Slam on the brakes for Claw, Antler & Hide, Custer SD

So, here’s my true confession and I’m sticking to it. Most of the time, we plan our travel itineraries pretty well — where we’ll be on which days, how many nights we need lodging in a certain city, big stops and even some little stops we don’t want to miss, and how much wiggle time we might have if we shop less, see more, or just want to linger.

But all that went out the window when we passed through Custer, South Dakota, in the Black Hills. I mean how could we pass up a pick-up truck filled with sheds sitting outside the store in the parking lot? We had to go in. No time like the present.

Bert hardly got past the front porch of Claw, Antler, and Hide, Inc., before he was stroking furry goods and asking me (as if I would know) what kind of store this is. I stood there reading the tags: Coyote, Raccoon, Otter, Ermine, Kit Fox, Arctic Fox, Red Fox, and you-name-it. And then we decided we had to see more . . . inside.

We noticed the big fellas first: mounts of buffalo, deer, black bear, mountain lion, big-horned sheep.

And then the little ones: jackalope, squirrel, raccoon — some dressed in costumes; others playing cards in a foursome.

In the middle of the room, small and large bins held parts (antlers, bones, horns) categorized by size, color, and animal. Each labeled. Each more interesting than the last.

But the soft goods were our favorites — pelts, tails, hides, and skins — each begging to be touched and admired for their softness or patterns or distinctive markings.

We probably entertained the sales people there with our oohs and ahs in addition to our Southern accents — but after all, we’d never seen anything like Claw, Antler and Hide, Inc. And it showed.

So just to satisfy our curiosity, we asked one of the ladies who had been an associate for years what people did with all of this. Her answer? Designers use pieces in art constructions, costume makers need authentic furs and horns for head pieces and garments, and some people just want something to decorate their homes. And, she added, Claw, Antler and Hide, Inc. does a great business on the internet . . . shipping pelts, sheds and bones all over the world.

And so it was that we veered off our original “things to see today” list with no regrets. An afternoon visiting Claw, Antler and Hide, Inc., and talking with a lady who’s spent a lifetime helping people find valuable cast-offs made for a vivid South Dakota memory.

So, do you ever get side-tracked in your travels? We’re listening.

Rusha & Bert

Claw, Antler and Hide, Inc., 735 Mt Rushmore Rd, Custer, SD 57730


10 thoughts on “Slam on the brakes for Claw, Antler & Hide, Custer SD

  1. Curt Mekemson

    We travel a bit differently, Rusha. I generally have a rough idea of where we will be traveling, but it is always subject to change. We tend to plan the next day of our journey the day before. Rarely do we make reservations, but I am being a bit more careful, now.
    On Highway 50 in Nevada, just before the Great Basin National Park, there is this great gate made out of antlers. Quite impressive. At some point it will show up in a post.
    Thanks for the post. I found it interesting. Like Bert, I can’t resist feeling g furs. There was a lot of that on Alaska. –Curt

  2. DrJunieper

    Thank you for coming to my blog:) This is the most unusual store I have ever seen! Love all the furs, the bones and antlers less. But what the lady said people use them for makes sense. I think I would look for a fur hat, lol!

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      A hat is a great idea! And the more we talked, the more I could see costume makers delighted with these finds, especially for movies with Native Americans or indigenous people. We couldn’t believe the volume of goods in the store. Would love a return trip!!

  3. WanderingCanadians

    I usually sketch out an itinerary of the main things I want to do each day, include some additional options if time permits (or in case the weather is terrible), and always leave some room for spontaneity. You never know what might peak your interest. Glad your detour was worth it. Seems like an interesting place to visit!

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      We think alike. There usually is something that bears looking into. And sometimes those are the best memories. I’ll be posting soon in a stop in Sturgis at Indian Motorcycles, another spontaneous but now a favorite stop!

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