Well, the problem has reared its head again this year, causing quite a bit of alarm. At this writing, the only report we have heard is from a single taxidermist in South Africa, but we don't rule out the possibility that bad salt is being used in other countries as well. The bottom line is, individual safari clients need to take firm action themselves to see that their skins are treated only with what is called 1st Grade salt. The salt should be white in color, not grayish, and it should be out of a newly-opened sack. Do not allow your outfitter to re-use salt that has already been used to treat other trophies. Offer to buy the salt yourself and pay for shipping it in, if necessary.
The taxidermist who alerted us to the bad-salt problem last month was Rodney Kretschmer of Trans African Taxidermists in South Africa (Nicole@transafrican.com), who told The Hunting Report he has seen an "alarming" deterioration recently in the quality of the skins coming in from local outfitters. He said late last month that he had seen at least 150 "bad skins" come into his shop within a two-week period. Three quarters of those are in such bad shape, he says, they will need "patch-up work."
We immediately called Dieter Ochsenbein, President of PHASA (Professional Hunters Association of South Africa) and a taxidermist himself. He said the problem of bad salt has not emerged as an issue at PHASA or in his own shop this year. But he may not have heard about the problem himself, he said, because he pays for and provides high-quality salt to the outfitters he works with.........(continued)