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Thread: European mount for Caribou

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    Member mossyhorn's Avatar
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    Default European mount for Caribou

    I wanted to do a european mount for my caribou I got but after looking what the taxidermists want ($250-300) they can forget it. Has anyone done them themselves? Or knows of a cheap alternative?

  2. #2

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    Yup, lots.
    Nail them to the woodshed. The jays and magpies make short work of the cleanup detail.
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    Member Frostbitten's Avatar
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    It's a piece of cake. Check out just about any taxidermy supply website, you'll find all the info you need

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    Maceration is a easy do it your self method. It stinks but is the best option for a DIY project such as this. Some will tell you leave it to the birds but the will no get it clean, it will still stink. Some say burry it but it wont get real clean and will get stained by the soil. Some say boil/simmer but you never truely get it clean and will ruin all of the turbinates inside the nose and grease stain it or cause the bones to fall apart. So the only other choices you have are beetles or maceration. Beetles work well but are more difficult for first time user and still needs degreasing after. Maceration is a warm water rotting of flesh and uses bacteria to break down the meat and even most of the grease in a skull. A $30 aquarium heater is all you need and keep it 85 degrees F for a month. Place skull in a 5 gallon bucket and fill with water. Change 1/2 the water out every week to keep the smell down as much as possible. Once all meat is off dump all water out and make sure you lost no teeth in the goo. Fill back up with water and put some dish soap back in there and change every week for a month. Finally get some peroxide and place skull inside it for a few days depending on strength. Careful because it will bleach the antlers white if they soak in it as well. If you have more questions PM me or do a search of maceration and read for your self.

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    Hey dieNqvrs, good post,

    do you have any tips on doing this with a Velveted Rack? I have some beetles, still working on a Bear and Fox skull right now and wondering how I will do this while trying to preserve the Velvet on a Blacktail rack?

    Your tips on this maceration method worked pretty well on the Fox skull I had from this winter, Seems to be coming cleaner than the Blk Bear I only soaked in outside temp water for a while before sticking in with the beetles. The Fox skull was in water ( not heated) for a long time and didn't really stink that bad but is much cleaner than the Bear after a while in Beetle country.

    Thanks for your help
    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 !

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    i will put the water thing out there also i was at the local archery shop today here in alabama and the taxidery guy was there also and we got talking about the europian mounts he said the easiest thing is to put in a 5 gal bucket with water the water and maggots will have it clean in a couple weeks he said. also he said the antlers might be a little faded at first but once dry they should be fine if not a little stain is was he said to use. i did my deer from illinois and just baried in the woods with a rubber made tub over it and it turned out nice good luck hope it all works out

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    Member dieNqvrs's Avatar
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    velvet rack has to be cut off and reattached later once skull is done. freeze dry velvet for a few months and works great then reattach with a pin/screw setup.

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    Thanks for the tips. I have been working on trying to cut all the excess tissue off and it's been a chore in itself. I wonder about the brain and stuff you can't get too though.

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    I just wish I knew where you could have gotten it done for 250-300. 485 in Fairbanks to preserve the velvet and clean/varnish the skull. That's not even attaching them to the plaque!

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    Well I think that's just the cleaning price. To get the velvet preserved I think may be a farse as you have to do that really quickly after you've killed the animal. You have to inject them with a formaldehyde solution fairly quickly. So unless you get that to them with a day or so I think it may be a waste of money, I may be wrong though. That's just what I've read in the past on all the velvet preservation info I've seen. $485 is ridiculous, I had a whole shoulder mount done on a blacktail back home for $425 and it was a quality job. That's just nuts.

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    For the brains the easiest thing to do is take it and pressure wash it put the washer in the back where the spine meets the skull and letter rip. but if you dont do it right away i dont know if it will work.

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    Member dieNqvrs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mossyhorn View Post
    Thanks for the tips. I have been working on trying to cut all the excess tissue off and it's been a chore in itself. I wonder about the brain and stuff you can't get too though.
    Brains and flesh wont matter if you macerate it. The bacteria will take care of it all. You can wash it out but is not imperative. Velvet can be freeze dried in you own personal freezer. A frost free freezer is best because it basically freezer burns/pulls out the moisture quickly but a regular one works as well. Formalin also works to inject as does denatured alcohol to help set the velvet. The purpose it to get out moisture and prevent the blook from rotting. However if you want a professional quality european mount you HAVE to cut off the antler and clean skull seperate and then reatach cured velvet antlers.

