COLUMBUS - Hide tanning is the process of treating skins and hides of animals to produce leather. As far back as 7000 B.C., ancient civilians used leather for water skin bags, tack and harnesses, shoes, quiver’s, amour, and much more. The history of the Native American culture is a great example of what and how pelts were utilized. Pelts were worn, used for blankets, moccasin soles, shields, buckets, tee-pee's, ect. In the early 1500’s, the first Europeans purchased furs from Native Indians in exchange for guns, metal utensils and cloth. Today, fur pelts are used for fashion, home décor, blankets, and taxidermy.

To continue the tradition of preserving and using hides, Cherokee County K-State Research and Extension is pleased to have local native Kelly Ward, of Ward’s Taxidermy Works & Wildlife from Galena, to lead a hide tanning workshop. Kelly has been practicing hide tanning and taxidermy for 26 years.

Mr. Ward will offer his knowledge and experience to present Hide Tanning 101. The program will take place in the Cherokee County 4-H Building located at 114 W. Country Rd in Columbus, from 9 a.m. to noon, on May 5. Mr. Ward will discuss and show techniques on fleshing and beaming, step by step at home tanning and fur dressing, and a live demonstration on a fleshing machine.

For any questions or more information, please contact the Cherokee County Extension Office at 620-429-3849 or email

K-State Research and Extension is an equal opportunity provider and employer.