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How To Make A European Mount

You can make your own European mount at home, and it’s not as difficult as you might think. There are many ways to go about this, but here’s my favorite step-by-step method that will have your mount done in just a few days.

Step 1

Remove the skin from the skull. Don't worry too much about the skin and hair around the bases as it will be taken care of in the boiling.

Step 2

Gently boil the skull in saltwater for about 2 hours and check it. Be careful not to let the water get on the antlers, but have the water level just beneath the bases. At this point you can take some of the "meat" off, but don't expect to be near done cooking yet. I use an old thrift-store pot and my turkey fryer burner. You can even do this on your grill — just make sure you’re outside, of course.

Step 3;

After you’ve picked some of the meat off, put the skull back in the pot for an hour or so. The built-in thermometer is the jaw. When the lower jaw will come off easily, it is cleaning time.

Step 4

I use an electric power washer (a garden hose with high speed nozzle will work) to blast the meat and soft tissue off the skull. Be careful to shoot from the back of the skull forward as not to damage the fragile nasal bones. Wear some old clothes. Trust me, when you put your spray nozzle into the back of the skull (spinal cord hole) you will be wearing some of your deer. I did this once in Texas with no high-pressure hose and just picked it away, but it takes a lot longer.

Step 5

Go in with a small needle-nose pliers and small sharp tool (I used an awl) and get any remaining bit of flesh.

Step 6

Let dry overnight.

Step 7

I bleach with a combination of Clairol Basic White bleaching powder mixed with the 40-vol peroxide. Both are available at any beauty supply store. You can use regular 3% peroxide from the drugstore, but it takes way too much to cover the skull. Mix the bleaching powder and peroxide into a paste and brush on the skull. Be careful not to get any on the antlers as it will bleach them. Let stand for 2 hours or until the mixture dries on the skull.

Step 8

Rinse the mixture off with a hose thoroughly and let the skull dry overnight.

Step 9

Check the whiteness — if it’s not white enough for your taste, repeat steps 7 and 8.

Step 10

I like to let my skull dry in the sunshine a final day.

Step 11

Spray a fine coat of satin poly on the skull to seal and protect from dirt and dust.

Editor’s note: There are a variety of ways to hang or display a European-mounted skull, but we like the Skull Hooker, which can be used by itself or mounted on a plaque. It hangs your skull at an optimal angle to show off the antlers. www.skullhooker.com

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