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    In 2001 I shoot a bull on the tuntra in velvet,I took a neetle and a a pint of stuff I got from my taxi.I just kept pumping it in and blood ran out of the base.It looks great on the wall and the shoulder mount cost me $375 [I give him a lot of work]I would love to have a hard horned one hang beside him.I picked up a deer skull today in the woods that could pass for a professional job,clean and white.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dieNqvrs View Post
    Maceration is a easy do it your self method. It stinks but is the best option for a DIY project such as this. Some will tell you leave it to the birds but the will no get it clean, it will still stink. Some say burry it but it wont get real clean and will get stained by the soil. Some say boil/simmer but you never truely get it clean and will ruin all of the turbinates inside the nose and grease stain it or cause the bones to fall apart. So the only other choices you have are beetles or maceration. Beetles work well but are more difficult for first time user and still needs degreasing after. Maceration is a warm water rotting of flesh and uses bacteria to break down the meat and even most of the grease in a skull. A $30 aquarium heater is all you need and keep it 85 degrees F for a month. Place skull in a 5 gallon bucket and fill with water. Change 1/2 the water out every week to keep the smell down as much as possible. Once all meat is off dump all water out and make sure you lost no teeth in the goo. Fill back up with water and put some dish soap back in there and change every week for a month. Finally get some peroxide and place skull inside it for a few days depending on strength. Careful because it will bleach the antlers white if they soak in it as well. If you have more questions PM me or do a search of maceration and read for your self.
    Hey I tried to PM you but your inbox was full. I just had a question on my moose. I did as much trimming as I felt like for the day after I skinned it I know you said this is not necessary on the flesh parts as the process will take all of it off but my concern was all of the cartilage on the nose there was alot of cartilage and it was very difficult to cut and my knife kept dulling out. So long question short will the process also break down the cartilage or will it only work on the fat and flesh parts it seems like it would take forever to break down all of the cartilage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bsj425 View Post
    Hey I tried to PM you but your inbox was full. I just had a question on my moose. I did as much trimming as I felt like for the day after I skinned it I know you said this is not necessary on the flesh parts as the process will take all of it off but my concern was all of the cartilage on the nose there was alot of cartilage and it was very difficult to cut and my knife kept dulling out. So long question short will the process also break down the cartilage or will it only work on the fat and flesh parts it seems like it would take forever to break down all of the cartilage.
    The cartilage will fall off as the meat deteriorates. Soak or boil to remove meat, soak in dish soap or lantern gas to degrease. Peroxide like used to bleach ladies hair. Be careful not to lose the teeth. Pressure washer works great to remove the flesh and brains.




    Steve

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    Also in my research I read that alot of people apply elmers glue to the skull to give it some shine and a little protection but have not heard of any treatment for the antlers themselves what did you apply to yours stid they look great is it just some regular clear coat or something special and is it needed at all I really like the natural look of the antlers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bsj425 View Post
    Also in my research I read that alot of people apply elmers glue to the skull to give it some shine and a little protection but have not heard of any treatment for the antlers themselves what did you apply to yours stid they look great is it just some regular clear coat or something special and is it needed at all I really like the natural look of the antlers.
    I too use Elmer's to seal and protect the bone. I made some stain using turpentine and pine sap to stain the ones in the photo. Sprayed them with poly to seal them. The antlers will soak up furniture stain so be careful.

    Steve

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    Member dieNqvrs's Avatar
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    when macerating the cartilage will separate/pull away from the bone but will not break down to the extent that the meat and fat will.

    Sealing can be done with a 50/50 mix of elmers and water and paint on. There are other products you can use such as a krylon matte spray or plastics resins you melt in acetone. the problem with sealing a skull before all the grease is out is it will become more evident than with out sealing. Ever look at skulls that have a dingy yellow around the base of neck , between the eyes, and near the lower jaw. This is grease and to some it is ok but to me i dont like the look of it so i do all Ican to get rid of it in the first place. As far as antlers i dont put anything on mine. there are a few thing such as Steves method he mentioned. I think some look to unnatural for me and my tastes anything with oil will attract dust and dirt and make it look dingy.

    Nice skulls Steve.

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    Nice mount Steve, it really looks good. I've done a number of European mounts when I, by some strange coincidence, was stationed in europe (Germany). We always did the boil method with a high pressure hose to clean out the brain cavity. You can also buy 30% peroxide over there, here you can sometimes get it at beauty supply stores. Thoroughly rinse after treatment. However, if I didn't have velvet on the antlers, I'd take a look at the bettle option. I've seen some skulls cleaned by them and have to admit they do get clean.

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    Great thread, guys. Very helpful info.

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