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Thread: velvet antler freeze drying

  1. #1

    Default velvet antler freeze drying

    Hi,
    I have set of velvet caribou antlers from a cow I shot last August that have been in my freezer for almost a year. I was hoping they would freeze dry and be preserved well enough to hang them on the wall. Do you think they are ready after a year? I don't want to pull them out, just to have them rot in a few days.

    I was also wondering about stripping velvet off of early season caribou. I noticed last year that the tips were still really soft. Is the bone formed enough in mid-August to strip the velvet off and keep the antlers or will they still rot at the tips? Maybe strip it and salt the tips?

    Thanks for any insight you may be able to provide.

    Jim

  2. #2
    Moderator kingfisherktn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OHAK View Post
    Hi,
    I have set of velvet caribou antlers from a cow I shot last August that have been in my freezer for almost a year. I was hoping they would freeze dry and be preserved well enough to hang them on the wall. Do you think they are ready after a year? I don't want to pull them out, just to have them rot in a few days.

    Jim
    My son does this with his bucks and after a year they turn out great.

  3. #3

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    Thanks for the reply! I think I'll pull them out and see how they hold up.

  4. #4

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    Does anyone have any thoughts on stripping velvet early in the season? Is it possible for it to be too early to strip the velvet? Thanks!

  5. #5
    Sponsor Hoytguy's Avatar
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    It can be too early to strip velvet.. Immature bulls and most ows won b hard gowned until erly sept.. Big bulls may still be in velvet th end of aug.. Some will hav rubbed it off. Some will have stuff hanging everywhere.. Early aug IMO is too early to strip.
    Another option early season is o strip it, rebuild the soft tips, spray artificial velvet on., looks and feels like the real thing.. It's spendy, but it's nice.

  6. #6
    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    Is there anyone in anchorage or valley that does the flocking?

  7. #7
    Sponsor Hoytguy's Avatar
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    Cow caribou.jpg

    Not that I'm aware of, I send em out to the lower 48 to have done.. couple different places to choose from.. Quality is about the same.. Shipping from one vs the other is a few bucks cheaper.

    I did a couple sets last year for kids who took their first bou.. 1 was a cow, one was a small bull.. both european mounts.. I have a 196" whitetail in my shop that was sprayed.. one of these days Ill get around to mounting it..

    I attached a pic of a small cow, Only one I could find a pic of real quick.. During the fall the animal broke 1 of the tips off and was hanging by a peice of velvet.., the other was all lose, customer cut the skull at a 45 degree angle through the brain cavity.... waited a week or so to bring it by, pretty stinky... Only option was to have it sprayed.. or striped, bleached and stained.. Since it was a kids first bou, I went the extra and had it sprayed..

  8. #8
    Sponsor protaxidermy's Avatar
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    Research mannikins in Oregon does the best job for artifitial velvet.

    I had the first caribou that they ever did & it Still looks like new.

    VERY durable & you NEVER have to worry about bugs.artificialvelvet.jpg

    It also comes in several different colors.

    The first Bou I had artifitial velveted cost $325. The one in the picture about that we just finished was $ 350.

    I like the real velvet but sometimes artifitial is the way to go.

    RJ Simington
    PRO Taxidermy

  9. #9
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    So, is freeze drying for a year, the best method for preserving the original velvet?
    or are there other tricks the pros use ?

    like soaking in some solution,..or injecting formaldehyde maybe

    Last one I shot, with beautiful velvet, I could only store on top of the boat for a month or so,...
    hoped it would dry out, which almost worked

    I ended up stripping it off, by soaking, as some beetles I were using for the skull got up underneath the velvet despite my best attempts,
    I eventually lost the very tips of the antlers, (from a buck shot in first week of August)

    I really want to try to do that right with an early buck this year,....before I leave town I was hoping there was a good solution to bring along for immediate "after harvest" prep
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

  10. #10

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    I have soaked horns in denatured alcohol for a week or so then dried them under a heat lamp and fan. I have one I did for my wife 11yrs ago and it still looks like the day it was shot. make sure to put them in 4-5 garbage bags and turn them every day. this was just for the horns and not the entire skull.

  11. #11

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    Usually, Just one year in the freezer is not enough to freeze dry a set of antlers completely, but it can be. You can take a fresh set of antlers and take the tip of a scaple blade and make several little slits around all the tips, then make sure the that around the burs that any trace of the hide is gone and that the velvet is trimmed tight around the burs. Then take some borax and rub all into the velvet until it is completely coated. Then prop the antlers up so that the fluids can all drain down and out the burs. After a couple of days of draining, Then toss in the freezer and they will freeze dry alot quiker. If you cant put them in the freezer, you can inject them with a perservative you can get out of a taxidermy catalog. If you can put a fan on them all the better. You want to get them dry as fast as you can to limit bacteria growth.

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