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Hide Tanning: Making Buckskin from Deer Hide

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Space is limited

Need Financial Aid? Click here.

Our financial aid philosophy is take what you need and give what you can. We recognize that there are economic hardships, and we want to be accessible to all, so we ask that you pay whatever it is that you can.

The more you can pay, the more children we are able to extend aid to. Before you request financial aid we ask families to consider if there are family members or friends who might help provide a scholarship to your family for this program.

While nobody has ever been turned away for lack of funds, our ability to accommodate financial aid requests rests on the strength of our program enrollment and the generosity of the individuals, businesses and foundations that partner with Wild Earth to make financial aid possible.

We're in this together! Many of us are stretching ourselves to make sure that cost doesn't get in the way of anyone playing, exploring and learning in nature.

How to ask for aid–

Requests for financial aid are processed alongside your registration. This enables you to reserve a space in the program while our team is reviewing aid requests. Register now and reserve your space in Hide Tanning: Making Buckskin from Deer Hide today.

Payment Plan Details:

Deposit of $100 due with registration. Remaining balance can be split into 2 monthly payments of $75.

Click here to view our updated COVID-19 safety procedures & policies.


Saturday & Sunday, June 3-4, 2023


Saturday – 9:00am-5:00pm
Sunday – 8:00am-3:00pm


Rock Haven
175 Rock Haven Road
Kerhonkson, NY 12446

Price Options:

$250.00 – Actual cost of program
or choose:
$125.00 – Accessible pricing
$375.00 – Support a classmate

Additional Questions?

Drop us an email or give us a call and we'll be happy to answer your questions.
(845) 256-9830

Hide Tanning: Making Buckskin from Deer Hide

Delve hands-on into a culture of respect and reverence while learning to create buckskin (a soft, suede-like leather) from a deer’s hide, and to clean and prepare fresh bones for later shaping into beautiful and useful items.

Join master craftsman and reverent, seasoned hunter Neill Bovaird of Wolftree Programs for this hands-on workshop.

This two-day experience is a much requested follow-up to the Using the Whole Deer workshop Neill has offered with us for many years. Using the Whole Deer part 1 is not a prerequisite. New students are welcome to join as each workshop stands alone, however together they bring us closer to the dream of fully utilizing the abundance the deer have to offer.

For thousands of years humans have been manipulating animal skins to make anything from clothing to containers, crafts to blankets. In this 2-day program we will transform deerskin into usable buckskin using the wet-scrape method. Steps will include, skinning, fleshing, dehairing, softening, smoking and crafting. Participants will leave with a small piece of hide for personal projects.

Participants will learn by working collectively with the hides the instructor will provide using his specific, tried and true process. Collectively, the group will work through each of the several hide tanning stages to create one finished hide, and participants will each take home a small piece of the finished buckskin. Please don’t plan to bring any additional skins from home as we will not have the opportunity to work them. Adults looking to deepen their relationship with the deer will learn the transformational process of removing glues from a deer skin while mobilizing its fibers to create a supple, beautiful material that can be used for clothing, bags, and other items.

Note: Hide tanning is an intensive process requiring active use of the hands, arms and core, and the learning process will involve participants’ sustained physical engagement, please contact us if you think this will be a barrier. Participants will be working hands-on with a deer’s body and body parts.

Teens interested in attending this program should contact us via (845) 256-9830 or

Neill BovairdAbout Neill Bovaird

Neill Bovaird has been practicing and teaching wilderness skills since 1998. He has a B.S. in Natural Resource Conservation from UMass Amherst and holds a Track and Sign Level III certification through the CyberTracker Conservation. Neill has been a facilitator at Art of Mentoring since 2001 and has studied with Jon Young, Mark Elbroch, Errett Callahan, and Steve Watts.

In addition to being the founder and director of Wolf Tree Programs LLC, Neill has taught wilderness skills at countless private and public schools, nature centers, museums, conferences, elder hostels and camps. He has been a passionate hunter and gatherer for over ten years and is dedicated to sharing how to approach hunting and gathering in a respectful way, helping people connect more deeply to themselves, nature and their communities.

About Hunting & Wild Earth:

In our programs, we strive to create a more compassionate, more connected relationship between people and nature.

We recognize that hunting and taking life from another to sustain oneself can be an experience that fosters and bridges intimacy between the hunter and nature. While hunting has long been a core part of the human experience, we recognize that modern Americans may not have been born into a culture of reverence, compassion and respect when approaching hunting.

Rekindling A Culture of Reverence, Compassion & Respect

Through awareness skills, tracking, bow-making, trap making, cordage and other indigenous skills, Wild Earth aims to rekindle a culture of reverence, compassion and respect. While our programs are laying a foundation of strengthened connections, we do not hunt or kill in any of our general nature connection programs. With compassion and respect, Wild Earth instructors may utilize dead animals to facilitate the teaching of wilderness skills and crafts. Recognizing that a family or an individual’s values or preferences may lead to a desire not to come into contact with deceased animals, all dead animal processing activities offered at our programs are choice-based and are offered out of sight from those who may choose not to participate.

Hunting & Slaughter Only At Clearly Identified Special Programs

Killing is only practiced at Wild Earth programs that are specifically designed to focus on reverential hunting and harvesting live animals for food, clothing or tools. While teaching specific skills, these programs also focus significant amounts of time and energy into creating a culture of reverence, compassion and respect. These programs must be easily distinguished from our regular programs by their program titles and descriptions.

NOTE: As of October 2017, Wild Earth has not offered hunting or slaughter at any regular or special programs. There will be no hunting or slaughter at the Using the Whole Deer workshop.

Register now and reserve your space in Hide Tanning: Making Buckskin from Deer Hide today. Space is limited.

©2023 WILD EARTH   |   EIN: 20-1675636   |   2307 Lucas Turnpike   |   High Falls, NY 12440   |   (845) 256-9830

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