Summit Treestands
My attempt at a beetled euro mount
Indiana
Contributors to this thread:
stick slinger 15-Nov-16
stick slinger 15-Nov-16
stick slinger 15-Nov-16
stick slinger 15-Nov-16
patience2spare 16-Nov-16
patience2spare 16-Nov-16
stick slinger 17-Nov-16
patience2spare 17-Nov-16
stick slinger 18-Nov-16
stick slinger 18-Nov-16
stick slinger 23-Nov-16
13bowman 26-Nov-16
patience2spare 27-Nov-16
patience2spare 27-Nov-16
patience2spare 27-Nov-16
patience2spare 27-Nov-16
patience2spare 27-Nov-16
patience2spare 27-Nov-16
stick slinger 30-Nov-16
stick slinger 08-Dec-16
stick slinger 09-Dec-16
stick slinger 09-Dec-16
stick slinger 11-Dec-16
stick slinger 11-Dec-16
stick slinger 12-Dec-16
stick slinger 12-Dec-16
stick slinger 12-Dec-16
stick slinger 12-Dec-16
stick slinger 12-Dec-16
stick slinger 13-Dec-16
stick slinger 13-Dec-16
patience2spare 17-Dec-16
shawnm 22-Dec-16
15-Nov-16
I am going to be documenting my attempt at a beetle cleaned euro mount. I got a buck recently that I would consider mounting if I hadn't just got one last year. I don't have another 4 to 5 hundred to shell out and have been interested in beetles so here was my chance. In asking around at the local taxidermists I was getting prices of 115-225 for a euro. The one taxidermist offered me $50 for the cape. That would cover the cost of some beetles off of eBay and get the hide off of the skull, win-win.

15-Nov-16

stick slinger's embedded Photo
That bottom jaw is a PITA to get off.
stick slinger's embedded Photo
That bottom jaw is a PITA to get off.
stick slinger's embedded Photo
I was afraid of getting squirted while pulling the eyeballs. They don't come easily
stick slinger's embedded Photo
I was afraid of getting squirted while pulling the eyeballs. They don't come easily
stick slinger's embedded Photo
I hung him out in the shed to dry out a bit. Supposedly drier is better than too wet. We'll see.
stick slinger's embedded Photo
I hung him out in the shed to dry out a bit. Supposedly drier is better than too wet. We'll see.
I did some research and decided to give it a shot. I got 1500+ combination of beetles and larvae, the larvae do the heavy lifting apparently, but you need adults to make more larvae.

15-Nov-16
The smell in tha garage did not please my wife tonight. He has been dead almost a week, but did spend a bit of time in the freezer while deciding what to do. My biggest concerns right now are how badly it will smell in the basement and containing the beetles. Hoping it dries out and stops smelling so badly soon. Time will tell and I'll try to keep you posted. Any suggestions or words of caution are appreciated.

15-Nov-16

stick slinger's embedded Photo
stick slinger's embedded Photo
stick slinger's embedded Photo
What am I doing wrong? I spun it on my camera before re-uploading, but still upside down.
stick slinger's embedded Photo
What am I doing wrong? I spun it on my camera before re-uploading, but still upside down.
Here is an old one I picked up one spring. I tried boiling it, but didn't have a very good setup. I may try soaking it a bit to soften it and seeing if the Beetles will clean it up a bit more

16-Nov-16

patience2spare's embedded Photo
patience2spare's embedded Photo
I bought a "Buck Boiler" made by a company called On Time. It is a 4 gallon heavy plastic bucket with a heating element in the bottom and an inline GFI to prevent accidental shock. I buy sodium carbonate (sal soda as it is called) from Van Dyke's taxidermy. The Buck boiler simmers at the right rate to not scorch the bone and the sodium carbonate turns the meat to a gelatinous goo that scrapes off very easily. In about 3 hours I can have a skull completely clean and keep the fragile nasal bones intact. The sal soda is KEY! It will definitely help with the dead head if you decide to boil it again. This might be an option if your wife vetoes the beetles because of the smell!

Good luck with the beetles. Make sure that you figure out how to contain them. I have heard horror stories of what they can do to mounts if not contained... Pete

16-Nov-16

patience2spare's embedded Photo
patience2spare's embedded Photo

17-Nov-16
Hmmm. Kinda wish I had seen this before. A quick search shows some DIY buck boilers. That looks much better than what I had tried. Oh, well. The beetles should be here today or tomorrow. Nice skulls PTS!

17-Nov-16
I don't think that you will be disappointed in the beetles. All of the work I have seen where guys used beetles looks nicer than boiling because it preserves all of the delicate tissue in the nasal cavity. Careful boiling can preserve most of that but not all. If you get the chance to see a bear skull cleaned by beetles, the nasal cavity is really amazing.

