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Author Topic: Found Dead Buck, How to preserve skull and antlers  (Read 3264 times)

Offline jvalentour

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Re: Found Dead Buck, How to preserve skull and antlers
« Reply #20 on: March 01, 2016, 12:23:57 AM »
13 months later I dug up the skull.  It had the same tint as the clay as I buried it in.  The bones were soft and there was still some hair on the cheeks.  I hung it in a tree with lots of sunlight.  I should have dug it up sooner but it didn't work out that way.  I'm guessing I hang it till May or June and bleach.  Let me know your thoughts.  Pictures attached if I get lucky.  Reminder, I did not kill this buck, I found him dead on my property.  I would never shoot a buck this young.
Rejoice!, In thy youth, o young man; for it will leave you like the will of the wisp.

Offline Oblio13

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Re: Found Dead Buck, How to preserve skull and antlers
« Reply #21 on: March 01, 2016, 07:15:39 AM »
From Alaska Fish and Game:

"The initial step in cleaning a skull is boiling. The hair and hide should be removed. They contain oils that permeate the bone when boiled and the result is a yellow, greasy skull.

If the skull cannot be cleaned soon after the animal's death, freeze it. Rotting skulls are no fun to clean and may cause a revolt in the household. If the skull is malodorous from decay, it will be repugnant during boiling. In this situation, boil it on a camp stove outside, or in the garage, in a castaway pot.

Immerse the skull in water and let simmer. A thawed wolf or bear skull requires 2.0 to 3.0 hours of simmering. Smaller skulls, such as marten, fox or lynx, take about 40 to 60 minutes. Frozen skulls will take about 15 to 30 minutes longer. The skull is ready to be cleaned when the muscle pulls off easily. Do not boil the skull too long as this can crack the teeth and soften the bone. It is best to remove the meat and brain tissue while they are still quite warm. Once cooled and dry, thorough removal of tissue is more difficult.

The muscle, if cooked sufficiently, comes off in hunks. Use a small knife. Nerve and connective tissue can be teased out of holes and crevices with a wire or large tweezers. The tough part is cleaning inside the cranium (brain case). This is done through the oval opening at the back of the skull, where the skull attaches to the spine. Repeated rinsing flushes out loose tissue.

After the skull is as clean as you can get it, soak it in an enzyme-bleach powder (such as Biz) using about ? cup to a gallon of water. Don't use liquid bleach, it is harsher to the bone and does not have the enzyme action that is needed to break down residual tissue. Leave big skulls (bear, wolf, caribou, bison) in this solution for 3 days. Smaller skulls may require less than 1 ? days. The skull has soaked long enough when the remaining tissue can be easily removed.

A small, stiff-bristled brush, a small knife (scalpel) and tweezers are adequate tools for doing the final clean up. Rinse the skull well after you have removed the last, stubborn tissues.

Teeth will invariably loosen during boiling and cleaning. Hang on to them and glue them back in place with white glue once the skull is clean and dry."

Offline jvalentour

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Re: Found Dead Buck, How to preserve skull and antlers
« Reply #22 on: March 02, 2016, 12:24:19 PM »
Oblio13,
I'm pretty sure I have messed up the first part of cleaning the skull.  It was never cleaned, just buried.  I'm guessing the sun and bugs will finish off the rest and a Biz soak is about all I can do.  The buck was decayed and chewed when I found it so I wasn't interested in a boil.  In hind sight I should have.  Thanks for your research.
Rejoice!, In thy youth, o young man; for it will leave you like the will of the wisp.

Offline thucdiaoc

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Offline MikeCinWV

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Re: Found Dead Buck, How to preserve skull and antlers
« Reply #24 on: June 18, 2016, 12:32:21 PM »
If you plan on doing more than one or have one that you really want to get absolutely clean dermestid beetles are the way to go.  You can purchase colonies or may be lucky enough to have some wild ones near you.  Here is a link to a supplier http://www.bonesandbugs.com/purchase-dermestid-beetles.html
This is how you get a "museum quality" skull.