is no charge for the hide if you do not decide to keep it and take it home.

Accommodations - Camping is available for tents and RV's for $35/night.  Or you can choose to stay off site if you wish. Fees to be paid on site

Location - Nature Alive Adventure Center is located 2 hours NW of Edmonton, near the Hamlet of Fort Assiniboine.  Directions will be sent out upon registration.

About Ross Hinter - Instructor

I am the Public and Trapper Education Coordinator for the Alberta Trappers Association. I have been teaching as a trapping instructor for 26 years and have traveled throughout Alberta and B.C. dealing with human and wildlife conflicts as a wildlife control expert.

I served on the Board of Directors for the Association for 8 years as Vice President and continue to work with Government and Industry on behalf of Alberta trappers.

My involvement with the Junior Forest Wardens, Environmental Groups, Wildlife Biologists, U of A Environmental Sciences, Trap Research & Development, Fur Institute of Canada and others, have all contributed to a reputation as an ambassador for the sustainable use of wildlife resources.

I have a passion to explain concepts such as habitat, carrying capacity of the land and examining the predator-prey relationships. I am passionate about dispelling the myths of wildlife habitat that is vital to the conservation of our country.

I spent a great amount of time with the Shushwap and Okanagan First Nations people, learning great insights and gaining a great love and respect for the land.

I offer my expertise in Bushcraft skills such as winter wilderness skills, arrow making, traditional Native tanning, primitive weaponry, talking sticks, rawhide, and other aspects of bush living.

Together with my wife Deborah, we also operate, North Trapping and Bushcraft, teaching trapping, traditional hide tanning, and other bush craft living and wilderness workshops. 

Video:  Smoke Tanning Hides with Ross Hinter

Welcome to North Trapping & Bushcraft with Ross Hinter - YouTube