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How do you clean out a deer skull for a european skull mount? I don't want to boil it so I'd like some instructions on how to clean as much meat off as possible. I was just going too let the bugs do the rest.
 

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Look into dermestid beetles. I worked at a museum in college and we used them on all sorts of animals. Boiling can shrink the skull.
 

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Find an ant hill and bury it there for a couple of weeks. ;)
 

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So do I need to get as much meat off as possible or just skin it the bury it?
I would think the more you leave on the longer it'll take. The ones we've done get scraped pretty good before being buried. We hate wasting any meat! :yikes: :lol: :lol: :lol:
 

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I've buried the skull portion of it and then put a bucket (or 2) over the rack to keep animals from chewing on it and the sun from bleaching it. After a few weeks, take it out from the dirt pile, rinse with water and you'll be good to go.
 

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after cutting out the eyeballs and brain i use my power washer....removes the majority of meat...... soak in bleach a couple of days and repeat pwr wash.......
 

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ive buried, boiled, tied to a dock under water, beetles. Done it all. Beetles and boiling IMHO are the best options. and to be honest the one that will smell the least if done right away is boiling. if you bury deep enough there wont be a smell either. But boiling is soo easy. I think people get afraid that itll be a lot of work, or gross or something. after you skin it, you really wont even do hardly anything but shake the meat off of it every cpl hours. If you want some detailed instructions, PM me and I will help you out. Ive done alot and this is shortest, and not to hard either.
 

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Most of the above options are poor choices. If you leave anything left on the skull and bring it into your house, (assuming your gf or wife allows you with it looking and smelling like that) then your inviting beetles to infest every mount and fur, including her fur coats in your house.

Either boil or beetles.

Boiling is work. It will smell, it is disgusting (I don't care who you are, turning the brain into scrambled eggs and then shaking and picking it out is gross) and it makes a mess. The plus side is it's all labor and the only cost is peroxide (not bleach) provided you already have all the tools needed. There's a lot of info on boiling in the Taxidermy section.

Beetles are incredibly through, but the trade off is the cost and residual smell which dissipates with time.

Both options can yield excellent results when done right.
 

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I boil. I have a bunch. I can go from walking in the woods to european in a day. I do a final boil in peroxide and clean the fur around the antlers w/ borax.
Adam
 

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Be careful with those beetles. They will destroy every shoulder mount you have. Not to mention your wool sweaters and suede jackets.

If even one pregnant female makes it in your house you are done. They are nasty.
 

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I'd say the best method is easier beetles or maceration. Boiling works but its quiet a bit of work and it tends to damage the bone if you cook it to hot. Also it tends to cook the grease into the bone.

The method we found that works well is you just take the skull, and skin it. Then toss it in a bucket of water and let the meat rot off. The more meat you cut off before you put it in and the warmer the water the faster it'll be clean. So you can have it finished in a week to a couple of months.


Here's a skull we did with the bucket method.



We attempted to degrease it but we just didn't have the water warm enough to do anything. But even then we just had one small grease spot on the very back of the skull.

Compared to the skulls we boiled which have huge grease spots all over the place.

Grease is a mute point however if you decide to take the time to degrease it but its kind of a pain of a process so it does make it easier to get rid of as much grease as you can while cleaning it.

Also, boiling can cause the teeth to break so you gotta be careful with that.
 

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I boil. I have a bunch. I can go from walking in the woods to european in a day. I do a final boil in peroxide and clean the fur around the antlers w/ borax.
Adam
Agreed. Trick is the grease cutter in the first boil. Best ive found is arm and hammer laundry detergent. And grease stains on skull havent been a problem since i learned the more flesh u take off the better. Also learned that if u suspend the skull in the water with a wire coat hanger that there is no bone damage. The only time that was a problem for me was with the bone that contacted the bottom of the pan.


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I've done a few of these with pretty good success. I remove as much meat as I can. I open the brain cavity from behind/underneath by sawing a small portion of the cavity bone off. Once done the brain pops right out and you won't see it from the front. I boil it after alot of the meat is removed. I use an old, black chili pot and set the skull only in the hot water. Once done, I remove any left over meat and fat. I then soak it peroxide for a day or so. I used bleach once and it made the bone brittle. After the peroxide soak, I check for any meat leavins I may have missed. The final step is to mix a solution of white Elmers school glue and water. I think it was 50/50?? I soak the skull in that. It helps in the final brightening and helps seal the skull and teeth.
 
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