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Author Topic: Found Dead Buck, How to preserve skull and antlers  (Read 304 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?

Offline 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

Online 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:

Offline 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
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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.

Offline 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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Offline 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.

Offline 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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Offline 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.