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European mounts

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Does anybody know who does good work on European mounts? Preferably with the real skulls. I found a guy in the paper last year doing them for $75 but cant seem to find him again this year. Any help would be appreciated.
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   Lil Hank
This may be out of your area range but, Rhode's Taxidermy does awesome european mounts. He is located in Napoleonville. Thats like 45 mins from Baton Rouge. He also charges $75 as of last year. I can get more information for you if you'd like.
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   cmacks
Any info on that guy would help. If anything a phone number.
Thank you
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   sowtrout1
You can do this yourself- place the skull/antlers in an ant pile, cover with pig wire to keep the dogs from carrying it away. 1 week later the meat is gone, soak the skull only in water/bleach mix overnight. Attach to a plaque and presto!
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   cmacks
I would like to learn how to do it. My only thing is that this is the largest deer i have killed w/my bow and i dont want to ruin it. I dont know how often i can get to my camp to get it out of the ant pile. will it ruin if i leave it 3-4 weeks in the pile? Or will this make the horns fade?
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   Lil Hank
Here is the phone # to Rhodes, (985) 369-6582. Like I said I'm pretty sure he charges $75 for the European. He did a buddy of mines one and it came out great.
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CSMACKS:

I can't remember the exact issue (late last year or early this year), but Louisiana Sportsman did a very detailed article by Todd Masson on doing a skull mount.

It's using the boiling/bleaching method and I recommend it better than the ant pile trick. If you use ants, the length of time varies and the skull is subject to varying weather conditions. This can cause degedation of the bone and cause other problems such as mold and staining.

The absolute best method is to use a taxidermist that uses dermestid beetles to eat away all the flesh without causing any bone/teeth damage. The skulls are then bleached white with special chemicals. The process is more expensive- about $150 for a whitetail, but produces museum quality skull mounts.

However, you can produce very good skull mounts using the boil/bleach method outlined in the article mentioned above. So if you don't mind a little work, get the back issue of the Sportsman and do it yourself.

Let me know if you have any questions.
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   cmacks
Thanks Chris,and Lil Hank, I will check it out and figure out how I will do it.
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   snake
Alton LaPrairie in Deville does real good skull mounts. I just brought him the head of the deer I killed earlier this year and he had a skull mount on the wall that he just finished. It looked great. I think he said he charges $60 to do one.
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i do them all the time....i cut away as much meat as i can....then i take a gas pressure washer for about 20 minutes and it peels the meat right off the bone....your going to get wet so wear a rainsuit...then i boil it it peroxide for about 30 minutes,but not the horns, they will turn white,... then i let it dry in the sun for about 2 or 3 days and spray it with some satin finish clear coat....not hard at all..!!
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I can't see how a pressure washer wouldn't damage all of the delicate nasal bones and cartilage, they break easily enough when just touching them. However, if it works for you that's great.
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   sniper2
I been wonderin how to do that too. i tried to do one of those mounts but i couldn't really get the meat all of the way off . the pressure washer does make sense though.
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i pull the cartilidge out with a pair of long needle nose pliers and if you boil it to long the bones at the end of the nose can fall out,but you can glue them back in very easily...mine look great,thats all i have is skull mounts and the idea came from a buddy of mine that got tired of paying for them..!!
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   Carl
Hey cmacks, call this number- 1-800-295-9553. Its John Coombs taxidermy out of Baton Rouge. Excellent work! Tell em Carl sent ya! Good luck.
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   TAZDOG1
hey frog still trying to picture you from hunting with us .cableas offers a european mounting kits . i got one still waiting to try it out.
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   cmacks
Let me know how it works. you might not remember me, i was 12 or 13 when i hunted there and went up for "Hogs Day".
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   Drewberry
I do them myself and they turn our great. Here is what you do. Break off the lower jawbone and remove all skin from skull. Get a chain and lock. Lock your skull to a tree for 4-8 weeks and no you don’t need to put it in an ant pile. Flies will do the trick. Once they lay their eggs and maggots are produced it only takes a few days for them to eat away all flesh of any kind. Now that the skull has been removed of any organic matter and it has had a chance to dry you are ready for step 2. You will need a dremel tool. Get your dremel tool, put on a sanding bit and grind away any left over skin, dried meat, or anything else. Once all final residues are removed get a polishing brush and polish the entire skull. Next get a hair drier and blow away any powder residue. The last stage is to get some clear acrylic NON YELLOWING spray and give the entire skull and horns a coat. After drying you may want to give a 2nd or 3rd quote. This makes the entire mount shiny. There you go.
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DREWBERRY::YOU GOT TO BE KIDDING(YOU BOYS MUST BE SMOKEING SOMETHING)
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joe coombs in in loranger la. I use his forms, he has the best anywhere.
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Here's another method and all it takes is time. Tie a rope around the antlers then attach to a dock or wharf and chunk the whole head into the bayou or river and let the crabs, river shrimp and minows do the cleaning. I did my 9 pt in the Atchafalaya River in Patterson. Threw it in around mid Novemeber and picked it up every week or two to check on it. In Feb. it was picked clean. Put it in the sun and sprayed some bleach solution on just the skull every few days for about a week. The water did whiten the antlers some but some brown shoe polish got it looking natural again. I wouldn't want to try that with a big trophy but for some average racks, it makes a good mount.
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   scotth
As the cost of taxidermy increases I have not been able to justify mounting many animals theses days. As a result I’ve started mounting mine own European skull mounts. The first skull mount I made was from a small Manitoba black bear I shot on a spring hunt. Every time I think about that experience it makes me laugh. An excited young hunter who has just killed his first bear often has some trouble thinking about any thing other than the sheer excitement he just experienced. For me anyway, the euphoria of the kill lasted two days. Being in this condition around seasoned hunters opens your self up to all sorts of leg pulling and ribbing. It was about 9:00 PM the sky bright with the spring sun still giving our bear camp some evening light. I prepared the stove to boil the skinned skull and once the water boiled, I tossed the skull in and started to wait. After a couple hours I asked my guide Ed how long it would take to boil out the brain. “What a green antler question.” I thought; too late, I’d blurted it out already. Ed looked at me with the most serious face he could muster and said “dem black bear are smart and have a lot on der mind; so it take long time.” At this response the rest of my party burst out laughing giving me no choice but to join in. Around 3:00 AM I finished boiling the skull and had to agree with Ed “dem bear did have lots on der mind.”

