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deer skull

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Messages posted to thread:
luckymako 22-Apr-08
Bowman 22-Apr-08
Opossum17 23-Apr-08
Randy 23-Apr-08
SJJ 23-Apr-08
Mike the Cheesehead 23-Apr-08
Bowman 23-Apr-08
seaofglass 23-Apr-08
Bernie1 24-Apr-08
Bernie1 24-Apr-08
Bestbowhunter 24-Apr-08
hc-shooter 24-Apr-08
Baja Traveler 24-Apr-08
enhunter 24-Apr-08
ROOKIE 24-Apr-08
Bowman 24-Apr-08
SJJ 25-Apr-08
70lbdraw 25-Apr-08
SJJ 25-Apr-08
Mike the Cheesehead 25-Apr-08
Earl E Nove...mber 25-Apr-08
BOBSTER 25-Apr-08
COUGAR 29-Apr-08
rattlesnake 30-Apr-08
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From: luckymako Date: 22-Apr-08
i found a dead deer and i want to clean up the skull can someone tell me how to go about this so i can hang him from the wall, thanks

From: Bowman Date: 22-Apr-08
The fun part is skinning the skull especially on a well fermented deer carcass. I get as much tissue off the skull and let it dry out for about a week or more. Then I will put the head in water for a day or two. Most of the left over tissue will peel off. Then I soak the head in a container with a strong bleach water mix for another day or two. Make sure the rack doesn't go in the bleach water unless you want the rack white. The second and easiest way is how one of my buddies does his skulls. He will tie a rope to heads and throw them in a pond for a few months. They come out clean and it doesn't change the color of the rack. Cabela's and Bass Pro sell kits for bleaching skulls. And I have even heard that there are companies that will do it. One last tip: Keep the head in a secure area. Even the strong smell of bleach won't keep a dog from running off with it to chew on.

From: Opossum17 Date: 23-Apr-08
Get as much skin off as you can then boil and pick the rest of the skin off and keep doing till its all gone. Then soak in peroxide overnight, but don't let the antlers come in contact with the peroxide just the skull. I have cleaned three skulls like this, works great. It is smelly though and sometimes you have to boil for a good bit till you can scrape the all of the matter off the skull. Good Luck!

From: Randy Date: 23-Apr-08
Get a European kit from cabelas or vandykes and you can get them with the plaque or without but has enough chemicals to do a couple and the whitening paste is super easy

From: SJJ Date: 23-Apr-08
I would augment the above slightly. I do these euro mounts on all deer and have done many, many, many. Creating a process where your "picking" is kept to a minimum is best. Don't boil.....simmer, same as making soup tho I will agree that modest controlled heat speeds things up. I agree with removing as much material as possible before hand,...especially eyes and lower jaw/throat meat and brains (this lets hot water into the skull early on! One can use Sal Soda which is a detergent type product that congeals and helps to remove tissue (obtained easily thru the mail at Wasco taxid. supply). Regular dish soap in the water works very well too...I use a liberal amount. Getting the fat out of the bone is what you want. If temp is too hot or time in pot too long then bones/teeth come apart and thats a pain. Periodically check your "soup" removing tissue w/ an old knife. Getting the right hotplate and speckled pot (not too big, not too small and necessary when using Sal soda) is worth its time. Submerging the horn base in a Sal soda solution can fade the burr. Once all the meat is off (usually several hours) the skull will be quite white with out any further treatment. Setting it in the sun for a while will have dramatic whitening effects. I find it hard to deal with the amount of peroxide necessary to bath the entire skull and it is completely unnecessary....simply put the skull in a tray where you can periodically pour peroxide over the skull over the course of several hours. I use a cup or 2 trays trading back & forth. It doesn't take long and you can save the peroxide which breaks down in light if you prolong its out of bottle use. It does not take much peroxide nor does it take continuous submersion. If you skin the skull just prior to making soup you'll get a great finished product. If you let the skull dry out and/or rot down at all your results can be good but not as good as those started with fresh or frozen tissue. After H2O2 (peroxide) I set it out in the sun again just to dry.....done. Putting the lower jaw back on then using thin wire (to hang) the mount sets it against the wall in a nice way. W/o the jaw they point straight down which I don't like as much. I try and leave bark in the horns if it is present to begin with. I also have an old set of surgical instruments one of which are plyers-like (rongears maybe)...they are excellent at grabbing cooked tissue to pull it off rather that trying to scrape/pick at every creavous. I would never advocate using bleech...there is really no roll for it at all. The potential harm greatly outweighs the good. I am not a fan of the "kits" they just asthetically don't do it for me. I also will cut the back of the skull at an angle that lets it sit against the wall better if I'm to lazy to deal w/ the lower jaw.

