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I want to do a european mount. I don't want to do the boiling because I don't think my stomach or my neighbours could handle the smell. I have heard a few alternatives that I have never tried but sound like they may be worth a try. Reviews also say n

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  • I want to do a european mount. I don't want to do the boiling because I don't think my stomach or my neighbours could handle the smell. I have heard a few alternatives that I have never tried but sound like they may be worth a try. Reviews also say n

    I want to do a european mount. I don't want to do the boiling because I don't think my stomach or my neighbours could handle the smell. I have heard a few alternatives that I have never tried but sound like they may be worth a try. Reviews also say no cracking. 1\. Put the head in a secure container with holes so that flies can get in but no other animals. Doing that will cause maggots to get in and clean the meat clean off the skull. 2\. Completely emerse the head in water and let it sit for a few weeks. A bacteria will develop which will clean the meat right off the skull. I live in the city so I don't want to annoy my neighbours too badly. And I don't want to damage my trophy. Any advice is welcome.

  • #2
    Did you check to see how the Europeans do it?


    • #3
      So you can buy the beetles and in large numbers so that you don't have to deal with flies and maggots, it's better than dealing with rotting flesh.

      It costs more, but a skull can be clean in a couple of days.


      • #4
        I've done it with bleach. Set it in a plastic container filled with enough bleach to cover skull. Don't get any on the antlers and keep checking back on it every hour or so to scrape off any hanging meat. Bleach loses effectiveness depending on how nasty or clean the skull is so change it out if it goes flat. Have had a bone white skull in as little as 3 hours. You have to be diligent with it and when it's clean rinse it thoroughly with cold water. If your too lazy to scrape meat when it comes loose it might not be the right method.


        • #5
          Not to be too flippant, but based on your circumstances and criteria, I'd say you have two good options: Photoshop, or taking it to a taxidermist and paying the $75


          • #6
            Boiling is easily overdone. I boil my not so trophy mulies and coyotes and have definitely damaged a couple to the point of not saving them. The bone can separate, plus you still have to pick flesh out afterwards which causes a lot of damage to the nasal cavity and thinner bone.

            Maggots can, and most likely will, do quite a bit of damage to the bone as well. Most euro guys will charge you extra once a head gets maggots and will tell you if there is any damage from them so you know it wasn't the taxidermists doing.

            Beetles work well, they are expensive though. They require some maintenance to keep alive, can be prone to disease, and STINK. They will also often leave stains that wont bleach out and sometimes end up dying inside the skull tucked away in places you can't retrieve them.

            Maceration is a slow process but it works, and it works well as long as your vat is temperature controlled. Most pro's use maceration because of the low risk of them damaging the skull and getting a near perfect result.

            If it's a trophy you really care about, it's definitely worth the $75 - $100 to have done well by a professional.

            Hope this helps, euro mounts are my favorite. They always look cool!


            • #7
              Some of the local taxidermists here in Wyoming have "bug boxes". If you don't want to do the euro mount yourself you might inquire around for a taxidermist that maintains beetles for this use. I have some antelope euro mounts done in about all the methods described and the best is a beetle cleaned skull in my opinion.


              • #8
                Thanks for the answers guys. It’s been a long time since I asked and I’m back since I finally got a head to practice with. I got a bear head.

                I put it in a pail with 2 holes drilled. One on top to allow bugs in and another lower down for drainage.

                Due to the smell when I got the head I was not able to clean any flesh or hide off the head so the bugs have a lot of work to do.

                I’m going to leave it for at least a month and check it. At that point if maggots are still eating it I’ll let them continue. If not I’ll try to remove some of the flesh and hide manually then soak in water to help the process along.


                • #9
                  I just checked it again today. There were no maggots and just lots of dead flies. I drilled more holes in the pail around the top and put the pail in a shadier spot in the yard. Hoping that works.


                  • #10
                    Well I’m amazed at how fast the maggots cleaned this skull. 4 days and it was a complete head. I did not remove any hide, flesh, or brain. I hosed off the skull and the pail and put it back in so that the maggots can get back at it if there is any meat in any of the tight spots.


                    • #11
                      This was my bear head. I did not skin it or deflesh it at all. The maggots did everything. All I did was put it in a pail with a bunch of holes drilled and put it in a shady spot of the yard.
                      Attached Files


                      • #12
                        I still need to finish it whiten it and glue the teeth in. They are pretty loose. But I’m definitely happy with how they cleaned it.


                        • #13
                          Has anyone used anything other than peroxide for the final whitening? I did a few more heads and will need over 30 gallons to soak them so hoping there is a cheeper and more readily available alternative. Bleach? Vinegar? Heads are 2 Bison, 3 goats, and 2 pigs


                          • #14


                            • #15
                              I doubt you'll find a taxidermist who will do a real good job for $75.

                              My daughter does quite a lot of business and charges about $200 if mounted on a plaque ... and not much less if it's not on a plaque.

                              It's usually a combination of treatments that gives the best result. Beetles will not totally clean everything. Most important thing is to get all the brain out first. The fat in the brain will stain the skull and it's almost impossible to remove. DO NOT use regular household bleach. What's left after the beetles are done with their work is removed by boiling. Use a small amount of lye (1/4 cup to three or four gallons water) and that will help lift the fat out. Skim this off the top as the pot is boiling. Avoid getting the antlers in the broth or they may become discoloured. Pull off any remaining flesh carefully. Usually the stuff around the antler buttons is most stubborn. My daughter then makes a paste from powdered peroxide that she buys bulk from a beauty shop. The paste is painted on the skull (avoid getting it on antlers!), wrapped and plastic wrap and left overnight. The peroxide is then washed off CAREFULLY (it will instantly bleach anything white, including your clothes). Often some areas require a second coat of peroxide paste to even up the whiteness. The nasal bones always come out intact with this process.

                              Some so-called taxidermists (the $75 variety in particular) clean the skulls with power washer. That is the worst technique as it almost always blows away some of the nasal bones. The brine vat technique does produce good results but often requires months in the tank. And is VERY, VERY smelly! Only taxidermists who live miles away from anyone in the country employ this method ... or they get shot by their neighbours. No one will do that job for $75 because it is way too labour intensive. And noxious.

                              We remove the brains with a steel rod about ten inches long with a one inch eye bent into one end. Put the rod in a power drill, shove it into the brain cavity through the spinal cord hole, flip the switch for drill ... and stand back! Brain comes out quickly but it is messy. Best to be wearing rain gear.

                              Very often the bridge of nose separates despite best efforts. No big deal. When everything is finished, simply glue the nose with SuperGlue and compress together with plastic ties till glue is set.

                              Click image for larger version

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                              Click image for larger version

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                              Last edited by Ontario Honker Hunter; 11-03-2019, 12:28 AM.




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