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  1. #1
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    Default Boiling alternatives for euro mount

    I know before many of you tell me that boiling is quicker and easier. My problem is that even if I found the time, my lower back and pinched nerve wouldn't allow me to do it anyway. For years I have read about burying the skulls and I have recently read that putting in a bag with a fee holes and let maggots eat it. What have you guys tried and what has or hasn't worked. Thanks for any insight.

    Also, is temperature a factor? With winter coming on I was wondering what effect that had.
    Self proclaimed Founder, President, and Spiritual Leader of the I.S.V.F......Introduce Speedgoats to Virginia Foundation

  2. #2

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    You can use a power washer but it will take away some of the finer bones.
    You can't get lost if you don't care where you are going.

  3. #3
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    Default

    If you do it right, there is very little effort involved. I don't like to let the water boil, keep it just under.
    Fear the beard....

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    Not Virginia anymore!
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    Default

    I have a buddy that has buried and a soaked a few. I think it took several months. He didn't whiten the skulls he buried because he likes the weathered (i.e., rotten) look. Not sure how they would have turned out if he would have spent a little time cleaning and whitening them.

    Usually everything takes longer in the winter. Don't know why this would be any different.

  5. #5

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    I macerated one bobcat skull in a bucket of water, letting it sit for about 3 months. It produced quite the bouquet when I took the lid off. It worked, but the skull just kind of falls apart. Teeth fell out, small bones, etc. Had to glue it all back together.

  6. #6
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    Sep 2014
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    Default

    Can you buy beetles?
    Self proclaimed Founder, President, and Spiritual Leader of the I.S.V.F......Introduce Speedgoats to Virginia Foundation

  7. #7
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    Default

    Do some research on beetles. You'll find they are a lotta' work - temp is a factor.....
    As far as boiling goes, raise your entire operation to a height that is "comfortable" to you. An ungulate, bear, lion, furbearer skull can be completely done in a few hours.
    Nameless Range uses beer to make it more tolerable........

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    Not Virginia anymore!
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    Quote Originally Posted by onpoint View Post
    As far as boiling goes, raise your entire operation to a height that is "comfortable" to you. An ungulate, bear, lion, furbearer skull can be completely done in a few hours.
    He speaks the truth. I did three in the same pot last night. All told, I probably only spent a little over an hour picking the skulls clean. Let the soda ash, patience, and beer do the work.

  9. Default

    Soda ash? You add that to the boiling water pot? Or just below boiling water pot.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    Default

    What good would it do not in the pot?

  11. #11

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    I simmer my skulls but I keep a bin of meal worms growing for my fishing business. They go through the whole cycle, worm to pupae to beetle. Easy to raise and good bait for panfish. They go dormant if they get cold. They will clean a skull but it takes a long time. With antelope I think you still need to slip the horns, beetles or worms will eat them.

  12. #12

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    Have some on the BBQ right now. First round with borax and dawn 3-4 hours just below boiling. Take a pressure washer to them. Clean the pot and another two hours just below boiling with borax and a bottle of 40 volume developer in the water.. protect the brown on the second go around or keep the water below the antlers then touch up detail with pure 40 volume to finish.

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    These are from this year.
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    Have not tried the let it rot in the water, just not that brave. Buried my lope from last year as a practice and it looked terrible. Beetles are a pain unless you plan to do it for a living.

  13. #13

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    If it stayed too cold this year to use the garden hose and pressure washer I was going to do a mountain Mikes skull. They look as real as anything else, it's just getting past the though of cutting the antlers off... But hey, you kind of do that on lopes anyway.
    https://masterofskulls.com/store/sku...ount-kit-deer/
    DISCLAIMER: Many of my posts are made via phone, aurocorrect and tiny keyboards are my enemy....
    http://www.predatoroptics.com/
    http://theronoptics.com

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
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    Western Colorado
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Quackillr View Post
    Have some on the BBQ right now. First round with borax and dawn 3-4 hours just below boiling. Take a pressure washer to them. Clean the pot and another two hours just below boiling with borax and a bottle of 40 volume developer in the water.. protect the brown on the second go around or keep the water below the antlers then touch up detail with pure 40 volume to finish.

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    These are from this year.
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    Have not tried the let it rot in the water, just not that brave. Buried my lope from last year as a practice and it looked terrible. Beetles are a pain unless you plan to do it for a living.


    Nice work, sir! I've boiled several deer, elk and pronghorn skulls in a large pot on the side burner of the outdoor grill, but the pot isn't big enough for complete immersion of an elk head. I need a bigger bucket like the one you've shown.

    Oh yea, beautiful antlers and horns, congratulations.

  15. #15

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    If you want to speed the boiling process up dramatically place the skull inside a couple plastic garbage bags in a safe spot from dogs and any critters that can get to it. Antelope sized skulls/horns I often place under a metal garbage can and put a giant rock on top of it. Obviously cut off as much of the hair, hide, and meat as possible before placing in the garbage bag. You want the plastic bags wrapped tight so the meat doesn't dry out. If you live in a dry area and want to speed up the process soak the skull in water before putting inside the garbage bags. The warmer the temperature....the better. If it's hot out you may only need to wait a few days...if colder it will take longer for the meat to rot. If you want a gross mess you can allow flies to get inside the bag and maggots will speed up the process. Your wife and neighbors may not like the smell...so keep that in consideration when figuring out where to store the skull for a few days...to a week.

