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Help with DIY Euro Mount?
I got my first ever elk this weekend, YAY! But, now I have a stinky bull head in my yard...HELP!!! I have searched Youtube and I am not seeing any great videos on a "Start to Finish" Euromount. I mainly need the START. I have an elk head (Yes, I was crazy and packed out the entire head 3 miles) sitting on the side of my house in a bucket of ice to reduce the stench but I need to get this taken care of ASAP! Can you point me in the direction of a great video of how to get the skin off, the jaw off, and down to just the skull? Most videos cover it from there but I'm at a loss as to how to get it down to the skull and the brain out. Any help appreciated!
I'm also open to skull cap mount options as well. Photos are appreciated!
1- Get the hide off.
2- remove eyeballs and tongue
2- get sunglasses and gloves
3- Take it down to the car wash and spray the hell out of it. Get the brain out
4- take it back home and rip the bottom jaw off.
That will be a good start
So far as skinning the head, since you just want the skull, just do it like any other part of an elk. The jaw will come off once you get the hide and muscle removed. There really is no science or secret to doing it. The brain? I've just used a coast hanger to scramble it and pull it out the back. It's just a tedious job. The only thing you really need to be careful of is that you don't leave knife marks on the bone, so makeall cuts removing the hide and meat should parallel the skull. Good luck!!
Tom, to get the brains out I use my garden hose with a nozzle that has a small orfice about 3/16" and insert it into the brain hole in the back of the skull then have someone turn the water on full force. Be careful and hold the hose tight with the hole in the skull facing away from you as everything comes out fast.
For the skin just skin it off like you did with the body cutting it away from the antler bases and down over the face. Might try searching for videos on Caping animals out. for the lower jaw just cut away the connecting meat and the back of the jaw and pull the jaw open keep repeating until the jaw comes completely off. I know this is overly simplified but it will hopefully make sense when you get started on it. The first one is always the hardest, after that you will know what you are doing for the next time.
After you do the above, go give your wife a hung! You both will remember it for a long time.
Search "whitebone creations elk euro" on YouTube, great videos on euro mounts. Helped me a lot with my last elk euro
The way I do mine, this process shared with me by my taxidermist:
1. Skin the whole thing and remove the bottom jaw. 2. Boil (light simmer) in turkey frying pot in driveway, remove every so often and pick meat and eyeballs off until they are soft enough that you get most everything. 3. Power wash in yard (ignoring weird looks and curiosity from neighbors). Brain will wash out easily, just stick power washer in the brain stem hole and spray. Wear safety glasses/face shield and clothes you don't care about. Stuff will go everywhere. 4. After all the meat/brains/eyeballs are gone you need to degrease it. I put it in a plastic tub with ammonia/water solution and fish tank heater. Let it sit in there a long time. (My last one sat in this for 6 months due to heavy blood staining) 5. Put heavy duty peroxide (buy at salon shops, not Walgreens stuff) on skull, wrap in plastic garbage bag and let sit for a day or two. Don't get it on the antlers (I tape the bases to protect them).
I take the hide off the head and boil it in water for hours .... this makes the eyes and tongue and other flesh easier to remove.
THEN take it to a high pressure wash and blow the brains out - at least they'll be cooked and less nasty for the car wash owners !
boil again ... when its all pretty cleaned, I soak in peroxide, though with a big head like elk maybe just pour it over .... that'll bleach it white
If you choose to boil the head do not get the water too hot, just a slow rolling boil not big time hot.
Not much to add to above.
For the brains, you can chuck up a section of an old wire hanger in a drill and spin away. It will break up the mass and make it easier to blow out.
Oh good grief....I can hardly wait to attempt this..... LOL!!!!
"If you choose to boil the head do not get the water too hot, just a slow rolling boil not big time hot" This is one of those "magical" statements. I thought it was impossible to get boiling water hotter than 100 degrees C. Unless of course its in a pressure pot :)
painless - I was just thinking the same thing. Pretty sure there is only one temperature for boiling water. :)
Be safe- if you use peroxide from beauty salon be sure to wear gloves and eye protection. That stuff is nasty.
Easy Is is boiling / bleaching, but the final product maybe chalky and brittle.
Bugs (dermestid beetles) are great but what do you do with them when your done. And they stink.
Masceration is my preferred method.
Clean the skull as above and place in 90 deg water for a week or two. This will stink.
After that degrease with hot water and Dawn dish soap.
Last step is the the high power peroxide. Soak until white enough.
The result should be damn near museum quality with a little work.
The water may be 100* but the steam can exceed that.
Masceration is my preferred for deer, but I've never done anything to increase water temp. Do use fish aquarium heaters for your water?
I think the steam is 100 C also just has 540 more calories/gram, i.e., more energy. That's why it can burn you so badly.
