Saturday, April 26, 2014

European mount removing deer head from the ground

Catastrophe hits my 2013 deer head for mounting.
This is the largest deer i had ever took and this beauty deserved a proper mounting.
the freezer storing it failed and i am now on to plan b, a european mount (like my other heads).
i am not going to dwell on the loss but will look forward to the alternative.

to clean the skulls, i bury them to just below the antlers. after burying i cover with a large tote and let the bugs do the rest. when i excavate the skull a quick rinse with hose is about all i need. 

in february the ground is still frozen so i had to hang it up a bit. life got busy and kept putting off burying it. needless to say that by the beginning of april the weather turned nice and I was at the point where i could not put off getting it in the ground. 

i have a dedicated spot to bury the heads and it was currently occupied with another one.
the below image is what a person will see when the tote is pulled off.
just the antlers periscoping above grade.
removing deer head from ground

i was very surprised to see how much skin was still on the top. i blame this on last years heat and drought effects on the insect population. the only other area that needed some attention was some mass in the eye sockets and that just poked out. all in all it just needed a brief scalping. 
what i really like about letting the insects take care of business is that the membranes are picked clean and no damage is done. plus there is no stink from boiling. this is as simple as it gets.
removing deer head from ground, never have i seen so much skin still attached after pulling from the ground

a bit of a shake and the lower jaws and some dust fall off. 

after hosing i will need to do some skinning.
the leather has hardened a bit but in about 20 minutes all traces of skin are gone. 
20 minute scalping and this deer is ready for the next step

the next step is to cover the antlers with an opaque wrap and then hang the head to sun bleach.
after awhile the head will whiten. when all is said and done i will have a white skull and natural colored antlers. what i really like about this process is that it is about the closest "controlled" method to what would happen out in nature. 
there are many ways to do a european mount and this happens to be mine. i have no issues with any other techniques. some people like to peroxide the skull for an ultra white hollywood smile, but that is not my aesthetic. some people take their skull to a professional to have the meat removed with dermestid beetles or buy then and do it themselves. i would actually be willing to do that. what i like the idea of the entire process happening in a drier environment.  

when i buried the 2013 head i actually had to use 2 totes, one for each antler!

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