Preserving velvet coated antlers
For those of you that like to take your caribou in the velvet and preserve it for future mounting, you might want to take a look at this stuff.
We took 3 bulls last year with full velvet on. On our way up we had discussed what or how we would try to preserve it. We had made several phone calls and visited with several taxidermists. After getting our animals down it wasn't but a few minutes we were stripping the velvet off. Between the blood and the bugs that it draws, it was very clear that the velvet had to come off. The stripping part only took about 15 minutes with each of us doing our own rack. Brother and Dad are having artificial velvet put back on down in Missouri. It was between $100-$200 which isn't bad. We called several different shops around Anchorage only to find none of them mess with the artificial stuff. I'd sure be interested in hearing from folks that have used this stuff.
My buddy and I shot two big bulls in velvet on a fly out hunt. Here is what we did and this is a sure fire way to preserve them.
You must take care not to tear the velvet in transporting them. Once back home, split the skull cap and get them in the freezer. Once the temperatures drop down below 0, take out of freezer and hang outside. You can bring them inside and let thaw and take them back out, but I didn't. Just left hanging outside all winter. With our cold temperatures, down to below -50, the velvet freeze dries on. I've had the antlers for 3 years now. They are just like the day they were shot. I am thinking that you could do the same in the freezer, just take out every week and hang inside just enough to drain some of the blood out and keep repeating until there is none left and leave in freezer.
I've used a technique very similar to that described by Northway on three sets of deer antlers and it worked great. I've used a fan when drying them and that seems to help too.
I got some stuff from Lone Wolf Taxidermy in eagle River, followed directions injecting it under the velvet and brushing it on. Worked fine. The freeze dried methjod sounds great as long as you can get them back intact.
Chisana, that is a good looking German reh buck shooting target you have. Although of course its to nice to use as one. I have a hirst one on the wall.
Freeze drying. The tannery in Fairbanks will freeze dry them for you. The DIY thing sounds good too. A friend had his wifes done and it come out nice. As said the hard part is keeping it from getting damaged. Many times they mess it up while they are in their death roll.
I worked at a taxidermy shop before and we soaked our antlers in methanol for two weeks which was a really long time. I also know of others that used methanol or formaldehyde and just injected it in the field with large syringes all around in random spots. They also poked a bunch of small nail holes in the velvet to aide in the blood dripping out and just to assist in the drying out. I have seen antlers treated like this that were at least ten years old and they were beautiful. Oh and there is velvet antler shampoo type stuff that you can buy which really gives the antlers a nice sheen and draws all the grease and crusted blood out. Just make sure you dry them for at least a few months before you mount them.
I have 3 sets mounted in velvet. When out in the feild I turn them upside down and let them stay that way until I'm back home. By doing that all the blood runs to the tips of the antlers and then I use a small round piece of metal with a point on it to poke a hole in the tips. The blood will drain out and you can also squeeze the tips and force the blood to squirt out. I have never lost a set of antlers in velvet yet.
My old buddy harvested a beautiful full velvet bou in 01. We were back at Jay canyon. I was following as we were coming through the wet area down into Coal Creek. We had come in without incident, but on the way out we got into the nastiest mud holes you could imagine. I asked him why he did not take the same way out as in, he replied "its to brushy over there I might hurt the velvet". They survived the trip as did I. I don't know what the taxidermist does to keep the velvet on, but the story makes me chuckle when I tell it.
some other stuff is called preserve it. It's shippable where ferm. is not.
Here it is from vandykes:
Item no: 01001521
Preservz-It can do all the things you used to do with Formaldehyde but without any of the hazards! It is not a carcinogen. You can use it to inject into and preserve antlers in velvet, bird legs and feet and tight wing bone areas. You may even soak crayfish and other similar species in a solution of Preservz-It to bugproof any dry tissues. These are just a few of the areas where Preservz-It can be used. Bruce Rittel, a leading authority in the tanning industry, developed this amazing liquid.