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Freezing velvet success
I have had excellent success freezing velvet deer antlers for a period of one complete year. I am wondering if anyone has tried this for a lesser time period. Of course getting velvet antlers to the freezer as fast as possible is extremely important. I have used a commercial product with lesser success than freezing them. Appreciate any comments regarding this subject........badbull
I hope your success with freezing your antlers like that keeps working. As a taxidermist, I advise people to not do that as it isn’t really preserving them. Some of the blood will dry out but it’s not preserved or bug proof. I know many will say “I did it this way and it works” It can work but I wouldn’t recommend it for the long haul. Injecting them with formaldehyde is one way. Others include soaking them in denatured alcohol, acetone, even race car fuel. As for all my customers, I freeze dry them in my actual freeze dryers. Before they go in I soak them in a bug proofing solution. True freeze drying is completely different than just freezing them. If it works for you and you trust it then keep doing it.
I think your better off injecting with a solution and then like freezing as opposed to just freezing. Actual freeze drying is probably the best
I have just cut the antlers off the skull, send them to Huffman’s in Trinidad for freeze drying. I get them back in a couple months or sooner. Cost is reasonable. Then reattach to skull.
Freeze drying is the best method, actually. You're basically "mummifing" the live tissue.
There are still no guarantees with injecting...
Very good information from you guys. Thanks for sharing your experience and knowledge that I will keep in mind in the future..........badbull
I agree with butcherboy…..if you are doing it for chits and giggles and hanging it in your garage that may work, but I wouldn`t bring it in to my trophy room with other mounts.
That being said you can probably achieve some decent success with the more modern freezers. They basically "freeze dry" anything you put in them. The "frost free" freezers remove so much moisture. I actually look for the older freezers to put heads and skins in as the ears don`t dry out when turning and fleshing prior to tanning.
I liberally sprinkled powdered borax on my velvet buck’s antlers right after caping him out. Then I periodically did it again while I was mounting him. When I finished the mount, I used a blow dryer to remove the borax. That was over decade ago, and the velvet still looks like the day I shot him.
Taxidermy supply houses sell velvet tan always has worked for me.
Listen to butcherboy.....freezing it does NOT prevent bugs from getting into them.
i use formalin. i inject it if its still soft. if its hard i will brush on the outside then freeze. i do this about 3 times and then let it dry.. works very good.
I inject them with formalin as soon as I can. If I have room, I will then freeze them for as long as I can. When they are thawed out and ready to mount, I soak them in acetone for a few days. Then after they are mounted, I spray them down with a commercial moth proofer. Overkill? Since I don't have a freeze dryer, I do what has always worked.
Velvet has a ton of blood in it. Freeze drying is good but also should be put in a vacuum chamber to pull all the blood out prior to freeze drying. This will give professional results. IMO if you leave any blood in, there will always be a risk for bugs.
Here is a picture of a rack in the vacuum chamber. You can see all the blood pulling out.
^^ Yep, just released the vacuum and put more antlers in my freeze dryer yesterday. Will be adding more turkey turkey heads soon as well.
Thanks Dennis- always wondered how that worked! Had my caribou antlers freeze dried back in 2005 and have not had any issues.
A 9 pound bucket of powdered borax costs about $25, and will last for a few dozen velvet antlers. It works great on turkey fans as well. Heck, you can even do entire mounts, without tanning the cape, with the stuff.
I’m surprised more folks aren’t familiar with it.
Grey Ghost: I used salt and borax on a turkey "hide" and preserved the entire thing, not just the fan. I live in a dry climate but it's been nearly 20 years and still fine. Still I don't know if I'd do that as a "professional" taxidermist as there are no guarantees.
I learned the borax wet-mounting method from a professional taxidermist who has been doing it for decades. I’ve done the tanning method too, and I much prefer the borax method. It’s cheaper, easier, and less time consuming. The quality and longevity of both methods are equal in my experience.
Very interesting GG. I guess that explains why I've had good luck with my turkey hide.
Think it depends how close to shedding velvet on how much blood is in velvet. Had a caribou more than 20 yrs now velvet looks perfect yet. this one was small and very close to shedding. just let it dry on its own. 2 yrs later got a bigger caribou rack little earlier, so much more blood. hung horns upside down for couple days and took a small nail and poked a hole in each antler tip and I`d milk out the blood. then put in freezer for maybe a month. take out for a couple days only( as to not spoil) and poke and milk out blood again , back in freezer. After a few repeats of this process each time less blood. after close to a year took out of freezer rubbed borax on them. Now 20 yrs later looks the same. Realize its what a professional would do. But I`m a do it your selfer.