    Once the meat has rotted it will nearly flake off the skull. Most of the antelope horns I've done this way pop off the skull without even boiling. I used this same process on a bighorn sheep skull a couple months ago and didn't have to boil the horns to remove them from the skull....I merely slammed the skull on a thick piece of carpet on the garage cement floor and the horns broke loose. Depending on how warm it's been and the length of time you allow the skull to rot...it may only take a matter of a few hours to boil the skull. The nice thing about using this process is you don't need to boil the horns on the skull because they pop off. The horns won't discolor and have rings around their bases like happens when you boil the horns on the skulls before popping them off. Good luck!

  16. #16

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    You never want to boil a skull, just get it steaming and let time do the work. I imagine having beetles would be great but the work involved in keeping them happy is way more work that simmering a skull once in a while.

    I've buried them and hung them in trees but the end result is always compromised. Simmer and soak in 35% hydrogen peroxide......

  17. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mdunc8 View Post
    What good would it do not in the pot?
    Ha! The water just below boiling, not the ash below the pot.

    Is borax the same thing as ash?

  18. #18

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    We've found leaving the hair on for the first part of the boil makes it easier to get most of the cartilage off of the skull at once. After a short boil the hide will pull off and take the meat and cartilage with it leaving less to simmer away. Never put the peroxide in the water for the simmer though. Just soak the skull in the peroxide after for a couple of days.

  19. #19

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    I just stuck my elk head up in a pinion this year & kinda forgot about it. Never skinned it either. I was going to do the whole NM up on a roof or tree for a few years deal, but the antlers would bleach out too much . And I lost a deer head to predators last year.
    I've boiled a few deer & pig heads.
    Heard you could just bury one in an ant nest here,but you have to stake it down & maybe put a fence around it to keep coyotes & badgers away.
    Guess this time of year would be good time to dig up a NM fire ant nest,if there is a good time...lol

  20. #20

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    I've done the cold water mastication, and it works but it's much less enjoyable than just boiling.

    Also more of a pain since it's usually right before winter so it takes much longer vs when there is warmer weather. Lower temps limit the replication/spread of bacteria, which is the whole concept of doing it this way.

    I've had good success boiling it. Just as others have said, don't have a roaring boil, just a simmer will get it done.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Piedmont region of North Carolina
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    1,741

    Default

    I use a 50 cal ammo can to simmer whitetail and antelope skulls positioned over a Coleman burner unit with two stacks of brick to elevate the can. The can is wide enough to allow the skull down far enough and will catch on the horns/antlers. Position it level and stabilize with masking tape running from the headgear to narrow side of the can, then bring the water level up as high as needed. Following that you can use the same technique for soaking in the peroxide solution. All that's left is cleaning out the braincase and removing the nasal cartilage.
    Everything will be alright in the end. If it is not alright, then it is not yet the end.

    Dol dh'iarruidh an fhortain do North Carolina.

  22. Default

    I clean head of as much I can , put in wash tub with water and borax bring to slow boil for about 2-3 hrs take out and power wash. Go to local beauty parlor and purchase peroxide they use for bleaching hair don't use peroxide from drug store it is not strong enough also buy the women's hair bleach (usually is a powder) don't use bleach from shore it is not strong enough. Mix peroxide and bleach into a paste, paint on with cheap 1-2 inch paint brush let set for about 2-3 hrs wash off and you are done don't get bleach on antlers. This method has worked really well for me. 4-5 hours and you are done

  23. #23

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    The local taxi I use does a skull mount for $100. Plaques that the skull is mounted too come from the shop class at the local high school. Its well worth it to me to pay the money.

    schmalts mentioned mountain mikes skull kits. I've done 3 with the kits and I think they turned out pretty good. Two that I did with the kits are in the picture below.

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  24. #24

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    Another tip that really worked well for me last year is to use an air compressor and blow out the nasal cavity and other gummy places WHILE THE NOZZLE IS UNDERWATER. It takes a few tries to learn not to do it too close to the water surface, but hey, that's the fun of learning. Here is a picture of it straight from simmering and blowing.

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    Last edited by nuevo_eph; 12-06-2017 at 05:16 PM.

  25. #25

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    Here's my method, for what it's worth. 1 cup Oxy Clean in simmering water for half hour. Change water, another cup Oxy Clean, @ quarter cup Dawn dish soap for another half hour. After that, break out thin nasal bones, hose it out with garden hose @ your done. No need to whiten. Buddy 's daughter is a taxidermist with beetles, and I get as good a result for 4 bucks. Would post pics but technology not my friend ! Oh, make sure you wrap antler burrs, will slightly discolor them if left uncovered.

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