From: Mike the Cheesehead Date: 23-Apr-08
I just finished a deer skull and 3 bear skulls. I've done them in the past and this time I experimented and found some things that worked well.

I dumped some Arm and Hammer Laundry detergent and some 20 Mule Team Borax in the water when I was cooking the skulls. This seemed to really help remove the meat/tissue and also kept the odor down. I did some research on European mounts and read that the powdered detergent was basically the same as Sal Soda.

In the past I used the weak Peroxide that you can buy from Wal Mart, etc. and put the skulls in a 1 or 2 gallon Zip Lock bag and let them soak for a couple days. With a deer head, you have to prop the bag up in a kettle or something so the peroxide does not spill out the top. I also duct taped the bag to the antlers to hold it up. This time I used the strong (30%) peroxide that I got from a Hair Salon supply store. The strong peroxide works much faster, but I think I actually like the results from the weaker peroxide better. The strong stuff is a lot harder on the bone and turned one of the bear skulls a little chalky because I soaked it a little too long.

I've read that you should never use bleach in the process because it attacks the bone and may continue to deteriorate the bone even after it's rinsed off. Although I did my first bear skull 20 years ago and soaked it in bleach for a very short time and it still looks nice to this day.

I also read about a guy who threw his deer skull/antlers into a pond and when he pulled it out the antlers were discolored and very black from algae, etc. He went through a lot of trouble in order to restore the color of the antlers.

I bought a cheap $15 single burner hot-plate at Wal Mart to cook my skulls on. That way I can do it outside or on the garage floor without messing up my stove or grill.

Also if you cover the pot or kettle with foil and seal it, it will speed up the cooking process. I also wrapped foil around the base of the antlers to keep the gunky broth off of them.

Good luck

From: Bowman Date: 23-Apr-08

Bowman's embedded Photo

Here is a pic of the one that I bleached. It turned out great but I didn't nit pick over removing traces of tissue. I just hang them on the back porch. But I have been thinking of making a pedestal out of a thin slab of rock or wood. Thanks for the info Mike, I'll let my buddy know about the chance of that happening.

From: seaofglass Date: 23-Apr-08

seaofglass's embedded Photo

Be careful of the peroxide! It took me several times to get it right. This one is of a trespassers I caught. He was trying to walk off with my tree stand! Boiling works good, but I have learned over the years that a red ant pile does a nice job on all the flesh. After you can give a quick bath in bleach.

Practice makes perfect!!!

From: Bernie1 Date: 24-Apr-08
Tools: large pot, knife, screw driver, needle nose pliers, plastic bucket.

Steps:

1. Take off all the hide, meat, ect…. You can get off with just your knife.

2. Take a large pot and simmer some water (I never let the water boil, it weakens the skull) with “Arm and Hammer” laundry detergent to cut the grease and help the flesh come off. But only enough water to come up to the base of the antlers. I will add more at the end to finish up

3. Over 2 -3 hours I go thru at least 10 different cycles of taking the skull out and cutting, scraping, pulling meet and junk off, and scrabbling brains. I change out the water at least once. Give it time and be patient and it will come clean.

4. When the skull is clean place it in my plastic bucket and apply liquid peroxide 27% with a cloth or a brush (caution this stuff will burn your skin, I wear two pairs of gloves, and safety glasses) I apply this 3 to 4 times over 3 days and just let it sit in a safe dark place away from kids animals ect… and the skulls are white as can be. You can find this peroxide and a swimming pool supply store or maybe Wal-Mart.

5. I wash it he skull when I’m done to delute and take away any peroxide residue.

6. Mount on your plaque as desired.

From: Bernie1 Date: 24-Apr-08
Tools: large pot, knife, screw driver, needle nose pliers, plastic bucket.

