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Author Topic: Found Dead Buck, How to preserve skull and antlers  (Read 852 times)

Offline jvalentour

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Found Dead Buck, How to preserve skull and antlers
« on: January 22, 2015, 03:16:05 PM »
I found a dead buck last week.  Not much remains, it's carcass is about 3 weeks gone.  I am pretty sure it had been shot (broken rib in lung area) and the hunter was unable to find it.  Rather than entirely wasting it, I was interested in preserving the skull and antlers, but I have never done so.  Other than keeping it off the ground and letting nature take it's course, is there another way to clean the skull without damaging the remains?

Online iddee

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Re: Found Dead Buck, How to preserve skull and antlers
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2015, 03:30:22 PM »
Bury the skull in soft dirt, leaving the antlers out of the ground. Let the bugs clean the skull.

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Offline jayj200

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Re: Found Dead Buck, How to preserve skull and antlers
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2015, 05:47:54 PM »
ants

Offline texanbelchers

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Re: Found Dead Buck, How to preserve skull and antlers
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2015, 05:59:13 PM »
I was expecting it to have died of sudden lead poisoning.  :wink:

Online Michael Bush

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Re: Found Dead Buck, How to preserve skull and antlers
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2015, 06:43:55 PM »
I've tried most everything.  If you can catch it earlier in the process, and you are willing to spend the time, you can clean it as well as you can, then use a long handled spoon to get the brains out.  Then put it on a roof somewhere to get lots of sun and rain.  Since that didn't happen, you cold put it on the roof somewhere anyway and wait for it to bleach.

If you really want it white, probably the best is to boil it in washing soda until it is white.  I've tried ant hills.  Maybe those fire ants you have down south would clean it but the ones they always called fire ants up here (which aren't really) won't do it.

It will rot pretty quickly in the ground.
Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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Offline jvalentour

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Re: Found Dead Buck, How to preserve skull and antlers
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2015, 06:56:25 PM »
It's still pretty cold here.  I'm not too sure how the bugs and worms are going to help me right now.

Online Michael Bush

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Re: Found Dead Buck, How to preserve skull and antlers
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2015, 08:22:33 PM »
>It's still pretty cold here.  I'm not too sure how the bugs and worms are going to help me right now.

Patience.  It will take years for it to bleach really well...  Unless you boil it in washing soda.  But then you may be gluing it back together...
Michael Bush
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Online OldMech

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Re: Found Dead Buck, How to preserve skull and antlers
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2015, 09:20:25 PM »
What Mr. Bush said..   You can speed the process a little by spraying it with a mixture of bleach and water. a teaspoon of bleach in a gallon of water. spray it once a week or so.. Of course, this will be after the bugs have done their work. it will still take the better part of a spring and summer.
39 Hives and growing.  Havent found the end of the comfort zone yet.

Offline jvalentour

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Re: Found Dead Buck, How to preserve skull and antlers
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2015, 09:38:47 PM »
I removed the head from the carcass, it is still covered with hide.  I hung it in a tree until I could find out the best way to proceed.  Noticed a couple of red tail hawks hanging around real close, they are usually shy. 
I guess the next step is to remove the hide and bury it up to its antlers or put it on the roof.  How do I keep the small animals from eating up the antlers.  I have been told it's common for the mice, squirrels, and so on eat the antlers for the calcium.  Is that why the roof is better than burying it?
I'm in no rush.
Thanks to all for advice.

Online Michael Bush

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Re: Found Dead Buck, How to preserve skull and antlers
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2015, 12:29:41 AM »
>How do I keep the small animals from eating up the antlers.

That is an issue.  I find soap is about the best deterrent to animals eating things, but it will wash off of course... on hides I like borax but laundry soap will do.  There are bugs that will eat a hide even with salt on it and of course salt will attract a lot of things.
Michael Bush
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My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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Online OldMech

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Re: Found Dead Buck, How to preserve skull and antlers
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2015, 10:02:09 AM »
Hanging it with a wire from an eave or tree branch. Or if you have a windmill nearby with metal legs, hang it on that. Not much will climb metal to get to it.
39 Hives and growing.  Havent found the end of the comfort zone yet.

