How to Prepare your Deer Skull for a European Mount by Mohunter

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How to Prepare your Deer Skull for a European Mount by Mohunter

Post by Daywalker on Wed Nov 24, 2010 1:02 am

Written by Mohunter

Start by skinning the skull out. All hide and ears, nose, everything needs to come off. The idea is to get the skull down to bear bone. A razor knife works well for skinning if you don't have a good sharp knife.

Once I get it started, it helps to hang it from something like a rafter in your garage or shed so your hands will be free to do the skinning. If you can't hang it, just lay it on a table. I used a small work bench covered with cardboard and some old rags to get my skinning started, then hung it from a rafter in the garage.

After the skin has been removed, the eyeballs need to come out. I used a pair of forceps to hold onto the edge of the skin around the eye while I used a small fillet knife to reach into the eye socket and trim the eyeball out. A pair of needle nose pliers will also work.

After the eyeballs are removed, then the lower jaw needs to be seperated from the skull. This is kind of tricky and you will have to work at it, but just keep trimming and prying until the lower jaw is removed.

This is what it will look like once the lower jaw has been removed.

Next you need to remove the brains, and I didn't take any pics of that part. Basically you need to find a spot just above the hole where the spinal cord entered the brain cavity, then take a hack saw or bone saw and cut just above that opening. This will make the hole bigger so the brain can be removed. I know it's nasty, but it must be done before boiling.
Try to remove as little bone from the skull as possible, it's much better to cut too little than too much! Because you can't put it back once it's been removed.

After that is done, you need to trim, trim, and trim some more any meat or tissue that you possibly can. Try to get the skull as clean and meat/tissue free as possible before boiling, this will make the process go much quicker and easier if you get it as clean as possible before going into the pot.

Now it's time to put it in a pot of water. I used an old canning pot that I use to boil my traps in before trapping season each year. I placed a rock in the bottom of the pot so the nose of my skull wouldn't touch the bottom of the pot where the heat source is. This also keeps the head more level to the point where the skull can be covered with water, and not the rack. Ideally you don't want any part of the rack submerged in the boiling water, but a little bit of it will be. Just keep the water level between the tip of the skull and the base of the rack.
Add about 4 tablespoons of Borax and simmer on a stove top or a turkey fryer stand. The same one you use for smelting lead wheel weights, that's what I used. I recommend you don't do this in the house! Your wife will ban you from ever bringing another deer home again! affraid Shocked

The idea here is.........and this is Very Important! Do Not bring to a Hard Boil.
You want to simmer it, rather than boil too hard because hard boiling is what deteriorates the bone and makes it brittle. A slow soft boil is what your looking for. If your using a turkey fryer/propane cooker like I will require the lowest possible setting on the flame adjustment that you can manage without the flame going out. If need be, and your water is boiling too may need to place some bricks or pieces of steel under the edge of your pot to get it up away from the flame in order to keep the temp down. Be careful if you do this that you don't spill hot boiling water all over yourself and get burned or scalded!
I am Not Responsible for any accidents occured during this process! Use common sense and Be Careful!!!
You just want to boil long enough until the tissue has all fallen off, or is able to be scraped off and No Longer. You don't want to boil any longer than absolutely necessary because the longer it boils the more brittle the bone becomes. Be patient, check your water level periodically, add more when necessary and check the skull often.
This boiling process may take all day long, it may only take half a day, it will vary from one skull to another. If you can't get it done in one day, then shut it off and finish it up the next day. It won't hurt it to sit in the water overnight.

Good Luck!

Feel free to ask any questions if you get stuck and need help.


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Re: How to Prepare your Deer Skull for a European Mount by Mohunter

Post by dartfreak75 on Wed Nov 24, 2010 9:08 pm

thanks man il let you know how it goes!

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