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Deer and Elk Leather Information

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We have found that the best way to provide high quality leather to you is by buying high quality raw hides. The majority of our leathers are mule deer and elk from the Rocky Mountains. Each year we purchase about 4,000 deer and 1,000 elk hides. Most of these hides come from commercial meat processing plants where the hides are pulled off, so there are no knife cuts to weaken the hide. The hides are then tanned by one of the best tanneries in the United States. All of the leather is then shaved and dyed to our specifications to ensure uniform thickness and color. We carry deer and elk in smoke, gold, dark brown, whisky, and black colors. Deer skins average 10 to 12 square feet. An exceptionally large deer will run 14 square feet or more. Each hide is measured by the tannery and the size is stamped or written on each piece. We do not cut the hides but we have such a large selection we can usually find the size piece you need. Whole elk average 24 to 25 square feet. Large elk will run 26 to 28 square feet with a few extra large hides squaring around 30 feet. A small elk will square around 20 to 22 feet. Elk halves average 10 to 15 square feet. We have elk in both garment weight and moccasin weight. Please specify. The thickness of leather is referred to as its weight in ounces. One ounce of leather roughly equals 1/64th of an inch. Garment weight elk run 3 1/2 to 4 ounces and the moccasin or heavy weight elk run 5 to 6 ounces or heavier. We also have a good supply of elk halves that run 4 to 5 ounces as this weight makes great shooting bags. Our deer skins run about 3 to 3 1/2 ounces. All moccasin or heavy weight hides are always half hides, usually the back or rump half of the elk. All hides are graded, priced according to quality and sold by the square foot. To grade the hides we look at each hide to determine which of 3 grades it is. The hides are graded by the quality of the smooth or grain side (this is the side that the hair was on). It is very possible to buy #2 hides that are excellent on the suede or fuzzy side. In order to be a #1 hide the hide must have few or no holes in the main area of the hide. Holes near the edges may be present. These animals were shot so typically a #1 hide could have a bullet entry hole (usually a small round hole) and an exit hole (usually larger and irregular in shape). Other blemishes are also looked for such as scars, scratches and drag marks. Once again these hides came from wild animals that are constantly exposed to injuries from fences, thorns, insects, predators and each other. Drag marks are scuffed areas on the skin surface caused by dragging the animal along the ground before it is skinned. Most hides fall into the #2 quality slot. They are suitable for clothing but will usually have several repairable holes. Other blemishes may be present. Hides with many holes or irregularity shaped hides are considered #3 quality. These hides are usually not suitable for garments (unless a rough look is desired) but work out great for purses, bags, fringe, lace or any project where you can work around the holes.

Spotted Pony Traders
P.O. Box 68
Hawthorne FL 32640

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