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question about 'bou racks

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  • question about 'bou racks

    I got my first big bull 'bou on Saturday and the rack is still in velvet, although there are a couple of scrapes from coming across the Ferry bridge. I've never been a trophy hunter but this rack is big, the shovel maybe a little abnormal, and I'd like to keep it. Those I've told about it have been all asked me if it's still in velvet and say that I should keep it. I saw a thread on here where somebody said they'd taken the velvet off.

    All that I have done to it is cut the rack off, although I did leave a piece of the skull attaching the two antlers.

    I guess my question is, what do I do with it? Do I take the velvet off? Leave it on? Do I have to take it to a taxidermist if I want to keep the velvet? How much would something like that cost?



  • #2
    Whether you keep the velvet on or not is entirely your decision. If it was mine, I think I would keep the velvet on since the antlers themselves will have a define red tinge to them because of the blood and they look good in velvet. Hang them upside down, ***** the ends with a large pin and let the blood drain. Taxidermist supply places may sell you some antler preserve that you brush on, seems to work pretty well, I did a small set that way. You can take it to a taxidermist and let them treat the velvet. Dave McClannahan at Lone Wolf Taxidermy in Eagle River (696-3611) charges $60-150 to preserve the velvet but, like most taxidermists, doesn't guarantee it works perfect. He also charges $150 to strip the velvet and stain the antlers. You can get a panel mount down as long as you have some of the skull plate or you can get a kit and do it yourself. Cabela's sells them and I've seen them in Walmart and Fred Meyers.


    • #3
      Strip & Stain!!!

      I had a huge caribou rack that I had freeze dired with the velvet on because my wife like it. After about 8 years the antler tips started poking through. I had the mount stripped and stained and it looks awesome. By the way it was VERY difficult to strip it after eight years and added alot to the cost of the mount. I will never have a velvet mount again. Just my opinion...


      • #4

        Are there any spots where the velvet is coming off. In my experience its very hard to keep the velvet unless it goes directly from the field to a taxidermist. The bull I got last year was in velvet but as I grabbed the horen around with my hand it was loose in spots.I stripped the velvet off and hung the rank beam tips down and it just bled for days and then took it to a taxidermist. Heres a few pics, if I can resize them.
        Attached Files


        • #5
          You killed it on Saturday and this is Wednesday. The velvet has likely already started to rot and detatch from the antler. I'd suggest stripping the velvet and try to clean off the blood as best you can. From what I've seen the chemicals that can be injected under the velvet can work if you do it right away when it is fresh. I have my doubts that something brushed on would penetrate well enough to work, I tried it once and failed miserably, and I applied it the day after the kill.


          • #6
            4 days later...

            If you want to keep it, get it freeze dried ASAP. It might be too late, but it might not. I had mine out for three days after the kill and 4 years later it still looks like the day I shot it. A shop on the corner of Arctic and International will freeze dry it for you...the name has slipped my mind right now.

            If you do strip and stain, there's a method to getting it to look normal again...other than just staining it with whatever color you choose...most likely, it won't look completely natural, close but not quite. It's pretty hard to duplicate what an animal does to those horns.


            • #7
              Blood in the antlers...

              Supposedly, if you strip the velvet soon after the kill and then put it some water, (I dont know if moving water or still water is better) the water will flush the pourous antler of it's blood and it will not have as much of the red look as well as get rid of anything that might rot. I have not tried this myself. I was told this by a taxidermist, he should know, I guess.
              My first caribou was in velvet and I have a tradition of mounting my first of each species (deer, elk antelope etc.)as a european. It was expensive, but I had a european mount with the velvet on. It looks real nice.


              • #8
                Shoot2Kill, isn't that Hunter Fisher taxidermy?


                • #9

                  Yea I stripped mine cause they got dinged up dragging him up the hill. I got the same info Burke got from my local taxidermist. He told me to put them in a lake for a couple of hours. Not wanting to babysit some soaking antlers i just put them in the deep sink at home. It seems to have gotten most of the blood out but what do you do about the rest? if you stain it will it start stinking? or should you bleach it out then stain it?


                  • #10
                    Thanks for all the advice. I think I'll go talk to a taxidermist, and see what they'd charge to do it. If it too much I'll look into the do-it-yourself thing. Not sure that I want one more project at this point though. Between remodeling part of our house in preparation for a new baby in October, hunting season, and everything else I'm already stretched pretty thin.



                    • #11

                      Originally posted by Bill S.
                      Shoot2Kill, isn't that Hunter Fisher taxidermy?

                      Yes, Hunter Fisher. Thanks...I couldn't for the life of me remember what it was...not a hard one to remember by any mind is going.

                      The strip/stain method is not hard if you choose to go that route and no, the rack won't stink. If you're gonna freeze dry them, better get on it!


                      • #12
                        As a (used to be) taxidermist, and a hunter I love velvet mounts. I like to perserve my animal the way it was when I shot it. If you already know you want to perserve the velvet first understand how velvet works.

                        While in velvet there are main "blood veins" that travel up the antler to supply the growth. Inside these veins are many one way valves that allow the blood to be pumped up the antler without gravity pulling the blood back down.

                        All you need is a syringe and velvet tan or like product. As mentioned above poke holes at the end of the points and inject the velvet tan in the base of antlers in side the veins (you herion junkies know what I'm talking about JK). You can see the velvet tan moving up the vien, pushing blood out the tips as it goes. Do this in the field if possible or as soon as you can for better results. Go ahead and hang the rack upside down, and rub more velvet tan on with a rag. Wear eye protection though, as you don't want any of this stuff, hitting a clot and shooting in your eye (no joke).

                        Every taxidermist has a different way of doing things, and there is not always one "Right" way of doing things. However this has worked for me.
                        Anyone can buy velvet tan from a research mannikins or McKenzie catalog. I'm going to Alaska next year for the first time, and I plan on bringing some with me if there's a chance of harvesting a bull in velvet.


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