A Fan Of The Skull

When it comes to mounting memories of hunts afield, a taxidermist bill can get out of hand quickly. However, with a few tools and just a bit of patience, you can make professional-grade European mounts at home.

Have you always wanted to do a European mount, but didn't want the mess? Here are some simple ways to get the job done quickly and professionally.

My roots must go back to the caveman days. Well, of course they do, but I mean deep—really deep. Why? I'm a fan of the skull. Sure I enjoy the artistry of a nice taxidermy mount on the wall, but when I was still back in high school (no, there's no prize for guessing that time period), I started craving European mounts and have been decorating my man cave walls since.

Because coyote and shed antler seasons are winding down, I now have time to finish up some of the skull chores I've been puttering with since last hunting season.

Forget The Stew
For years I allowed my skulls to rot, wrapped tightly in a garbage bag, and then boiled them in the spring. It was gut-gagging work, a real chore, but it worked. Today you can forgo the stink and look for a dermestid beetle wrangler. A colony of these ravenous beetles can make short work of a skull that's had most of the large chunks of meat removed. In just days the beetles will whittle away dried leftovers, thus saving you a stinky cooking job. Keeping a colony alive is like running a ranch, so surf online for beetle owners across the country. A clean skull is only a UPS ride away and a cool $50-$100, plus shipping.

If you've always wanted a pressure washer, then look for a 3,000 psi model or higher. I'll always rely on my Mi-T-M from here until eternity. It could blow the paint off your car if you're not careful, plus it can clean a fresh skull up in minutes. Don old raingear, rubber boots, latex gloves and goggles for obvious reasons. Wire the skull to a board or a fence, and then proceed to pressure wash at a reasonable distance to test the pressure effect. A rotating nozzle is suggested. After all the meat is removed, give the skull a degreasing bath in Dawn detergent. When your skull is clean hang it for admiration or continue with a whitening process.

Skip To The Chase
If you really aren't that attached to your original skull, then simply cut the antlers off clean at the base and shop for a skull replacement kit. Look to the masters: Mountain Mike's Skull Master Kits look as real as the real thing. The plastic skulls and skull-plate kits come in white and even camouflage. You provide the antlers, they provide the skull and hardware, and faster than you can make a frozen pizza you have a classy European mount.

Hang On …
Skulls are easy to hang. You can put them on the wall with a nail or a screw and some baling wire. But if you want to impress your spouse and friends, consider the Skull Hooker. This tasteful metal hanger kit provides you with the hardware to hang the unit on any surface. Once up, it has the exact design to support your skull in a realistic and movable position. They're affordable, available in various colors, and rugged.

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