8pt. Skull Maceration Complete **some pictures may be graphic**

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Should I whiten the skull more with a bleaching agent or leave as is?

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8pt. Skull Maceration Complete **some pictures may be graphic**

Post by Mohunter on Tue Nov 23, 2010 11:17 pm

I finished the maceration process of my 8pt. skull off the buck I just killed November 14th. It didn't take as long as I thought it would, and I have done a few before this one but I boiled those too long and the bone got brittle. I took my time on this one and only brought it to a simmer and not a rolling boil. The bone turned out fine and isn't brittle at all.
I used several table spoons of Borax in the water at a degreaser, and I think it also helped with the whitening of the skull.

Here's a question for you all:
Please vote in the poll attached to this topic
Thanks!





Last edited by Mohunter on Wed Nov 24, 2010 12:55 am; edited 2 times in total
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Re: 8pt. Skull Maceration Complete **some pictures may be graphic**

Post by dartfreak75 on Tue Nov 23, 2010 11:20 pm

i think it looks great the way it is leave it alone!! will you help me do mine i want a Euro style mount my four point could you help me through the process? and remember :worthless-with lol
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Re: 8pt. Skull Maceration Complete **some pictures may be graphic**

Post by Daywalker on Tue Nov 23, 2010 11:25 pm

I am no expert by any means and never have done anything like that. What I have researched and have read, that sometimes the brightening agents can also wreak havoc on bones. I have read where others have said that the teeth falls out and other things.

I know TSX Shooter has had great success doing this type of mount. He had posted his results if I remember correctly at another forum. I don't know how to get a hold of him and find out what he used. I want to say he used peroxide.

I think it looks sweet as is tho...

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Re: 8pt. Skull Maceration Complete **some pictures may be graphic**

Post by RemMan700 on Tue Nov 23, 2010 11:25 pm

Leave it as is. Can you also use peroxide to bleach skulls with.


Ahh.. looks like DW brought up peroxide at the same time. LOL
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Re: 8pt. Skull Maceration Complete **some pictures may be graphic**

Post by hawcer on Tue Nov 23, 2010 11:34 pm

Looks good Mo Smile

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Re: 8pt. Skull Maceration Complete **some pictures may be graphic**

Post by Nicnac on Tue Nov 23, 2010 11:38 pm

Mo, that looks awesome.... nice Rack.
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Re: 8pt. Skull Maceration Complete **some pictures may be graphic**

Post by Mohunter on Tue Nov 23, 2010 11:46 pm

Thanks guys!
Yes, I can help and it's really not all that difficult. The hardest part is skinning the head out, and removing as much meat, tissue, eyeballs, and brains as possible before it ever goes into the water bath.

I'll add this link for you to chew on while I get the pics and a detailed process written up.

Read all this thoroughly>>----> http://ag.arizona.edu/pubs/natresources/az1144.pdf
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Re: 8pt. Skull Maceration Complete **some pictures may be graphic**

Post by dartfreak75 on Tue Nov 23, 2010 11:49 pm

thank you il read up on it how long after you killed it did you skin it immeditly? cause i havent yet! the skull that it yes the deer is skined clean butchered and froze lol
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Re: 8pt. Skull Maceration Complete **some pictures may be graphic**

Post by Mohunter on Wed Nov 24, 2010 12:00 am

I kept my head in the bottom of the fridge in my garage from Sunday till Tuesday before I started skinning it out. You just don't want it to get rancid (Smelly or putrid) before you start skinning it out. It doesn't really matter if it spoils because your not going to eat it, but it's a whole lot nicer to work on if you don't have to deal with the smell, not to mention the fact that bacteria starts to grow almost immediately. I'm sure that could cause some kind of health concerns? Wear rubber gloves if that part of it bothers you.

If I were you Dart, I would start skinning it out as soon as possible. Then keep it somewhere cool until you start the maceration.

It is recommended in the PDF article that I linked that when removing the brains of any animal, especially predators like coyotes and foxes, also small furbearers like mink, weasels, skunks, coons, possums and such that you wear rubber gloves because of the possibility of rabies. Rabies can live inside the brain tissue for a really long time of animals, and even if it's frozen then thawed out.......the possibility of rabies still exists.
I doubt that you would have to worry about that with a whitetail deer, but it doesn't hurt to be safe.
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Re: 8pt. Skull Maceration Complete **some pictures may be graphic**

Post by dartfreak75 on Wed Nov 24, 2010 12:13 am

ok thanks i think its cold enough to keep it from spoiling real bad but il get started asap
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Re: 8pt. Skull Maceration Complete **some pictures may be graphic**

Post by Mohunter on Wed Nov 24, 2010 12:52 am

Start by skinning the skull out. All hide and ears, nose, everything needs to come off. The idea is to get the skull down to bear bone. A razor knife works well for skinning if you don't have a good sharp knife.



Once I get it started, it helps to hang it from something like a rafter in your garage or shed so your hands will be free to do the skinning. If you can't hang it, just lay it on a table. I used a small work bench covered with cardboard and some old rags to get my skinning started, then hung it from a rafter in the garage.



After the skin has been removed, the eyeballs need to come out. I used a pair of forceps to hold onto the edge of the skin around the eye while I used a small fillet knife to reach into the eye socket and trim the eyeball out. A pair of needle nose pliers will also work.





After the eyeballs are removed, then the lower jaw needs to be seperated from the skull. This is kind of tricky and you will have to work at it, but just keep trimming and prying until the lower jaw is removed.


This is what it will look like once the lower jaw has been removed.



Next you need to remove the brains, and I didn't take any pics of that part. Basically you need to find a spot just above the hole where the spinal cord entered the brain cavity, then take a hack saw or bone saw and cut just above that opening. This will make the hole bigger so the brain can be removed. I know it's nasty, but it must be done before boiling.
Try to remove as little bone from the skull as possible, it's much better to cut too little than too much! Because you can't put it back once it's been removed.

