6 Easy Steps to a DIY European Skull Mount

Don’t have the cash for another head-and-shoulder mount for your latest buck or bull? No worries — it’s easy and inexpensive to make a European skull mount on your own.
6 Easy Steps to a DIY European Skull Mount

I often stare at my whitetail shoulder mounts to relive successful past hunts. It’s captivating. But listen, not every buck or bull we harvest wears shoulder-mount-worthy antlers, mature animals included.

Rather than cut the skull plate and mount the antlers to a plaque covered with wretched-colored velvet, consider a tasteful, stunning alternative: the European skull mount. It’s a project you can do yourself. Here’s how.

  1. Remove the Cape

Using a scalpel blade, cut and peel the hide from the skull. If you intend to sell the cape (where legal) or use it for a subsequent mount, employ the Y-cut (Google this for a diagram).

  1. Clean the Skull

After removing the cape, cut as much muscle from the skull as possible, even removing the eyeballs and lower jawbone. This takes some work, but keep at it. A sharp knife is a must.

  1. Wrap the Antler Bases in Foil

This prevents discoloration and keeps fats and soap scum from forming on the bases.

  1. Boil the Skull

Submerge the skull in a water-filled pot, then dribble some Dawn dish soap into the water. Boiling time varies by stove. With my propane-fueled camp stove it takes about six hours of cooking.

  1. Power Wash

Power-washing the skull simplifies removing the “nasties.” Secure the antlers so the power washer doesn’t blast the skull away, which could cause cracks or breaks. Having an extra pair of hands here really helps.

  1. Clean-Up and Whiten

Remove any remaining flesh and the nostril channels with needle-nose pliers. Cheap hair-bleaching kits or industrial-strength hydrogen peroxide work well for whitening. Wear gloves to avoid painful burns. Then, wash the solution away and let dry before displaying.

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