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Question: How to prepare a bucks cap for keeps

Discussion in 'Bucks and Does' started by Tony B., Oct 4, 2005.

  1. I took a decent buck on the second day of the season and was wondering from some of you more experienced hunters what to do with the skull cap and antlers to preserve it? I certainly would appreciate any help or advice you can give me!!! Thank you in advance. Lucky beginner!!!
  2. I soak mine in peroxide to loosen up any remaining meat etc. then scrape it clean and let it dry. Some guys like to paint the skull white but I prefer to leave it natural. If I am mounting it on a plaque I will seal the skull with my polyurethane top coat. As far as the antllers don't do a thing to them. If you need any more info let me know. By the way they make a kit to mount the rack/skullcap that you could do yourself. I think Cabelas has them.

  3. Soaking in water will give the same results as peroxide. It just allows the meat to rot. A cleaner way (with less stink) is to cut away as much meat as possible from the skull cap (after removing the skin). Then lightly coat the skull cap with borax. After a week or so, it should be dry. I like to then use a Dremel tool with a Roto Zip bit and clean all remaining tissue away. A sanding drum is MUCH safer to use than the Roto Zip bit is. This will remove ALL of the tissue which is what dermestids key in on. This is how I prep all skull plates before mounting. Nothing else needs, or should, be done to the skull cap or antlers. I'm not certain the reason for the polyurethane. About all it's going to do is turn yellow with time.
  4. DrZ


    I’m in the middle of making my first European skull mount. Anyone ever do one of these? (The whole skull on a plaque) I did some research and found a lot of conflicting information about how to do it. Everything from boiling the skull in special solutions to burying it in the garden for six months, putting it in a bucket of water for a few weeks and letting the meat rot off, pressure washing off mostly rotten meat and of course the use of beetles. I opted to boil the skull with a small amount of detergent for a few hours (detergent cuts the fat and grease and keeps it from soaking into the bone and yellowing). I then spent a few hours with screw drivers, knives, pieces of wire, and forceps removing all of the flesh from the skull. The sinus cavities and the area around the spine took the longest. Right now the skull is clean. Hopefully tonight I will have time to bleach it out and whiten it up with peroxide. I plan to mount it on a three piece plaques like this:
  5. For future reference, boiling is the worst way to to it. Not that it won't work, but it can very easily ruin the bone structure. It will also cook the grease into the bone, and detergent won't stop it. There are typically two accepted methods for cleaning skulls. Maceration and beetles. Beetles require a lot of upkeep and it's easier to just send it to a professional. Maceration is the method in which the skull is soaked in water and the flesh is allowed to rot away. It's a smelly way to do it, but it gives great results, maybe even better than beetles. Absolutley DO NOT use bleach on it. It will eat the bone. It should probably be degreased before whitening. Soak in some water/dish soap for a few days and rinse. Then whiten with peroxide. 40% from the beauty salon is the fastest, but 3% from the drug store will work fine and is safer. Pour enough in an old pot to submerge the skull, (do not get on the antler bases) and leave it there for about a week. Afterward, take out, rinse, and let it dry in the sun.
  6. DrZ


    Maceration sounds gross. I just don't think I could handle the smell. Have you done it that way? How long do you leave it in the bucket of water? Do the brains and sinuses just disappear out of the skull or do you need to pick out rotten smelly meat? Thanks for the tips on bleaching and degreasing.
  7. It is. It needs to be done downwind from any residence. ;) How long will depend on conditions. Obviously, the warmer it is the faster it will rot. Typically, it can be left in the water for a couple weeks. The loose flesh can then be removed, then the skull is put into some fresh water and the process is done again. Sometimes it will take a few times. The brains can be worked loose using a wire coat hanger or something similar. This can be done before the soaking. The sinus tissue can be removed with water pressure once it's rotted. Actually, most of the meat can be removed with water pressure once rotted. I forgot to mention, as much meat as possible should be removed before going in the water. It just makes things faster. When the water is poured, it should be strained, as the teeth will fall out and will need glued back in. If the teeth don't fall out, there's still tissue in there. This sure isn't the fastest or most appealing way to do skulls, but it gives the most professional results. I used to have a skull that would show what can happen when boiling and bleach are used. But, in was so bad that I pitched it.
  8. I do nothing to skull caps - I just add them to the collection in the barn :D

    They look fine to me with fur still on screwed to the rafters! I suppose if you want them on display inside the home this lazy method just won't work for you :D
  9. DrZ


    Well, I never brought the pot to a full boil, I just simmered it and I won't use bleach. Hopefully it will turn out OK. Maybe someday when I get some land I will try the rotten head soup trick.
  10. If using the "cooking" method, simmering is definitely the way to go. Many people only boil and claim to have good results, and I'm sure they do. I have as well. But, there's usually grease cooked into the bone, and it only takes one skull ruined from boiling to teach me a lesson. :D
  11. I did a skull this summer of a hog that I killed in Florida. I simmered it just long enough to loosen the remaining meat,brain tissue, etc. then used a pressure washer to clean it up. It worked really well. Be careful not to use too much pressure or overcook it.
  12. Guys, thanks for the response...but now I'm more confused than ever. Currently my skull cap is hanging with most the meat cut off from a tree in my back yard!!! It is attracting a few flies!!!! Hurry up and freeze. My wife says to go with "senior member".

    I am leaning toward the peroxide method.
  13. No need to worry. Nothing can go wrong with it. It just may smell a little. ;) Get a box of borax from the grocery store and it'll be dried up in no time. No need to mess with the peroxide unless you want to whiten the skull cap, after it's been cleaned. We got a little off track from your original question. We got to talking about full skull mounts, which require more work. I've long since finished all my mounts from last year, so I don't have any racks in process. But, if you interested I probably have a cleaned skull cap I could snap a picture of. This will show what it will look like when clean.
  14. M. Magis,

    Thank you for the invite of a picture, but I have seen plenty, no need to do that. I am good now thanks to your advice! I just did not want to do something to screw it up. Best wishes to you and thanks again. Happy Huntn'

    Tony B. :p
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