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Found Dead Buck, How to preserve skull and antlers
« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2015, 12:58:28 PM »
I have several skulls hanging on my barn. A Buffalo, cow, fox, deer pig and turtles. Most of them were found in the field above ground, and the problem, like with the pig was getting the tough skin off. It hardened before the insects could eat it. Removal of the skin really helps. You might try what the taxidermist did with my Buffalo, he put it in a bin with maggots, he used special ones that leave the skull white but regular maggots will do a good job.
Jim
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Offline 10framer

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Re: Found Dead Buck, How to preserve skull and antlers
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2015, 04:00:01 PM »
a pressure washer will clean it up and should even get the brains.  then if you want to keep the antler color wrap them in plastic bags and seal them with rubber bands or zip and bleach the skull.  i saw a guy do the pressure washer trick on youtube.

Offline BCG

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Re: Found Dead Buck, How to preserve skull and antlers
« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2015, 08:31:06 PM »
I soak mine in a small bathroom-sized garbage can filled with hydrogen peroxide for about 2-3 days.  Cleans 'em up nice and makes 'em glow white.  The antlers stick out, but they're fine. 

Offline jvalentour

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Re: Found Dead Buck, How to preserve skull and antlers
« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2015, 01:53:27 AM »
I had the 12" auger on the tractor last weekend so I took MB's advise and buried the head.  Covered it with rocks and wood to keep critters from digging it up.  I will follow up with a post on bleaching the skull.  I would like to hang this on the covered patio or inside the house.

Online Michael Bush

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Re: Found Dead Buck, How to preserve skull and antlers
« Reply #15 on: March 31, 2015, 10:28:07 AM »
>so I took MB's advise and buried the head. 

I think you misunderstood.  The whole thing will rot quickly in the ground.  I wouldn't leave it too long, but it will smell horrible if you dig it up soon... a dilemma...
Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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Offline jvalentour

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Re: Found Dead Buck, How to preserve skull and antlers
« Reply #16 on: March 31, 2015, 11:51:19 PM »
OK, Lets start over.
I have this nice 4pt deer head that I hung from a tree all winter.  Found him dead on my trail, I think he was killed around 12.01.14.   The hide is still on and I buried the head around 03.27.15. 
I would like to display the skull and antlers on my covered porch when it won't stink up the house.  I hate to waste what is left of a good animal.  The skull and antlers are currently in very good condition, but there is a problem with flesh, hide and gray matter.
I have a power washer , dirt, no special maggots, fire pit, and space.  I can go to Goodwill and purchase a boiling pot but I don't think he would fit entirely...  Should I just hang this puppy on the barn and wait? 
It's still cool here so the smell won't be horrible, just bad.  For now.
Please provide step by step instructions of what YOU would do with this head for a right brained person to follow.

Online OldMech

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Re: Found Dead Buck, How to preserve skull and antlers
« Reply #17 on: April 01, 2015, 12:53:46 AM »

   I hang them up on the windmill. The steel discourages rodents from climbing to it. Birds peck away at it, but they dont harm the bone or antlers. When it warms up, the flys will lay eggs. When there is no more activity around it, pressure wash it, and then put it in the peroxide solution as per BCG's advice. Leave the antlers out so they retain some color if you prefer.
   I actually still have a head on the windmill..  been there two years, its REALLY nice and white....
39 Hives and growing.  Havent found the end of the comfort zone yet.

Online Michael Bush

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Re: Found Dead Buck, How to preserve skull and antlers
« Reply #18 on: April 01, 2015, 09:29:01 AM »
>Should I just hang this puppy on the barn and wait? 

Outside.  In the sun.  Up high.  Yes.  It will smell for a while (probably a year).  How well this works may depend on your climate.  Maggots probably do the best.  Those mean black and red ants don't do too bad of a job of cleaning it up if you get the meat nice and wet again.

You only need to get the skull in a pot to boil it in washing soda  The antlers don't need to be in the pot.
Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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Offline MT Bee Girl

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Re: Found Dead Buck, How to preserve skull and antlers
« Reply #19 on: May 28, 2015, 10:10:44 AM »
My husband took a 50 gallon drum and cut an area out of it to make sort of a tub. We put that over a fire, boil water, and put the skulls in it. Takes a long while but all the gunk comes off. Then you can just hang it up high and let bleach from the sun.