Ha ha - I guess I know how your story ends! Congrats again.
I just boil a head for a couple hours then go to the car wash and blast the rest out. Make sure to wear crappy clothes and mush the brains while you are boiling. After that is all done, bring it home, pick off any remaining bits and then put 40% peroxide on and in all cavities for approx 12 hours. Done. Wash, let dry and you have a beauty of a euro.
ohiohunter - Not sure if you were aiming that question at me, but I'm the only one that mentioned aquarium heaters, so....
I used the aquarium heater on the bull I had to degrease for months because the tub was in the garage all winter at around 40 degree air temperature. The degreasing wasn't doing anything until I got the water a little warmer. I boiled it to remove all the tissue, did not macerate.
Kevin - Good point about being safe with the peroxide, I forgot to mention that above. You definitely want eye and skin protection when using that stuff.
When you get it to the point where you 'think' its done it will still smell some
A couple doses of Frebreze will keep the wifey happy
Call around taxidermists to see what they charge to have bugs ckean the skull. Let them deal with the stink. My deer was $40 in MO a few years ago. Still gotta take off the hide. Or getthe hide off and bury the head. But the antlers may get chewed onby critters......
Just heard you talked to Matt at Rocky Mtn Head Hunters. He will do a great job. I was just out as his shop tonight
BS needs a thumbs up emoji!!!!
1st off ..Congrats!! Read your awesome story. So I've done about 35 euro mounts and have had great results with the following instructions and it only takes 3 days start to finish with about 3 hours total work. You will need a box of Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda found at any grocery store, a small paint brush and quart of 40 Volume Creme Developer, found at beauty supplier stores. A quarter will do about 5- 8 heads.. So 1st skin head out and remove bottom jaw. Find a large tub /bucket that head will fit into and be completely submerged. Add 1 cup Soda and bring to a SIMMER...NOT A BOIL. Boiling will cause teeth and small bones to fall out. Keep an eye on it for several hours. You may have to keep adding a small amount of water to keep the skull submerged due to evaporation. You will know when it's done if you can take ahold of antlers and the brains slide out if you give them a good shake. I sometimes will add a little more of the soda during the simmering process along with skimming the fat that will float to the top. After its done cooking, power wash the skull, being careful around the teeth and small bones in the nose. Like others have suggested, wear a face mask! I usually wear a plastic rain suit also. All brain matter, meat and soft tissue should be completely removed. Now grab a small paint brush, a shallow tub and the 40 Volume Creme Developer along with safety glasses and rubber gloves. The developer is thick so you want to completely "paint" the skull inside and out. Dumping it into all crevasses and holes but be careful not to get it on the antlers. After completing this step let it sit overnight... the skull will be pure white by morning! Rinse well with a hose and hang it out to dry over night. At this point sit back and admire your handywork!
I follow fuzz's technique... except I use a low boil, not a simmer..
Skin, remove lower jaw, eyes and as much flesh as you can.
Fill a tote large enough to submerge skull up to the peticles... add a couple cups of arm and hammer super washing soda.. let it sit a week.. it will start to smell but its worth it.. makes next step way easier...
Next get your burner out and fill a pot big enough to submerge the whole skull in. Bring water to almost a boil.. reduce heat and keep water just beneath a boil.. Drink a couple beers and watch.. after about 40 minutes or so you should see the tissue splitting down the top of skull.. don't over cook it.. pull it out and hit it with your pressure washer.. you'll get most off pretty quick.. flip skull over and using a screwdriver pry out the ear buds and knock out the bone beneath giving you more access to the brain cavity... spray every nook and cranny until clean.. The presoak makes this super easy..
Let dry and apply the 40 volume creme liberally with a small brush.. keep it off the horns.. place in garbage bag and seal it up.. wait 24/48 hours and rinse it off.... let dry and it should be perfect... I've done hundreds of these.... pm me if you need further instruction..
Awesome advice and much appreciated! Turns out I am having it done professionally and will post the VERY generous story tomorrow when I can sit down and pit in some effort.
Fuzz has a good process except you need to degrease the skull as others have mentioned. Ammonium and Dawn is a good combo if you don`t have a specialized degreaser. Elk or deer are not greasy animals so you can get away with no heater. Soak a week....change out mixture soak another week or two then rinse. Use a "Basic White" mix with peroxide...make a soupy/slurry paste and paint on the skull and drizzle in the cavities.....wrap in plastic and place in the sun or blow a heater on it....a day or two it should be good. Rinse off and let dry....can spray with Rustoluem Clear Coat if you like.
Just a science point on boiling temperature. It is different everywhere! At sea level, the water boils at 212 Fahrenheit or 100 Centigrade. Here at 8600 feet in Colorado, water boils at 185 Fahrenheit or 85 Centigrade. And as weird as it seems, the boiling point is reached more quickly at sea level than here! It has to do with atmospheric pressure, the same reason you sea level folks find it hard to breathe at high altitude!
