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elk euro mount field prep?
How do you go about removing the top of skull on an elk in the field if you plan to do a European mount?
I am sure this is something I would figure out when the job is presented to me in the field but wondering if anybody has any tips that might be useful to keep in mind?
I see photos / videos of people carrying out a nicely skinned out elk racks with the upper skull/jaw intact and eyeballs removed. How long does this typically take and do you have any useful tips to keep in mind? What type of saw do you use? Do you carry a Wyoming saw even though they are a bit heavy for a backcountry bivy hunt?
No saw is needed to prep a skull for a euro. Just a good sturdy knife [A Havalon will not make it]
Separate the neck from head at the first vertebra. Then start skinning the head from top down to the nose. The antler burs can be a real beeatch to get the hide/hair removed but just get what you can in the field
Once its skinned, dig out the eyes with that sturdy knife.
Then start on the lower jaw. Its works best to remove as much jaw meat as you can so you can get that sturdy knife into the jaw joint. Grab the lower jaw at the front and pull like hell away from the top jaw. Keep cutting meat around the back of the jaw. The tongue can be removed anytime
Id say 30-45 mins to field prep for a euro
Be aware of carcass laws in areas of CWD. Usually no brains or spinal cord material leaving kill site.
Perfectly described by cnelk.
I did the field prep with my havalon. No issues. Take your time and keep slicing meat.
"Be aware of carcass laws in areas of CWD. Usually no brains or spinal cord material leaving kill site."
Which state are you referring to with this statement? I've read several laws that involve those parts not being able to cross state lines, and in some cases one area of a state to another. Curious what state requires brain/spinal column to be left at kill site.
The big one for all euro mounts. Always have your knife blade horizontal or cutting away from the bone. If the blade is toward the bone it will leave all sorts of crappy marks. Also I do not usually bother with full capping the head. I just leave the hair and meat on and pack that way so that I can fight the antler bases and do a real clean job on a nice table. Of course I have never packed an animal more than 3 or 4 miles. If it was 6 or more it might be different.
As other mentioned do not forget to leave evidence of sex on a 1/4
cnelk nailed it - maybe Dennis Razza will chime in if he has any other hints.
The jaw ears extend all the way to the top of the head, I guess its the equivalent as our temples. Its a good place to cut as much as you can, been awhile but I think I slipped my havalon down in there pretty well. You'll be amazed at all the places you need to cut when removing the jaw.
Mountain man... Wyoming requires that you leave all spinal material and nervous tissue at the kill site. Makes it real hard to do a euro mount. How do you get the brains out at the kill site?
Great, thanks for the words of advice! Much appreciated. Good luck this season.
i like to slice the jaw meat on a angle from the corner of the mouth towards the ear, then I open the jaw and use my foot to push it down and pull it apart from the skull. of course I skin the entire head out.
Go right up under the chin and begin cutting the hide and the neck muscle and esophagus up toward the spine. Work your way around both sides separating all of the flesh. Then take your knife blade and peel the hide off the top of the skull working around the back of the skull. Eventually you'll come to the atlas joint. There's a half moon shaped hole in it. Work the tip of your blade in and around that and the spine will separate from the skull.
After you've removed the skull, skinned it completely, dug the eyes out, removed the lower jaw etc take a metal coat hanger and bend a hook on one end. Insert in in the hole in the back of the skull and dig the brains out. Spin it around and pull the hook in and out. Once it is free from the brain cavity grab the antlers and swing the skull away from you using the centrifugal force to fling the brains out the hole. Repeat that process until you can see the brain cavity is empty.
All good info except cnelk saying Havalon won't work. I use Havalon to separate skull from neck all the time no problem at all. Regarding brain, if you are in an area that doesnt allow you to remove it from the field you can also use a bone saw (for example Havalon's) to saw the spinal cord opening larger from the bottom so you can scoop out the brain a little easier than Mule Power's method. It's not too difficult if you plan for it and the larger opening won't show on a Euro display.
Mossyhorn, where does it state it has to stay at the kill site?
Trying to find it in the regulations and can't.
Sasquatch, See Section 15 at the link. I stopped into the G&F office in Laramie yesterday and asked about removing the head and spine from the kill site. If you are taking the animal home to process, you can take the head and spine with you as long as it is disposed of at a landfill. If you are transporting the animal to another area or out of state, the head and spine needs to be left at the site unless cleaned of brain and spinal fluid. I'm not sure what to do if taking to a processor.