I am getting back into hunting. Mainly as a way to more ethically source meat, my dogs love antlers too. I imagine they will love animal pelts/hides as well (which is my worry). I will be hunting elk this year.
My intentions are to tan the hide of the elk I shoot this year, should I be so lucky. I'd like to use the hide as a rug in our house, and I am certain my dogs will try to chew on it at some point, if not eat portions of it. Is there a hair-on tanning method that is pet friendly? It is important to me to make use of as much of the animal as possible, so I'd like to find a way to utilize the hide, but also not hurt my dogs.
Answer: Based on the answer below, I think the principles of brain tanning are likely to result in the safest tanned hide should my dogs eat a piece of it. The primary fat in the brain that is responsible for the tanning process is called lecithin. This is commercially available in a purified form, making it plausible to tan a hide without potentially exposing my dogs to chronic wasting disease (see discussion below). I'll be looking into a methodology that uses purified lecithin, instead of whole brain, for tanning.