Steps:

1. Take off all the hide, meat, ect…. You can get off with just your knife.

2. Take a large pot and simmer some water (I never let the water boil, it weakens the skull) with “Arm and Hammer” laundry detergent to cut the grease and help the flesh come off. But only enough water to come up to the base of the antlers. I will add more at the end to finish up

3. Over 2 -3 hours I go thru at least 10 different cycles of taking the skull out and cutting, scraping, pulling meet and junk off, and scrabbling brains. I change out the water at least once. Give it time and be patient and it will come clean.

4. When the skull is clean place it in my plastic bucket and apply liquid peroxide 27% with a cloth or a brush (caution this stuff will burn your skin, I wear two pairs of gloves, and safety glasses) I apply this 3 to 4 times over 3 days and just let it sit in a safe dark place away from kids animals ect… and the skulls are white as can be. You can find this peroxide and a swimming pool supply store or maybe Wal-Mart.

5. I wash it he skull when I’m done to delute and take away any peroxide residue.

6. Mount on your plaque as desired.

From: Bestbowhunter Date: 24-Apr-08
If you don't want to deal with all that hassel, try to find some one in your area that has Demestided beetles. You can just take the head to them and the beetles eat all the flesh off. Ususally costs about $60 to $75 bucks.

From: hc-shooter Date: 24-Apr-08
find an ant hill and put the skull on it and the ants will eat all that crap right off just try and find one near by so you can keep an eye on it and so critters dont get it then just bleach it

From: Baja Traveler Date: 24-Apr-08

Baja Traveler's Supporting Link

I'll second the beetle method. Boiling and chemicals work, but they also have their drawbacks on skull quality. Check out the link to Western Skulls for alot of good info.

From: enhunter Date: 24-Apr-08
Watch those beetles as they will consume antelope horn!

EN

From: ROOKIE Date: 24-Apr-08
gross but it looks very cool

From: Bowman Date: 24-Apr-08
Is bleach supposed to make the bone brittle or does it somehow deteriorate the bone? And how bad is the smell from simmering a skull? A Rotten or Fresh skull.

From: SJJ Date: 25-Apr-08
Fresh skulls do not smell offensive....rotten ones do but it doesn't bother me nearly as bad as the wife! Using Sal Soda drastically reduces foul odor. I do mine in the garage w/ the door open and it has become quite a scene w/ the family or company!! People don't hang around to bug me much.....keeps them moving right on thru.

As far as beetles go (which I have experience with) This is certainly a non labor intensive method. Cartilage is left behind here and there so depending on what type of a finished product you want one may still have to do a brief head soup session... I like the skulls clean as a whistle and bright white. Bleach is horribly caustic. Short term diluted use can be useful but basically I find no need/use for it...

From: 70lbdraw Date: 25-Apr-08
SJJ, If the smell of your wife bothers you so bad maybe you should keep HER in the garage!?

Sorry! I just couldn't resist after reading your post!

From: SJJ Date: 25-Apr-08
During hunting season(s)she'd just as soon stay anywhere I am not!!!!!!!!!!!Can't say she's gotten used to my obsessions even after pert near 25 years. Funny one....didn't realize It could be thought of in that context!

From: Mike the Cheesehead Date: 25-Apr-08
I've only boiled freshly thawed skulls or ones that I actually threw into the kettle while they were still frozen. The smell is not that bad, but it is not good either. I did mine in cold weather and I did them in the garage because I didn't want to do them outside. I would advise doing them outside if you can. Also the Arm and Hammer Detergent seemed to reduce the odor quite abit.

From: Earl E Nove...mber Date: 25-Apr-08
You might try this guy www.milehighbeetleguy.com

From: BOBSTER Date: 25-Apr-08
Here is what I normally do. I will put the skull in a 5 gal bucket of water. Cover the antlers so that the sun can not bleach them any more. The water will soften any hide that is still on the skull up so that you can pull it off. Leave it in the bucket of water until all of the meat is off and then spray off with water. Then you can start on the bleaching process. Bob

From: COUGAR Date: 29-Apr-08
BEETLES! Take a look on Google for Skulls Unlimited in Oklahoma City! They are awesome!

From: rattlesnake Date: 30-Apr-08
flesh out best you can, boil just skull 40 min,.. take too car-wash put in corner of truck bed and hose her down one cycle soap then rince,..... let dry in barn or shed till the very last of the smell fades away [about a week]...snake


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