Recoil|Carnivore #4
European Isn’t Always a Dirty Word
Dion Nelson and Josh Locatis
European mounts, skull mounts, western mounts … all mean the same thing. We’re preserving a reminder of a successful hunt that can be enjoyed long after the last morsel of protein has disappeared from the freezer. To achieve this, we’ll remove the hide, muscle, and flesh particles, resulting in a clean skull with nothing but antlers or horns attached, depending on the animal.

Why a Euro Mount?

There are many reasons people opt for a skull mount. One is to save space when hanging. Since there’s no neck or hide, it increases your mounting options. Another is aesthetics; some folks may feel the skull to be more artistic. And some may not want to spend the money on a full shoulder mount, which runs in the thousands of dollars. Let’s face it, not every animal is worthy of a full-blown shoulder mount, but that doesn’t mean that the skull and antlers should be thrown out.

You don’t need a professional to do this. Let’s run through a process using boiling that’ll achieve professional results and prepare you for your first DIY skull mount. There’s another tactic usually reserved for full-time taxidermists using dermestid beetles, which we won’t cover.

Like recipes, processes, and tools, everyone has their preferences. Talk to anyone who’s done a skull mount, and you’ll get different advice. That’s OK; this is one way, learned through trials and tribulations, that consistently produces good results. We define a good result as a clean white skull and natural-looking antlers. It’s not a difficult task, but it’s time-consuming. If this is your first time, don’t try this on your trophy elk. Perhaps give it a try on that doe you shot for meat.

There are a few key points to remember that holds true among various techniques. Straight bleach can yellow your skull, so don’t use regular disinfecting bleach found at your home improvement store. Don’t overboil, as it can over harden and crack the skull. Get as much tissue cleaned off as possible before beginning and in-between boils.


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Carnivore #4