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Ca_Vermonster's picture
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Location: San Diego, CA
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I think it looks better than

I think it looks better than that simple skull......

Joined: 10/25/2010
Posts: 4

My son whined long enough to get the Wife to OK him getting dermistid beetles.  These little rascals clean all the meat off the bone, including brain and eyes, etc while not harming the bone at all.  He's cleaning off a skull in about 3-4 days now, and has finished a couple this fall that have been sitting since last year.  They really work well with no work.  Might have someone around your area that uses these.

hawkeye270's picture
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Location: Fort Collins, CO
Joined: 06/15/2008
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Dermestid beetles work great.

Dermestid beetles work great. That is what museums and a lot of taxidermists use. How much did those set you back and where did you get them? I think someone told me that you can just buy them online and they will ship them to you. Seems kind of wierd but if they stay alive than that would be pretty nice. What do you keep them in and are you able to keep them alive year round? Do they reproduce in whatever you keep them in so you have a renewable supply? This might be the way to go from here on out. I do a lot of European mounts and it might be worth a shot.

CVC's picture
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Location: Kansas
Joined: 03/04/2006
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The beetles do work great but

The beetles do work great but I wonder how much and how often you have to feed them to keep them alive?  Using beetles is my preferred method over boiling a skull.  I found a place that isn't too expensive that I can ship the skull to or use my taxidermist who takes them to OK.

gatorfan's picture
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Location: Chula Vista, CA
Joined: 10/01/2010
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I did my first bow killed

I did my first bow killed buck by myself.  I cleaned all of the fur and flesh off that I could with a knife and then put it outside in an anthill.  I left it there for about a month and then brought it back out and pressure-washed it.  After pressure washing, I soaked it in a water/bleach mix for a couple of days (taking it out each day to change the mixture). 

Since then I have learned that peroxide and water mixture is better.

Also, the other thing that I learned was that you have to make sure not to let the water mixture get on any part of the antlers.  My set had about an inch of bleached out bone that should be brown.  Live and learn.

Overall, it turned out pretty good for a first-timer!

I have also purchased a couple of the cheap DIY kits from Cabelas.  If I remember right, they are only $20-25 and are fairly easy to do.  They come with the plaque, skull cover, and some decorative pieces that you can use.  I enjoyed doing it myself and was pretty happy with the result!


cscott711's picture
Location: Michigan
Joined: 11/22/2010
Posts: 101
I've only had one european

I've only had one european mount done and it was done with dermestid beetles.  It turned out great!  However, if you were looking to keep the cost as cheap as possible, I would do what others have said.  Set it in a bucket of water but keep the antlers out as they could stain if they are sitting in water too long.  Leave it in there for a few days and then the hide will pull off pretty easily.  Then I would boil it for at least 45 minutes (keeping the antlers out of the water) and get some long tweezers or plyers to start picking all the fun stuff out of it.  I've seen a cool looking metal hanger in the latest Eastman's Bowhunter's Journal which would make for a cool looking euro.

hunter25's picture
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Location: Colorado western slope
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I have done many european

I have done many european mounts learning as I go. I have a few light spots on some antlers from getting carried away trying to soak the head in peroxide.

I foud out that some beauty salons carry peroxide in a gel form that works much better. It's called 20 30 or 40 volume instead of peroxide but it's the same thing. the 40 stands for 12% peroxide solution. Tape the lower part of your antlers, paint it on and set it in front of a little heater and it will be done in less than half an hour.

I then sometimes hang some feathers or rawhide strips off the antlers for an extra touch.

groovy mike's picture
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Joined: 03/19/2009
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ratting antlers

If you don't want to mount the rack for display you could always just keep teh antlers to rattle with. Just another option, but around here 10 point racks are pretty rare....

arrowflipper's picture
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Joined: 01/03/2011
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ant hill

Another method of cleaning a skull, is putting it on an ant hill and leaving it for a month or so.  It will be clean and white.  Just think, you're feeding the ants at the same time they are cleaning your skull.  It's a win, win situation.

As has been mentioned, boiling the skull is the fastest way.  Just don't over-boil it.  I've seen a skull boiled so long the teeth fall out.  Maybe you don't want the teeth, but I'd still watch it carefully.

If you want a European mount, keep just the top half of the skull and buy a European Mount kit from Cabela's or Bass Pro Shop.  Another option that I saw and really liked was the metal skull plate that has been mentioned here.  I think it looks great.  I tried to find some pictures of one but couldn't find them.  I'm not sure where my friend got his, but it's kind of a Gothic look. 

Whatever you do, keep those antlers and enjoy them.

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