Not all stories are told by hunting trophies, but all hunting trophies tell a story.
It’s true. Besides the virtues of hunting for your own meat and finding solace from fast moving society in nature, the hunting tradition is rooted in storytelling.
Whether the value lies in the food, or the chase, or the downright most bizarre sights, hunters have stories that last a lifetime. Ancients solidified their stories through the passage of time by drawing them on cave walls, mountain men would wear their stories in scars and battle wounds from America’s most dangerous hunts, and today we put heads on the wall.
If you have a story to tell, skip the taxidermist. Forget paying hundreds of dollars to solidify your story through time, make a European mount.
DIY Guide To European Mounts
What You Need
- Large pot to boil
- Fireplace/bonfire/heat source if possible
- Degreasing soap
- SalonCare 40 Volume Developer
- Six pack of choice beer
- Powder whitener
- Paint brush
- Plastic wrap
- Tin foil (if working with deer)
Take your animal and strip the head of meat and hide. Don’t be an asshole and leave your skull out to dry for weeks after fleshing like I did with this fox, it’s a real pain in the ass to pick at all the small scraps if the meat has dried. If you leave the skull out, you also run the risk of staining bone, making the later step of bleaching a lengthy process. Do this soon after the kill. Don’t overwhelm your hand and knife with getting every bit of meat off. That’s where step two comes in.
This step is called boiling for the sake of wording. Don’t actually boil the skull. This can make bones fragile. Rather, bring your skull to a nice blistering simmer, smoking and bubbling slightly but not at a boil. The hot water should help remove any little bits of meat, and some will fall to the bottom of your pot. You should take the skull out and pick away at it with knife, tooth pick, and/or pliers after about 30-40 minutes to remove any straggling bits. If the meat is still incompliant, repeat this step again.
If you are boiling a deer skull, be sure to submerge only the skull and not the antlers.
The skull should now be meatless. If you had left it out to dry, as I have earlier stated, the skull may be stained red. No need to worry, it will be taken care of. But now, after your skull has simmered, it will have absorbed grease through the process. Place your skull in a Tupperware tub filled with cold water and degreasing soap. This will extract the grease from the skull. After a 30 minute sit, remove the skull and completely dry.
Put on your gloves and make a mixture of SalonCare 40 Volume Crème Developer and whitener powder. These products can be purchased at virtually any beauty store. The hydrogen peroxide will work to “bleach” the skull, but its imperative not to substitute this concoction with actual bleach. Bleach is too strong and will make the bones brittle.
The mixture should be roughly 50:50 developer to powder. Paint the mixture on the skull making sure to hit every crevasse and surface. Be generous in applying but make sure you wear gloves. This shit is potent, and will burn and sting your hands without glove wear. If you are working with a deer skull, wrap the base of the antlers with foil. You want to keep your antlers from being bleached with the skull.
After you have applied a generous coating, wrap in plastic wrap.
To let the peroxide work best its best to place near a source of heat. This is a good time to kick back, crack open a couple cold ones, and enjoy the flames of a bonfire with your painted skull as company. If this is not pracitcal, an inside fireplace will do. Just be sure to keep the skull and its peroxide mixture from getting overly hot, you want it to be uncomfortably warm. Rotate the skull every 30 minutes to an hour, checking every couple hours. Again, if the skull is stained red, or if the first round of bleach leaves the skull with a yellow tint, repeat this step.
If there is no source of heat available, the process will still work, but will just take much longer.
Rinse and Enjoy
After letting the peroxide do its work, remove the skull from the plastic wrap and rinse thoroughly under cold water.
Place your skull on the highest mantle of your house. Let its presence be a timeless story.