MDC offers upcoming free deer hide and tallow processing classes in northwest and Kansas City regions, plus one in Waynesville

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Kansas City
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Kansas City, Mo. – A harvested deer can yield more than venison and antlers. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is offering 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 MDC’s Kansas City and northwest regions, plus one class in Waynesville in the Ozark region. Archery and firearms deer hunters are encouraged to save hides and tallow for participation in the classes.

For making deer rawhide, hunters should scrape meat off hides, place them in a leakproof bag, and freeze them until time for the classes. MDC will also have some tools and some demonstration hides in various stages of conversion to rawhide. Instructions for soaking and preparing your hide for the class will be emailed to participants prior to the class. Hides must have a valid Conservation ID number or Telecheck confirmation number accompanying them.

Participants should wear old clothes and bring a rubber apron if they have one. A heavy trash bag can be used in place of an apron. MDC will have fleshing knives and beams available for use during the program, and participants can bring their own tools. Participant will take home plans to build a simple fleshing beam and frame. Participants will need to purchase a fleshing knife and other simple materials to complete and stretch hides at home.

For deer tallow classes, participants should bring frozen fat from harvested deer. MDC will have fat available to demonstrate techniques. The class will be working with hard, waxy fat from around the back of the deer and the kidneys. The soft fat from around meat will not be used. Wearing old clothes, rubber gloves, and a washable apron are advised. Participants will take home finished samples of heel balm, a candle, and a fire starter.

Registration is required for the classes. COVID-19 safety precautions will be observed.

Making rawhide times, dates, and locations:

Tallow processing classes times, dates and locations:

For more information on the classes, contact Ginger Miller, MDC conservation educator, at 660-885-8179 or