Lots of good info and most is similar process I do. Only thing I would add is I dump the water 3-4 times during the process. I use Arm & Hammer laundry soda and Dawn or other dish soap, simmer (not boil) - heck doesn't even need to simmer just be fairly hot, and ever time the water starts getting too messy I lift out the skull, shake it a bit, scrape off whatever chunks fall away easily (it's like jello when cooked), dump that water over the fence and replenish with fresh clean water and soap.
I think by not continuing to cook it in nasty oily brown water really helps with degreasing.
It takes me three times as well. Change the water each time. I just finished cleaning my bull a couple minutes ago. I learned a tough lesson this time. The first tub was filled up with secondary water by accident. That dang sprinkler water stained parts of it green! Going to take some extra whitening effort. Ugh.
Question for you guys using the 40 volume stuff. Don't you need to add a whitner and activate it with a heat source (space heater or something)?
Watch the whitebone creations videos on YouTube. His method is the easiest with the best results by a mile. I can do a skull in a little over an hour start to finish.
I've done gobs of skulls over the years from bighorn sheep to mtn goat to deer, antelope, elk, bear...to even turkeys! One thing I would mention that speeds the boiling process up by several hours is to place the skinned skull in garbage bags in a warm spot where the smell can be tolerated for several days. The warmer the weather the quicker this works. Super important..... seal it tight and don't let the skull dry out! I often place my skulls inside a couple trash bags under a large metal trash can and place rocks on top of it so animals can't get to it. The trash can obviously may not work for elk but works great for antelope, bear, and smaller skulled animals. Let the meat rot and the meat will almost instantaneously fall off in a matter of minutes while boiling. If this isn't done it may take hours to get all the meat and cristle off! As mentioned above it's a good idea to change the stinky water several times to rid the water of all the smelly, oily, grime. One of my least favorite jobs but it is WAY easier if the skulls rot in garbage bags for a few days. It really isn't that tough of a job if done this way....and you'll save a pretty good chunk of change compared to what a taxidermist charges to do this.
Just in the process of doing rattling junkies euro, he brought it here very stinky, boiled the crap out of it, pressure washed it, maggots had already taking care of the brains, mixed 40% peroxide and powdered bleach into a paste, applied to skull with a paint brush last evening, gunna rinse it off soon and put it in the sun for a day, works every time
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXr2_8xzZ4o Here ya go Lark. It takes awhile but mother nature does all the work for you except the whitening. No stink either.
I've always been a fan of dermestid beatles which occur naturally in the wild. It will take a bit longer than if you put them in a colony though. It also stinks. After they've done their thing you can just wash it off leave as is or bleach it. You'd still want to skin it first though. I like to start at the throat and split out to the lip in the center of the bottom jaw and skein out the head that way. You be able to see what you need to cut muscle and tendon wise at the back of the jaw to be able to pull it off. Then skin from the lip/gum line on the upper part of the skull and back from the nose to the antlers. Same from the ears. If you dont want to go the beatle route. You can buy a propare turkey frying kit from Walmart for under $50. If you put a little dish or laundry detergent in the boiling water is will make things go a little faster and helps degrease the skull. Just make sure you dont use any with bleach it it or it will bleach out the bases of the antlers. Key there is geting the temp just right where it boils without boiling over. Pull it out occasionaly and pull off meat etc. Pull the brains out with a coat hanger or wire lith a little hook formed on the end. Stick it through the hole at he base of the skull where the spinal cord was. Needle nose pliers will come in handy for pulling off meat and inner nose membranes and such. Once it boiled out and cleaned you'll want to bleach it. Use peroxide not chlorine bleach. I put put it on with a tooth brush to keep it away from the antler burrs and let it sit in the sun for a little while and then rinse it off. Repeat if needed. Then let it dry thoroughly which may take a day or two if its not in the sun. Glue any teeth that fell out back in. I saw a tip on the internet about sealing it with mop and glo. That works good.
I followed the instructions from one of the whitebone productions videos. The only thing I did different was used volume 40 creme and a heat source. It turned out OK but I will use the clear peroxide per his instructions next time. This is the bull I arrowed on the 7th. Been in the wall for a few days now.
I hung a whitetail buck in a tree for about 2 months then I buried the deer skull up to the base of the antlers let is sit for about 5 months.
When I pulled it out there was no matter, hide, hair or anything.
I took a pressure washer to it and sprayed it down to get the mud off.
It was very brown tea color all over the skull I set it on my back deck in direct sunlight for about 60 days and very white.
I used zero chemicals.
I like the bury method if you can keep the critters from chewing the antlers.