Skin the severed head. Working from the lower jaw first works best. Remove the lower jaw, tongue and large pieces of meat.

photo by Kristi Schlueter

Since then I’ve made many more skull mounts for myself and others. Through trial and error as well as advice from a taxidermist, they are starting to look pretty good. If you like do-it-yourself projects then this entry-level taxidermy project is perfect for you. There are a few tricks to mounting a skull, most of which I’ll try to point out as we go. But for the most part it is very easy and inexpensive to do. It does however eat up a fair amount of the day. Usually about six hours working time and another day to dry the skull out.

Ingredients

The ingredients you’ll need are:

1. Deer head preferably deceased

2. Stove (It’s best to boil the skull on an outside stove so you don’t stink your house up with hydogen peroxide and boiling skin. I use a camping stove, which I bought for $12.50 at a flea market)

3. Cauldron (must be large enough to completely submerge the skinned deer head.

4. Two 15oz. Bottles of Hydrogen Peroxide

5. Aluminum Foil to wrap the antlers

6. The desire to stand around a dead deer head boiling in water all day.
Now that you have all the required materials here’s the method.

Double Trouble, Toil And Bubble

First place the skull in boiling water for four hours at which time remove any loose meat and tissue with pliers. It is also helpful to use a garden hose to remove the brain and nasal organs. (left). Then, cover the antlers with aluminum foil to prevent them from changing color and boil them in a mixture of water and hydrogen peroxide (right).

photo by Kristi Schlueter

Start by filling the cauldron with water at least high enough to completely cover the deer skull. Set it on the stove to boil. It will take some time before the water boils so now start shinning the head. Start with the head upside down and cut the skin under the jaw towards the front teeth. Continue skinning and pulling the hide down until the antlers prevent more skinning make a “Y” shaped cut connecting the antlers and continue down the back of the head. The exact skinning procedure is not important as long as you don’t scratch up the skull with your knife. Once the skin is removed set it aside and cut away the lower jaw. Again try not to gouge the skull. Also there is a thin bone that runs from the eye socket to the skull right beneath the antler, don’t break it. With the skull separated from jaw remove as much meat from the head as possible. Be careful around the eyes, as they are mostly water and squirt when punctured. With the skull now ready for the pot wrap the horns in aluminum foil. This will prevent the antlers from discoloring in the hot steam and the Hydrogen peroxide.

"It is best not to coat the skull with polyurethane or acrylic since over time these coatings will turn yellow."

Place the skull in the boiling water. Keep the water as hot as possible and check the flame often to make sure it doesn’t go out. You will also need to add about 2 inches of boiling water every forty-five minutes. By adding hot water to replace what evaporates the skull will stay hot and you won’t need to waste fuel bringing the water to boil again. After about 4 hr. depending on the stove temperature most of the meat can be easily removed. Use a plastic brush to scrub the loose flesh off and a knife to cut any stubborn pieces. The skin and hair around the bases of the antlers will also come off easily now. A garden hose helps to get brain and nasal tissue out. Carefully poke the nasal tissue out of the skull with an arrow shaft. Be careful when removing this tissue, as the bones in the face will be loosened and soft. Now empty the cauldron of all the dirty water, clean it, and bring the pot back to boil. Add two bottles of hydrogen peroxide and return the cleaned skull to boil for another hour or two. There is no definitive time for bleaching. You will have to inspect the bone and when it appears white, remove it and let it dry. If you let the skull boil to long in the hydrogen peroxide water mixture the bone will dissolve. Unfortunately the small bones around the nose are the first to go. So watch it carefully.

Drying and Mounting

The skull is now ready to be mounted on the object of your choosing.

photo by len eder

Once bleached to satisfaction and all the meat has been removed let the skull dry in a warm dry place. It will take about 10hrs. In my experience it is best not to coat the skull with polyurethane or acrylic since over time these coatings turn yellow. Also try not to set the trophy in the sun as that will also turn the skull yellow. Mount the rack on a dark plaque to highlight the bright white skull and you are done. I use a single large wood bolt to secure the skull to the plaque. Measure the plaque and determine where you want to place the skull and drill a hole through the wood and skull. Insert the bolt and enjoy your new trophy. As with anything practice makes perfect and you will learn as you go. If you had a taxidermist do this work it usually runs about $100.00. If you get too good at it all your buddies will want one.

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I did something pretty close to what you did. Except I pit in the flooded timber and let the crawfish take care of it.
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   eman(R)
see jan 05 issue of lsmag pgs 39-41
used this method on 8 pt for a friend , it came out very well.
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   Dooleyjr
Here's my 2 cents and what I do. Skin the head and remove as much meat as possible. Place head in a container that you can submerge entire skull but not the antlers. Submerge skull in plain water for about 7-10 days and then wash with waterhose. place skull back in fresh water for onother week and you can remove everything with a waterhose. Mix basic white bleach and 40% peroxide to a paste mixture(you can find these at any beauty supply shop). Paint mixture on skull then wrap in a plastic bag for a couple days. If not white enough bleach again. I did this to a buffalo skull and it came out great. GOOD LUCK
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