Cleaning Deer Skulls

Discussion in 'The Great Outdoors' started by Haggis, Apr 5, 2012.

  1. Haggis

    Haggis MacCurmudgeon

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    I have about a dozen or so old deer heads in my "Trophy Room" (AKA, a shelf in my barn); I just saw off the heads and pitch them up on the shelf. Some of these heads have some pretty sets of antlers, plus I'm running out of space. Is there any easy way to clean them.
     
  2. braggscowboy

    braggscowboy Well-Known Member Supporter

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  3. Bearfootfarm

    Bearfootfarm This Space For Rent Supporter

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    The "easy" way is to leave them on the ground, covered with a milk crate for a few months and let nature clean them.

    The FAST way is SIMMER (not boil) them, then scrape off what you can.
    Repeat as needed

    You get better results with the second method
     
  4. machinistmike

    machinistmike Well-Known Member

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    I did the simmer/boil method. I only puked 4-5 times from the smell.

    There are some kind of flesh eating bugs that you can buy. These things are supposed to be the cats meow though I've never tried them and I think they are more for recently killed critters vs. the ones that have been around for many moons. After the simmer fiasco, I don't mess with the heads anymore unless it's got more horns than a brass band.

    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqcyM3JMG6w]Flesh Eating Beetles at work! - YouTube[/ame]

    hope this helps
     
  5. braggscowboy

    braggscowboy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Did the boil, worked but took a while and on a fresh kill. Did stink. I have also done the insect thing, will work somewhat. Still a lot of work and scraping to get one clean enough for the wife to put in the house. I know there is a way because some places advertise cleaning them commericaly and does not take long.
     
  6. HMAN

    HMAN Well-Known Member

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    i do about 100 of these a year and this is the method i use. But i add 4tbs of soda ash and 1 tbs dawn dish soap per boil. It helps gel the meat and make for easy scraping and the soap pulls out the oils. Another thing, cut away all the meat you can and remove the jaw,tonge, eyes, etc... First. Take out of simmer after 1 hour and uses an air compressor to blow the brain cavity out. Put back in for 1 more hour and scrape. Then the 3rd and final hour and clean whatever is left. Dont let it go for more then 3 hrs or the bone will get brittle.

    I always bleach and airbrush for an even whiteness. But you could leave as is. The only thing is it will yellow over time.

    For very old ones. Soak them in a tub of water for 3-4 days to rehydrate them first.

    Good luck
     
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  7. brownegg

    brownegg Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Bleach, water, and a 5 gal pail on the backside of the barn if fresh....otherwise, the easy side....let em soak and freshen in a couple weeks...repeat til pleased. Cover just up to the base of the horns.

    brownegg
     
  8. Wis Bang 2

    Wis Bang 2 Well-Known Member

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    By the imitation European mount kit. Saw off the best ones and mount them on the kits.
     
  9. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

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    DO NOT USE BLEACH,use Peroxide.I use BORAX in the water when I boil them too_Once meat is off,wash with DAWN Dish Soap,then soak overnight in Peroxide,to get them whiter let set in the sun.

    [​IMG]

    big rockpile
     
  10. Bearfootfarm

    Bearfootfarm This Space For Rent Supporter

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    Here's one my wife got with her Muzzleloader:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2012
  11. pancho

    pancho Well-Known Member

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    I have a friend who lets the ants do the work.
    Just lay the deer skull on or near an ant hill and they will pick off every bit of meat.
     
  12. fishhead

    fishhead Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We have native carrion beetles in MN. They are pretty good at finding decaying flesh but I've read they don't like brains.

    I have some furbearer skulls that I am going to clean with them.