Beetles just take longer and there is the smell factor. Looking forward to seeing how the process goes for you. Great deer as well - saw it on the success thread. Pete

18-Nov-16

stick slinger's embedded Photo
Sorry, keep forgetting to hold my phone upside down.
stick slinger's embedded Photo
Sorry, keep forgetting to hold my phone upside down.
Well the beetles came today. Seems like a small container, but lots of creepy crawlies in there.

18-Nov-16

stick slinger's embedded Photo
Here's a closer shot of them.
stick slinger's embedded Photo
Here's a closer shot of them.
The skull is pretty stinky by now and the garage is going to be cooling down. Questioning my decision. Oh well, too late!

23-Nov-16

stick slinger's embedded Photo
stick slinger's embedded Photo
So this isn't working like the YouTube videos. I should have fine some more homework before I jumped in. The garage stunk too bad so bought an old freezer and wired a thermostat into a small space heater and moved them to the shed. I thought I was buying enough beetles to start cleaning, turns out the majority are still eggs and won't hatch for a couple weeks. Flesh is disappearing, just not as fast as I had hoped.

From: 13bowman
26-Nov-16

13bowman's embedded Photo
13bowman's embedded Photo
I'm trying my hand at a euro. I had the same issue the barn smelling so badly. I opted to wrap the antlers in plastic and duct tape the plastic. I buried the skull in a lean to connected to my shed. I wired the antlers to the lean to so an animal couldn't run off with the skull. My plan is to pull it out in the spring, strap it to a board and give it a good power washing.

27-Nov-16

patience2spare's embedded Photo
patience2spare's embedded Photo
I figured I would add a couple pics of the process I use for reference as a future alternative.

My good friend Joel shot a really nice mature buck on the gun opener and asked if I would do a euro for him. I told him to skin out the head, remove lower jaw, eyes and as much meat as possible. Then I would take it from there.

Attached is a pic of the Buck Boiler that I use

27-Nov-16

patience2spare's embedded Photo
patience2spare's embedded Photo
I buy Sodium Carbonate from Van Dyke's Taxidermy supply. It is really quite cheap and I use 1/2 cup each time I boil a skull so the 5lbs lasts for a lot of euros! The phone number is written on the bag if you are looking to get some direct from Van Dyke's. This stuff is essential to making removal of the flesh very easy!

27-Nov-16

patience2spare's embedded Photo
patience2spare's embedded Photo
Joel had left the skull in a garbage bag on his back porch for a week or more. So the first thing I did was soak it in a bucket for a couple days to soften all of the tissue to be removed. This is how it looked just before boiling.

27-Nov-16

patience2spare's embedded Photo
patience2spare's embedded Photo
The Buck Boiler is really a misnomer as the heating element basically simmers the skull. A hard boil will damage the bone and make it brittle anyway.

I simmered the skull for 2 hrs on Friday afternoon but had to turn it off to go to my daughter's basketball game. I changed out the water yesterday evening and simmered it another 2.5hrs. This is what it looks like in process.

This is done in my detached garage with the windows OPEN. The smell is quite bad, but gone shortly after you dump the water out.

27-Nov-16

patience2spare's embedded Photo
patience2spare's embedded Photo
I take the skull out about once an hour and scrape the gelatin-like meat off with a fillet knife. I also swirl the brain with a screwdriver. Some of the meat on the back of the skull and under the pedicles has to be scraped off with the end of a large screwdriver.

Some shaking of the skull will cause the gray matter to come out of the cranial cavity and the sinus tissue to come out of the nose. I use a long hook made from a wire coat hanger to pull the membrane out of the cranial cavity.

Here is the finished product. I did not use any peroxide on the skull but it typically turns out fairly white as you can see.

This buck was killed on 11/12. I worked on it for about 5hrs this weekend in two separate shifts - but 90% of that time is merely the skull simmering in the Buck Boiler.

27-Nov-16

patience2spare's embedded Photo
patience2spare's embedded Photo
I would also mention that the Buck Boiler is nice but not a necessity. I have done skulls in a large pan over a turkey frier heating element. That works well also but you have to monitor more frequently to make sure you are not up to a hard, rolling boil.

I used a big wash basin from tractor supply and the turkey frier to do my elk from 2014.

