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How do you cook your skulls?

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  • How do you cook your skulls?

    Hey all of you DIYers. I've been doing european skulls over the last several years, sometimes 2 per year. I think its time to move past the turkey fryer and trash can method, tends to be very difficult to keep the temp right. There has to be a better way. I don't want to pay someone and I don't want to deal with beetles. I'm looking at the 4 skulls in my yard from last fall/winter hunts and I have to come up with a better system. Anyone ever use water heater elements for heating water? How hot of water does one need? A simple water heater thermostat only goes to 150 degrees, is that warm enough? I usually simmer them more like 195 degrees or so. Will 150 do or do I need to go warmer water? I'm also going to hook up a pump to this system to move the water around so I can get the tough stuff off of the back of the moose skulls.

  • #2
    There was just a thread in this topic of people power washing them raw with no boiling. Turned out amazing, might be worth a shot


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    • #3
      https://r.tapatalk.com/shareLink?sha.../&share_type=t


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      • #4
        Just fill a container that will hold the skull with water, drop it in....(I use an aquarium heater. this keeps the water warm so bacteria can break down the soft tissue.) Wait, wait, wait,,,, the process is called maceration, after about 60 days the flesh will just wash off. Retains all the fine nasal bones, degrease and whiten after....
        "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"

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        • #5
          Boil 1-3 hours depending on skull size, clean off meat and tissues and save any teeth that fall out, soak in biz (enzyme detergent) for 3 days to remove any remaining tissues like cartilage etc., then soak in hydrogen peroxide for three days to whiten it. After that cover/coat with modge podge, glue in the teeth, spray with lacquer and you're done. I'll try to send some pictures later on tonight. I'm doing about a dozen skulls at home right now.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Bushwhack Jack View Post
            Boil 1-3 hours depending on skull size, clean off meat and tissues and save any teeth that fall out, soak in biz (enzyme detergent) for 3 days to remove any remaining tissues like cartilage etc., then soak in hydrogen peroxide for three days to whiten it. After that cover/coat with modge podge, glue in the teeth, spray with lacquer and you're done. I'll try to send some pictures later on tonight. I'm doing about a dozen skulls at home right now.
            Im a big waterfowler wonder how long to boil a duck head
            Is it opening day of duck season yet
            Member of Alaska Waterfowl Association

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            • #7
              What Stid said, by far the best way to process a skull.

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              • #8
                I agree with maceration. Pour a half bottle of beer ad water into a bucket or other container that you can seal. Add your skull and place it somewhere s it stays as warm as possible. I usually place mine in the shed where it gets hot during the day. Black buckets work great since they heat from direct sun light. You could also place black garbage bags over the container do absorb sun light. Some people use aquarium heaters as a form of heat.
                Your bait stinks and your boat is ugly

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                • #9
                  While I'm not opposed to maceration.. I'm referring to moose and caribou skulls where sealing up the container isn't practical. I know sealing it up isn't necessary but I don't want to deal with the putrid aroma it'll produce in a climate controlled area (inside my house) for 2 months.. It can be done outside I know but keeping the water warm enough can be a hassle until later in the summer..

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by sambuck12 View Post
                    While I'm not opposed to maceration.. I'm referring to moose and caribou skulls where sealing up the container isn't practical. I know sealing it up isn't necessary but I don't want to deal with the putrid aroma it'll produce in a climate controlled area (inside my house) for 2 months.. It can be done outside I know but keeping the water warm enough can be a hassle until later in the summer..
                    Dry the skull until temp are conducive then. Cut off as much meat as you can. Remove eyes, tongue and spray out brain with water or air or use a coat hanger type rod and scramble the brain and dump out. Then put in warm place to dry. Once you want to macerate, take skull put in water for a week to hydrate meat and then use heat to macerate. Maceration if done right only takes 10 days if you keep the temps up to 90 degrees. Beer is it necessary.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by skybust View Post
                      Im a big waterfowler wonder how long to boil a duck head
                      Not very long at all. I'd start with a half an hour. If it need a little more than go a little longer. Generally speaking the smaller the head, the less boiling time required.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Bushwhack Jack View Post
                        Boil 1-3 hours depending on skull size, clean off meat and tissues and save any teeth that fall out, soak in biz (enzyme detergent) for 3 days to remove any remaining tissues like cartilage etc., then soak in hydrogen peroxide for three days to whiten it. After that cover/coat with modge podge, glue in the teeth, spray with lacquer and you're done. I'll try to send some pictures later on tonight. I'm doing about a dozen skulls at home right now.
                        Personally Jack I won't boil anymore. I've seen how much detail you loose from boiling....
                        Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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                        • #13
                          Thanks for the ideas. I cooked the 4 skulls that I've had laying around. I took a 55 gallon barrel and cut the top 2/3 or so off of it for the pot. I then drilled 2 holes in the sides, one for a water heater element and the other to thread a nipple into to hook a simple transfer pump into. I managed to find a water heater thermostat that went to 170 degrees that I used to turn the element on and off. I filled the barrel up and put the skulls in. I left them in for about 18 hours then pulled them out and pressure washed the rest of the goo off. It was super easy. No more babysitting the boiling mess, no boil over, not much evaporation due to boiling, no more running to the store for more propane. I liked this new method.

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                          • #14
                            Sorry it took me awhile to post this. These are a few skulls we are working on right now. I don't think they turned out that bad. Sure some of the teeth fall out, but you can just glue them back in.



                            Here's a close up of a lynx skull.



                            Here's a wolf skull I'm working on. This one is pretty gnarly looking. It looks like he got his head kicked in by a moose or something and the broken saggital crest grew back in sideways.

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