Cleaning a deer skull

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Cleaning a deer skull

Postby Boothkicker » Tue Dec 12, 2006 11:20 pm

Hey guys. I'm needing some advice/info. I want to clean a deer skull with antlers to mount. I know nothing about it but I was at someone's house one time and they had one sitting in an ant bed. What is the easiest way to achieve my goal? I put it in a wire cage (to keep coyotes and cats off of it) and set it in a big ant bed.

Any help is much appreciated!
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Postby Pete-pec » Wed Dec 13, 2006 7:45 am

Here is a couple good ways.

There is one method called maceration, which is taking the skull with as much meat removed as possible, and putting it a bucket of water for as long as it takes to have the remainder of the meat basically rot off. The water smells putred, but the water will have bacteria/enzymes in it, that will break down the flesh.

The other way is to slow-boil the skull in a kettle of water. Teeth will fall out, and the bridge of the nose will come off, but everything glues back into place.

The best way to clean them is to have them beetle cleaned. Flesh-eating Dermastid beetles are the best choice, but ALL will have to be degreased. Super Solvent or Dawn dish soap works quite well, but again, a good soaking in water is the best method to remove grease.

Hydrogen Pexoxide is the whitener. You can get the higher volume you'll need at your local beauty salon.

If you look at all the work that goes into it, it will probably be easier to just fork out the money, and have it professionally done.

I've never heard of anyone having any great success with the ant thing.

Good luck,

-Pete
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Postby huntmq1 » Wed Dec 13, 2006 10:07 am

Any way you go it's messy, it smells, you have to do some prep and the nose portion bone gets brittle. I've seen skulls fall completely apart after the boil. Petes right on with the advice though. Good luck with it!
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Postby Quackattaq » Wed Dec 13, 2006 11:12 am

The ant thing works down here, fire ants are my prefered method, but it takes awhile.

goes like this :

Place skull near fie ant pile, and disturb pile....come back one week later.

pull sukll out of new pile (the one the ants built around thier food source, that anytime a scavanger comes by gets bit in the nose a million times) and if it is not done, set it back down and come back in another week.

I never let mine set more than two weeks. Make sure to take some ant spray when your ready to harvest the skull. Spray off with a hose, and scrape with the edge of a rock if there is any risidual meat or yummy stuff on the bone.

let set outside for at least a couple days to dry. A mix of prickly pear and sand is good for whitening, or peroxide works. More prickly pear and tree sap makes a nice sealer, or vaseline does the trick.

This is the indian method my grandfather anduncle taught me, and I think it works pretty good, with-out ruining the smell around your camp or house, or the kitchen :mrgreen:

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Postby DoubleBayou » Wed Dec 13, 2006 1:56 pm

Dermestid beetles!

There are a number of guys in Texas that do these. I don't know about in La. though.

They don't care where you're from but you'd have to get it over here to them.

This site here will be one of the most widely recommended
http://www.skulltaxidermy.com/kits.html
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