30-Nov-16
I checked in on the beetles last evening. I was happy with their progress and happy to see they are alive. I need 10 or 20 times more beetles which are supppsedly going to hatch in the next couple weeks (according to the eBay seller). We'll see. I kind of wish I would have just tried boiling it. Maybe it will take off soon

08-Dec-16
So I think my skull is done. I need to check it again. A few days ago there were a few tough scraps on the bottom that I sprayed down to soften a bit. I have been supplementing a bit to make sure they are getting enough to eat. I'll try to get pictures again. If there is anyone in the Elkhart county area that wants a head cleaned I'd be happy to put it in if you have it prepped. Just beetle work, no prepping or whitening. No charge. I had thought about trying to keep them and making some money next year, but I think I'll leave that to the pros. If anyone is looking for beetles and a freezer set up for them, it'll be for sale before long. $100 for the whole thing-heater with thermostat and freezer that works.

09-Dec-16

stick slinger's embedded Photo
stick slinger's embedded Photo
Here is a more recent shot of it. Any tips on degreasing? Is it needed or can I just add hydrogen peroxide?

09-Dec-16
I went out to the shed tonight to pull out the skull. Something had gone wrong with the heater and it was cold in there. The thermometer was showing around 32. I guess I shouldn't have bought the cheapest heater I could find. My bugs are dead, but my skull is clean. Soaking it in water overnight to try to pull out any blood. Not sure if it's necessary, but it's an easy step. Hopefully tomorrow I can find some hydrogen peroxide.

11-Dec-16

stick slinger's embedded Photo
stick slinger's embedded Photo
So today I pulled the skull out of the water. Not much blood in the water, but a bunch of other stuff soaked loose. Probably beetle poop and dirt. I rinsed it off in the sink with a tooth brush. (Not mine, its still fairly smelly). It is soaking now in hot water and Dawn. Tonight I'll pull it out and put it in the peroxide.

11-Dec-16
The strongest hydrogen peroxide I could find locally was 12%. I had found some on Amazon that was 40 I think, can't remember for sure. Anyhow, 12% is what I have. Looking forward to the final product.

12-Dec-16

stick slinger's embedded Photo
Here it is soaking
stick slinger's embedded Photo
Here it is soaking
So it soaked overnight. Hard to tell how light it would be when I pulled it out because it was soaking wet. Unfortunately some horn was bleached as well. I tried wrapping in electrical tape to protect it. It helped, but still some bald spots. I hung it by the fire to dry.

12-Dec-16

stick slinger's embedded Photo
You can see some bleached spots
stick slinger's embedded Photo
You can see some bleached spots

12-Dec-16

stick slinger's embedded Photo
stick slinger's embedded Photo
stick slinger's embedded Photo
After
stick slinger's embedded Photo
After
After doing some research, I tried staining them with coffee grounds, no luck. I then tried wood stain which was a little scary. I tested some colors I had here on a shed to find the best match. I went with walnut.

12-Dec-16
I'm pretty happy with the final result. There are a few dark spots on the skull, but not bad. Im going to make a walnut plaque for it tomorrow hopefully. I'll show the final result then.

12-Dec-16

stick slinger's embedded Photo
Here it is soaking
stick slinger's embedded Photo
Here it is soaking
I'm soaking my other deadhead in peroxide right now. I put foil around those bases since that was the other method I saw. Doesn't make much sense as it isn't waterproof, but I decided to try it. I'll put up a photo later tonight with the result.

13-Dec-16

stick slinger's embedded Photo
stick slinger's embedded Photo
I got the plaques done and varnished today. The new skull is still a little foul smelling. Any ideas why? The old skull I had did not whiten too well. It is the one I had tried to boil and did not too clean. It was a wolf kill that I had picked up one spring. The boil didn't go too well, leading to my attempt at beetles this time around. I have some better info about simmering now (thanks patiencetospare). And I think I'll give that another try next time around.

13-Dec-16

stick slinger's embedded Photo
Here is the spring find. You can see that the wolves chewed the nose off.
stick slinger's embedded Photo
Here is the spring find. You can see that the wolves chewed the nose off.
stick slinger's embedded Photo
This is the extent of my trophy room for now. I have a moose and caribou rack that I hope to stick up sometime before too long.
stick slinger's embedded Photo
This is the extent of my trophy room for now. I have a moose and caribou rack that I hope to stick up sometime before too long.

17-Dec-16
Your buck from this year turned out great!!!

My elk skull was pretty ripe by the time we got back from New Mexico. Even after boiling it, there was a definite odor. I dowsed it liberally with citrus lysol several times and let it sit in the sun. After that, my wife gave me the green light to bring it back in the house :)

From: shawnm
22-Dec-16

shawnm's embedded Photo
shawnm's embedded Photo
Wow what an awesome story to a beautiful buck rack.. I loved the details and how you didn't forget anything. Very cool that you did it with the beetles and it came out awesome. I recently just got my first Buck and also did an euro mount.. But I used the boiling method. I also built the frame from scrap. Nice job on your mount

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