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Thread: Cleaning fresh moose head for european skull mount

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    Default Cleaning fresh moose head for european skull mount

    Any tips on easy way to clean a fresh moose head after it is skinned.Just want to keep skull and antlers intact for a mount.

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lhow2000 View Post
    Any tips on easy way to clean a fresh moose head after it is skinned.Just want to keep skull and antlers intact for a mount.
    Look at the last page of this thread, I did a euro on the Bull I harvested on a float hunt.

    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...oose-Hunt-2010
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    Member alaskabliss's Avatar
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    Patience and a strong stomach is important! I just did my first caribou European this fall. I simmered the head in water and used a pressure washer and sharp knife to slowly get the skull cleaned up. The sinus's were the difficult part for me. I have heard different tricks to make it easier but was already done so havent tried them.

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    The best advice I can give, regardless of which method you use to clean the skull is...dont get in a hurry! It takes time to produce a quality mount, and taking short cuts/trying to rush the process very well may produce a less than ideal...and smelly mount.

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    Whatever you do, don't use bleach! It will deteriorate the bone. The super washing soda does help with the loosening of the flesh, skim the grease off the top of the water while simmering, and change the water a few times if necessary. It's best to simmer, not boil...if you boil it the skull bones may weaken & separate, and sometimes the grease will get cooked into the bone. If you have a B&C animal, I would suggest using beetle cleaning or maceration, as there is little to no shrinkage, though there may be slight shrinkage after it has totally dried.
    "Grin and Bear It"

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    Default Cleaning fresh moose head for european skull mount

    I've got a bear skull I finally got around to cleaning up after sitting in the freezer for a while. I took the pot to a slow boil added the skull and simmered for 30 minutes. 90% of the scraps came off.

    So for boiling, seems its a 50/50 process depending on who you talk to due to bone damage.

    Anyone have bad effects from a boil?
    We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks anywhere that we may be placed

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    Quote Originally Posted by TWB View Post
    I've got a bear skull I finally got around to cleaning up after sitting in the freezer for a while. I took the pot to a slow boil added the skull and simmered for 30 minutes. 90% of the scraps came off.

    So for boiling, seems its a 50/50 process depending on who you talk to due to bone damage.

    Anyone have bad effects from a boil?
    I've never boiled, just a simmer. I have heard from others that boiled...the nose bone fell off, cracked teeth ( especially for bear skulls ) and the grease cooked into the bone, making it almost impossible to remove. I've heard from a taxidermy friend of mine that even a change in the air pressure will crack bear canine teeth, since they are hollow inside I will usually pull these and fill them, seems to help.
    "Grin and Bear It"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tearbear View Post
    I've never boiled, just a simmer. I have heard from others that boiled...the nose bone fell off, cracked teeth ( especially for bear skulls ) and the grease cooked into the bone, making it almost impossible to remove.

    +1, same results.
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    I have simmered many skulls over the years, moose, caribou, beaver, coyote and bears. Just keep an eye on it, keep the water level up and don't over do it. Pretty simple stuff. Never had any cracking issues or bones coming apart.
    I keep it pretty simple using dish soap in the water and skim the scum regularly.
    To degrease, soak a bear skull in 87 octane pump gas or white gas for a week or more, then rinse and let dry for a while.
    It also helps to drill a couple holes in the bottom of the lower jaw bone to allow the grease to escape.
    BK

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    Member Tearbear's Avatar
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    Yes...'simmer' is the key word here.
    "Grin and Bear It"

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    Here is one way to do it. In the past I have taken mine down to my buddies taxidermy shop. He has a big pan that he welded up that works perfectly. The only problem is I have to spend the day down at his shop boiling it up. So I went out and bought a large aluminum garbage can and cut it out with my sawzall. Works like a charm. My kids don't like it because I set it up underneath their swing-set, but I told them its only temporary. After I boil up the nose and front of the head, I am going to spin it around and boil up the back. Then I plan on filling up the can with water and biz. Biz has some kind of enzymes in it that help break down the tissues. After all that I will soak it in peroxide to whiten it.

