2021 Buck Euro Done

Mortenson

5 year old buck +
Took a little over a year to get my whitened skull back. Overall pretty happy. The skull whitening is excellent. His process begins with beetles. Last year he indicated that step only takes about a week. The long step I gathered was placing the head in a bucket with chemicals and a heater. That could take months. Not sure what steps are after that, but the final step is what leaves me a little disappointed. He then has to paint and recolor the part of the rack that soaked in the bucket. He did a pretty good job with that. I just wish it was 100% natural. This buck had a nice, dark color to him, plus shredded bark in the antler bases, but now it's partially artificial. Nonetheless, still a nice trophy to display, and you get to hold and handle it as opposed to a shoulder mount hanging on the wall. I've done a couple euros back in day, not something I overly enjoy. Always wanted a professional job, and now that I have one, probably will be shoulder mount again next time. Having the natural color of the antlers is pretty important to me. Just wanted to share. Curious if anyone has seen it done differently.

2 pics - flash on and flash off

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Native Hunter

5 year old buck +
Very nice Mortenson.
 

Telemark

5 year old buck +
I use peroxide to bleach the skull. I tape off the burrs to prevent bleaching the antlers.
 

Mozark

5 year old buck +
Mckenzie taxidermy supply has a couple of different chemicals to whiten skulls with. I have used a powder that was mixed with peroxide on a bobcat skull, I was pleased with the way it turned out.
 

SWIFFY

5 year old buck +
Looks nice Morty!

I do about 30-40 skulls a year for customers. I boil them. I always hate to see the bark and some of the natural color come out but its often unavoidable in my situation as well. I use 40% peroxide and the whitening of the skull should never touch the antlers.... peroxide is a painted on paste so you can control where it goes. I always thought the advantage of bugs was 1) to avoid shrinkage and 2) to avoid heat and water removing the stain and bark??? If your taxi is using beetles and still removing the stain from the antlers, then I guess im not understanding what hes doing? The degreasing step is the big one... but that shouldnt damage the antlers either. Id check around a little more.
 

Wind Gypsy

5 year old buck +
Looks nice.

I’ve had 3 taxis do elk euro mounts for me. 1 was in MN and cracked the skull, ghosted me for 2 years until showed up demanding answers. Was not salvageable so it turned into a skull plate mount.

One was in MT and was done in a month for $250. This is the nicest looking one I have.

Last 2 have been done by a friend of a friend for $150 and have been done in less than 2 weeks for $150 ea. They look good, skull isn’t as perfect as the MT one.

Worst situation I had was with a California taxidermist who I brought my personal best elk rack to when I was working out there. I didn’t have a good setup in the furnished apartment to clean the skull plate off so just wanted that done. Dude took a drill mounted wire brush to the antlers to “clean” them and took all the color off them! I was very unhappy.
 
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Bill

Administrator
Easy to do yourself.

Here is an article. I don’t do the air compressor thing to get all the cooked bits off like this guy suggests. I use a low pressure electric pressure washer. But the sally beauty products are what I use to whiten it. Also don’t heat the skull with whitener on it. Just letting the white paste dry seems to work for me.

https://www.huntaddicts.com/do-it-yourself-european-mount/
 

Mortenson

5 year old buck +
Thanks everyone. Yeah I use the hair care products to whiten my skull plates occasionally too (pictured below). I'm not exactly sure why his months long step of keeping the skulls cooking in chemicals is needed. He did say his biggest expense is electricity. Maybe that's how he gets everything, orifices and all, entirely white. Is that possible using the paste and paintbrush technique? Most guys wouldn't even notice... I've talked to other customers who don't know their racks have been bleached then recolored. All the beetles do is remove meat. They don't leave you with a "finished" product. I don't think they eat eyeballs or brains either.

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SWIFFY

5 year old buck +
Are you sure he used beatles? Sounds like he heated water and did it by maceration (sp?) That would make sense why the antlers got discolored.

I cant think of one reason why youd need to use excess electricity or an extended period of "chemicals" if you were using beetles? None of it adds up Mort...
 

