DIY Euro Mount
DIY European MountBy Remi Warren ©Elk Hunter Magazine
Give it a try; itís easier than you think
When the hunt is over and the meat has long been consumed, I like to look at the antlers on my wall and remember the hunt, the struggle, the good times, and the excitement. Obviously, itís not practical to do a mount on all your animals, so for many, I really like the look of a European or skull mount; it makes for a great display.
In the past, Iíve taken elk and deer to the taxidermist and paid to have the skulls cleaned and bleached. This can range anywhere from $100 to as much as $300, depending on where you are. Although cheaper and easier to find a place for than a shoulder mount, the cost still adds up.
Quite a while back, I decided to get the necessary tools and start boiling my own skulls. Through trial and error, Iíve found an easy way to make a quality Euro mount at a very low cost. The task seems daunting at first, but once you do a few, it gets easier. Plus, itís rewarding doing it yourself.
What Youíll Need
- Large burner, such as the kind for a turkey deep fryer - ($50)
- Hot dipped steel tub (minimum size 9-gallon). Available at most hardware stores -$19.99
- Hose and spray nozzle
- Baking soda
- Flat-head screwdriver
- Metal spoon
- Super glue
- Blonde/white hair dye ($6-$10) or 40% hydrogen peroxide and Basic White ($40)
- Spray degreaser
Once you have everything, the cost per skull is around $2 per skull including propane, baking soda, bleaching material, and super glue. This can be less by getting a larger pot and doing more skulls at once.
If you want to get the cost way down or do it near where you are hunting, bring your tub and boil the water over a wood fire. Iíve boiled out many skulls while traveling by just building a fire and boiling in a pot.
This article was originally published by our friends at Elk Hunter and Western Hunter magazines. They are just about the only print hunting magazines I read these days. I think you would like them, too. To learn more about them, CLICK HERE
Step 1: Skull Prep
After gathering the necessary materials, start by prepping the skull. If you havenít already, remove the hide and bottom jaw. Also remove the ivories on elk before boiling.
Once you have the bottom jaw separated, remove the eyes and most of the brain material. Removing the brains before boiling makes it easier in the long run. Donít worry about trimming any muscle off, because the large pieces tend to come off easier during the boil.
To remove the brain, start by using a stick, coat hanger or long screwdriver to break it up into small pieces that can fit out the back of the skull. Then take a hose with a spray nozzle and flush the pieces out. If any remains, repeat until done.
Note: Some people allow the skull to rot before boiling to cut down boil time as a form of prep. I donít, because itís harder to work with and it stinks. I prefer to boil fresh skulls. The baking soda works at cutting the boil time down and keeps everything from smelling horrible. Plus I got blood poisoning accidentally from a rotten skull, so I tend to avoid it.
Step 2: Prepare the Pot
Fill the pot with water about halfway and then start the burner. Before adding the skull, pour the baking soda in and stir. I use about 7 oz. of baking soda (1 cup) for a 9 to 12-gallon tub. It isnít exact, but I generally keep it around that one cup. If you have a larger pot, you can adjust accordingly. For a smaller pot, youíll definitely want to reduce the amount, as too much will dry the skull out and can make the bone rough.
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