After that is done, you need to trim, trim, and trim some more any meat or tissue that you possibly can. Try to get the skull as clean and meat/tissue free as possible before boiling, this will make the process go much quicker and easier if you get it as clean as possible before going into the pot.

Now it's time to put it in a pot of water. I used an old canning pot that I use to boil my traps in before trapping season each year. I placed a rock in the bottom of the pot so the nose of my skull wouldn't touch the bottom of the pot where the heat source is. This also keeps the head more level to the point where the skull can be covered with water, and not the rack. Ideally you don't want any part of the rack submerged in the boiling water, but a little bit of it will be. Just keep the water level between the tip of the skull and the base of the rack.
Add about 4 tablespoons of Borax and simmer on a stove top or a turkey fryer stand. The same one you use for smelting lead wheel weights, that's what I used. I recommend you don't do this in the house! Your wife will ban you from ever bringing another deer home again! affraid Shocked



The idea here is.........and this is Very Important! Do Not bring to a Hard Boil.
You want to simmer it, rather than boil too hard because hard boiling is what deteriorates the bone and makes it brittle. A slow soft boil is what your looking for. If your using a turkey fryer/propane cooker like I did.....it will require the lowest possible setting on the flame adjustment that you can manage without the flame going out. If need be, and your water is boiling too hard......you may need to place some bricks or pieces of steel under the edge of your pot to get it up away from the flame in order to keep the temp down. Be careful if you do this that you don't spill hot boiling water all over yourself and get burned or scalded!
I am Not Responsible for any accidents occured during this process! Use common sense and Be Careful!!!
You just want to boil long enough until the tissue has all fallen off, or is able to be scraped off and No Longer. You don't want to boil any longer than absolutely necessary because the longer it boils the more brittle the bone becomes. Be patient, check your water level periodically, add more when necessary and check the skull often.
This boiling process may take all day long, it may only take half a day, it will vary from one skull to another. If you can't get it done in one day, then shut it off and finish it up the next day. It won't hurt it to sit in the water overnight.

Good Luck!

Feel free to ask any questions if you get stuck and need help.

~MO~
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Re: 8pt. Skull Maceration Complete **some pictures may be graphic**

Post by Daywalker on Wed Nov 24, 2010 1:01 am

WOW Mo excellent write up. Seems you looked into the future and knew this would be asked and you were ready for it...

Think I might spin this off and make it a stickey...

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Re: 8pt. Skull Maceration Complete **some pictures may be graphic**

Post by Mohunter on Wed Nov 24, 2010 1:17 am

I'm still thinking about doing an article on it for the magazine that I sometime contribute to. So I already had the pics taken as I went along for the article. It just so happened that Dartfreak asked for help so I went ahead and did a "Quickee" so he could get started on his deer head.

Glad I could help.
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Re: 8pt. Skull Maceration Complete **some pictures may be graphic**

Post by Daywalker on Wed Nov 24, 2010 1:41 am

You did a very good job, btw, Looking through the magazine rack at wally world here, they offer that magazine your talking about now!! Wink going to pick one up next trip out and look it over..

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Re: 8pt. Skull Maceration Complete **some pictures may be graphic**

Post by Reload3006 on Wed Nov 24, 2010 8:34 am

Great Job excellent instructions.
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Re: 8pt. Skull Maceration Complete **some pictures may be graphic**

Post by RichBirdHunter on Wed Nov 24, 2010 2:37 pm

Thanks for the DIY !! Thats a fine deer Mo
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Re: 8pt. Skull Maceration Complete **some pictures may be graphic**

Post by sdsviper on Wed Nov 24, 2010 2:47 pm

Looks great as is. Mount that puppy on the harley an ride. LOL

Great write up!!!!!!!!!!!
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Re: 8pt. Skull Maceration Complete **some pictures may be graphic**

Post by Mohunter on Wed Nov 24, 2010 3:12 pm

Thanks guys. I still have to seal it with Polyurethane, but other than that it's about as done as it needs to be as far as clean. I've got it hanging on my peg board in the garage and I'm letting it dry out real good for a few days from the boiling process to make sure there's no more moisture left in the bone or antlers before I seal it.
Then it will just get a hanger installed on the back and on the wall he goes.

I think this is the way to go with a rack that's not big enough to justify the $300 price tag of a full head mount, but still a trophy none the less.
I've got exactly $0 dollars invested so far, and just a couple of days work in it. Not bad for a DIY project and something nice to hang on the wall for gawking at.
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Re: 8pt. Skull Maceration Complete **some pictures may be graphic**

Post by hawcer on Wed Nov 24, 2010 3:26 pm

I think you did an excellent job....if I would have known this stuff a few years ago, I could have had a nice collection of yotes,coons,and possum skulls, do squirrels count?LOL

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Re: 8pt. Skull Maceration Complete **some pictures may be graphic**

Post by Mohunter on Wed Nov 24, 2010 9:02 pm

Hawcer, if you follow this link it will show you the method to use and it works for everything from largest North American game to the smallest bird skulls. You just have to downsize your operation and tools, and the boiling times will be less. The main thing is to not over do it with the boiling or the bone turns to egg shells and falls apart.

Here's the link again.
http://ag.arizona.edu/pubs/natresources/az1144.pdf
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Re: 8pt. Skull Maceration Complete **some pictures may be graphic**

Post by billarrington on Fri Nov 26, 2010 9:22 am

good job mo.. and btw..nice rack!! ..wow that was awkward !! hehe

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Re: 8pt. Skull Maceration Complete **some pictures may be graphic**

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