Tree Spud

5 year old buck +
I posted a thread awhile back on a DIY euro mount I did, maybe some tips for others. It was time consuming!

 

PatinPA

5 year old buck +
I buried one in the garden over the winter. Pulled it out in the spring and it was completely clean. Tried the maceration process but didn't have a heated area to keep it in so it ended up being frozen in a bucket most of the winter. I used regular household peroxide on the skull. It gets it white but not like the 40% does. I kind of prefer a little yellow in it though. I think it looks a little more natural. I taped the burrs but still some got in and whitened them. I tried a couple of ways of color them back in but it just doesn't look right.
 

bjseiler

5 year old buck +
Probably not most people's cup of tea, but my friend's kids have done my last few skulls and they have fun with it. Heck on Etsy it would sell for a lot. Anyway, bringing it up here because if you ended up with bad coloring, you could always do something unique with painting, dipping, etc.

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Ben.MN/WI

5 year old buck +
We just scoop out the brains, boil the skull for 1/2 a day until all the meat falls off. Then put in hydrogen peroxide that is below the level of the antlers. That way the antlers don't get bleached as well. We wrap a pair of old cotton socks around the skull just below the antlers and that wicks up the hydrogen peroxide and gets the top of the skull nice and white without hurting the antlers. The boiling step takes a day and the hydrogen peroxide step takes 2 and then it is ready to hang on the wall.

Nice buck by the way, that's got some character.
 

Hoytvectrix

5 year old buck +
I have probably only done about 12 or so skulls, but have tried a few different techniques each time. I've gone from using the buck boiler, to a turkey fryer, to burying them, back to the turkey fryer. Burying is absolutely the easiest, but I don't think it is quite as clean and honestly I enjoy getting the skull ready as soon as possible when the significance and memories of the hunt are still there. The turkey fryer involves a large pot, a flame source, and a propane tank. I went from using a rolling boil to a slow cooking (masciation). Probably the most important step with any type of heating is the removing of grease. I've learned that you can do this with dish soap but you need to change the water out somewhat frequently. Using a low power pressure washer is probably the best way of getting it clean between cookings. I think I do about three cycles between cooking and cleaning with water or pliers. All told it probably takes about 8 hours per skull between taking all meat off and putting the peroxide on.

If I had my way, I would make everyone that shoots a buck for the antlers to go through the process of a euro mount. I feel like you gain a much greater appreciation for the animals with this technique and doing it yourself.
 

bigbendmarine

5 year old buck +
Are you sure he used beatles? Sounds like he heated water and did it by maceration (sp?) That would make sense why the antlers got discolored.

I cant think of one reason why youd need to use excess electricity or an extended period of "chemicals" if you were using beetles? None of it adds up Mort...
Following up on Swiffy and others' posts I've done about a dozen now and all by plain old water maceration as it's known to do minimal damage to bone, helps to keep nasal bones in place, and outside of water changes requires very little time and attention / just a strong stomach for water changes the first week or so.

Using cheap aquarium heaters to keep temps around 80 F, I have clean skulls in 2 to 3 weeks. And I've never had color loss/change on antlers in plain water.

I do follow-up the intial plain water soaks with a degreasing soak for a few days to weeks and DO take steps to protect antlers when degreasing and when using H20 to whiten the skull. I simply saran-wrap the antlers as tightly as I can and then wrap again with electrical tape being sure to overlap layers and keep tight as possible. Doing it this way I've had no discoloration.

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Total timeframe to complete one from shot to finished euro can be as fast as a month though I probably average 5 to 6 weeks because of getting busy with other things between steps. Actual time spent on project work is probably 3 or 4 hours, with the most time spent on defleshing as much hide and meat as possible at the start to help speed up the maceration process. Very minimal time after that... just few minutes here and there changing water, wrapping antlers, etc.

Your trophy is still a fine one, but I don't find what the guy who did it said to add up.
 
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Barndog56

5 year old buck +
I buried my pair of racks from this year. They're right at the edge of my compost pile, so will be plenty of earthworms and other bugs. Will see what's needed to finish them off about April.
 
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