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Low Cost European-Style Antler Mounts
Costs to mount a nice rack of antlers with an intact deer head can quickly run into the hundreds of dollars. Dennis Clay, who with his wife Garnet Wilson writes outdoors articles for the Capital Press, Salem, Ore., has come up with a low cost way to make European-style mounts with bleached skulls.
"The top half of the skull is cleaned, bleached and mounted on a wooden display board with the antlers attached."
Clay had a couple of trophies done professionally before deciding to learn how to do it himself.
In a recent issue of the Capital Press, Clay outlined the process, beginning with removing the skin and as much meat as possible from the skull. The skull (but not the antlers) is then submerged in water that is brought to a boil. After several hours of boiling, most meat and non-bone material can be easily removed. Care must be taken not to over boil to the point the bone softens.
"The goal is to keep the antlers their normal color," Clay told FARM SHOW. "If they get in the boiling water, they sometimes come out a little lighter."
The tough part is digging out the brains and other material inside the skull. "You can use a hook to remove the brains, but a pressure washer makes fast work of it," he says. "You have to be careful, though, as the nose can easily break off."
Once the skull is cleaned, he soaks it in a 50/50 mix of bleach and water for an hour or two. Again, make sure the antlers do not touch the water, warns Clay.
As the skull dries, a light coat of powder forms on it. In the future he plans to try spraying skulls with shellac or perhaps painting with white paint.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Dennis Clay, Capital Press, P.O. Box 2048 Salem, Oregon 97308 (ph 509 762-5158; cpoutdoors@capitalpress.com; www.capitalpress.com/outdoors).

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2007 - Volume #31, Issue #4