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    Member alaskabliss's Avatar
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    Bushwack, My Beagle didn't go far from my pot either!

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    Quote Originally Posted by TWB View Post
    Anyone have bad effects from a boil?
    Me

    Boiled my first bear skull and it feel to pieces so I won't be doing it again. Since then I have used beetles and maceration. Both work great but I think maceration was and is the easiest. I have never been in a hurry so just stuck the skull in a 5 gallon bucket added a beer, topped it off with water, put the lid on and let it sit in the sun for a month. Open it up and slowly dump the water and gunk out keeping an eye out for teeth. Don't dump it out in your yard or the dog will be licking it up and rolling in it and momma won't be happy!

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    Member Tearbear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushwhack Jack View Post
    Here is one way to do it. In the past I have taken mine down to my buddies taxidermy shop. He has a big pan that he welded up that works perfectly. The only problem is I have to spend the day down at his shop boiling it up. So I went out and bought a large aluminum garbage can and cut it out with my sawzall. Works like a charm. My kids don't like it because I set it up underneath their swing-set, but I told them its only temporary. After I boil up the nose and front of the head, I am going to spin it around and boil up the back. Then I plan on filling up the can with water and biz. Biz has some kind of enzymes in it that help break down the tissues. After all that I will soak it in peroxide to whiten it.
    Nice set up!
    "Grin and Bear It"

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    Quote Originally Posted by broncoformudv View Post
    Me

    Boiled my first bear skull and it feel to pieces so I won't be doing it again. Since then I have used beetles and maceration. Both work great but I think maceration was and is the easiest. I have never been in a hurry so just stuck the skull in a 5 gallon bucket added a beer, topped it off with water, put the lid on and let it sit in the sun for a month. Open it up and slowly dump the water and gunk out keeping an eye out for teeth. Don't dump it out in your yard or the dog will be licking it up and rolling in it and momma won't be happy!
    What I have done to keep the dog from getting into the leftover gunk is...dig a hole, have support like a crisscross of rebar for screen to catch teeth while pouring, after finding teeth, flip screen over, rinse screen off, cover hole with garbage can lid or whatever and set a large rock on it. You can add lime like for an outhouse for the smellyness...that is one of the major drawbacks of maceration, it stinks to high heaven. I have never gotten used to the smell and usually feel like I may puke. If you have access to a gas mask, use it!
    "Grin and Bear It"

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    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    One other trick I have come up with and forgot to mention is removal of the brains. These are the smelliest part to rot, boil/simmer, or be eaten by beetles. So it behooves us to remove them prior to anything else. It is a very easy process but take a little patience.

    Get a metal coat hanger and cut off a foot long or longer section and straighten it out. Now get your needle nose pliers and bend one end in a U around the pliers tip. You want to make a U hook on the tip. Now take that and shove it in the brain cavity and scramble the brain and start hooking and pulling it out. You can actually get all of it out which seriously cuts down on the smell and mess.

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    Member alaskabliss's Avatar
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    Pressure washer works great for the brain also

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    How did this end up working? Just wrap the antlers in foil? Are you just steaming it or is the water filled up to the cuts?

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    Another way to remove the brain is to use an air compressor with a long nozzle, just shove it way back in when the skull is fresh, cut loose,and stand back. It blows it out slick as a whistle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by broncoformudv View Post
    One other trick I have come up with and forgot to mention is removal of the brains. These are the smelliest part to rot, boil/simmer, or be eaten by beetles. So it behooves us to remove them prior to anything else. It is a very easy process but take a little patience.

    Get a metal coat hanger and cut off a foot long or longer section and straighten it out. Now get your needle nose pliers and bend one end in a U around the pliers tip. You want to make a U hook on the tip. Now take that and shove it in the brain cavity and scramble the brain and start hooking and pulling it out. You can actually get all of it out which seriously cuts down on the smell and mess.
    Put this piece of hanger on a cordless drill and you are really cooking with grease....pun intended, brains are nasty.

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