Some of you might have seen my post from last month on an early Brooks Range Caribou drop hunt that my father, and friend, and myself did. We were all successful in tagging out. 2 of the bulls were young, but it was all we had to choose from at the time (Aug 4th-9th), and we were happy with our experience. Our hunt was done on a budget, and none of us could really afford hefty taxidermy fees. I had dabbled in my own taxidermy for several years, mostly European mounts, so I prepared to do to European mount our 3 caribou form this trip. Before leaving I knew that our bou would be in velvet, so I had to figure out what steps I needed to take to try to recreate the full velvet look. I researched, and found a technique called flocking that I thought I could handle easy enough, and I could find flocking material in just about any length to match the velvet. When we filed our tags I skinned the skulls and stripped the velvet off for our Drive back to Kansas. Once home I slowly boiled the skulls down using a propane fryer stand and a big galvanized tub. When the skulls were absolutely clean, I removed them from the boil to let dry. Once dry I placed them in a bath of store bought peroxide for 24hrs. After 24 hours they were washed clean and left to dry out again. Then after they were dried completely I painted on 40% peroxide. This is the peroxide that saloons use to bleach hair. I have my wife pick me up a bottle when she gets her hair done. One bottle did all 3 caribou. I paint on several coats of this peroxide and let it sit for a couple days. After a couple days I wash them off and let them sit to dry. This is where they get they bleach white look. Once dry I can glue on any nose pieces or teeth that fall out in the process.
After the skulls were bleached and dried, I covered the skulls in sacks to start the flocking process. I was able to match colors of flocking material fairly well. To help the flocking material stand on end, I ordered a handheld electrostatic flocking machine. $30 on ebay. Each antler was then coated in a flocking epoxy, and flocking was shaken through the electrostatic flocker onto the antlers. I hung each set of antlers in my garage so that I could reach the angle of the antlers without having to touch it too much with my hands. I only did one side at a time, and then let it sit for 24hrs to dry before doing the other side. Once both sides were complete and dry I shook off the excess material. I was happy with the results
The finished product might not look exactly like a natural full velvet bou, but then again we didn't do this trip for the racks. It also cost a fraction of what a taxidermist would have charged us. I'm happy with the finished products, and our memories from the hunt are preserved.
My fathers Bou
My friend, Jake's, bou