How Long Will an Animal Skin Keep in a Freezer Before Tanning?


Even those who live in condos or urban high-rise apartments sometimes like to dabble in primitive skills. Animal skin tanning is one of the most basic. It's an arduous process, although the modern convenience of the deep freezer takes some of the urgency out of it.

Time Frame

  • Properly prepped and stored, an animal skin will last at least a month in the deep freezer, according to "The Encyclopedia of Country Living" by Carla Emery. You then can thaw it and take it to a taxidermist or begin the process of tanning it yourself.


  • Prepping the skin before freezing is of utmost importance. Skin the animal as quickly as possible. Remove as much flesh and blood from the skin as you can. Lay the skin flat or hang it to cool thoroughly. If you are field-dressing an animal while hunting in the late fall or winter, lay the skin on the frozen ground or snow to cool.

Before Freezing

  • Fold the skin, pressing to remove air pockets. Place in a heavy-duty plastic bag and place in a deep freezer, one that keeps contents at 0 degrees. The small freezer at the top of your refrigerator is not the best place for animal skins.

Other Considerations

  • Salting is an important step in many tanning processes, but do not salt the skin before putting it in the freezer. Salt will prevent freezing and promote bacteria growth.


  • "The Encyclopedia of Country Living"; Carla Emery; 2003
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