View Full Version : Deer Skull Cleaning?

February 3, 2008, 05:33 PM
I was wondering the best, or easiest way to get all the flesh off/out of a deer skull. I know about boiling it, but one guy that has done it mentioned that it didn't work too well. Also, I'm not sure how I could do it other than have to make a camp fire, and even then I'm not sure how long it would need to boil.

I was just thinking about leaving it out in the open when spring comes around, but I didn't want to take a decade.


February 3, 2008, 05:55 PM
Leaving it out in the weather didn't work great for me and the sun bleached the antlers.

I've heard of burying it with the antlers sticking out of the ground and putting a big bucket or something over the antlers to keep the rodents and squirrels from chewing the antlers. For that matter maybe you could bury the whole thing and put a little fence around it to keep dogs from digging it up and carrying it off.

I guess you could also bury it in a compost pile.

I'm not much help, am I?

February 3, 2008, 05:58 PM
Hoist it up into a tree for a bird feeder? :D
Or how about just putting it near a big fire ant mound?

(the quickest would be a combination of the two)

February 3, 2008, 06:44 PM
A friend of mine takes the bigger heads from the gators we catch ( Legally! ) and cleans them using the boiling method. They come out very clean with not that much effort.

He uses a product from Van Dykes, the taxedermy supply house. I think it's called Sal Soda???

Haven't done a deer head in it, and I'd be careful to keep the antlers out of the solution while boiling, but I'd think it will do a good job.

You do need to be careful to not over boil it as that will make it want to fall apart. On the gator heads, after they are boiled he glues everything back up and it's done. Sells the big ones, depending on size, for as much as $400.....

Adventurer 2
February 3, 2008, 11:38 PM

Lawyer Daggit
February 4, 2008, 12:35 AM
Put it on an ant mound. They will strip the flesh in no time.

February 4, 2008, 02:04 AM
Boil it.
You can get propane element or use your propane grill, if you want to boil it outside. If your hood fan above your stove works it really isn't a big deal to do it inside.
Get a big pot at the thrift store. You could use one of your wifes pots but we both know that ain't happening.

You don't have to boil it hard, a soft boil will do just as well.
Toss a cup of salt in the water and cover the skull leaving the antlers mostly above the water.
Top off the water as it boils down.

February 4, 2008, 02:01 PM
Field & Stream just had an article about how to make a European mount a month or so back.

February 4, 2008, 02:11 PM
i've heard of people tying a rope or chain around the antlers and throwing the head in a pond. they say turtles will clean it up.

February 4, 2008, 05:02 PM
Put a cup of 20 Mule Team Borax in the boiling water. Slow boil for 20 minutes or so, pick as much off as you can and then repeat with a fresh batch of water/borax. Might have to do this 3-4 times. I bore a large hole on the underside to access the brain case too.

February 4, 2008, 05:04 PM
Oh, and DO NOT use an aluminum pot for this.

February 4, 2008, 10:37 PM
Have you tried Coca-Cola? I know it sounds wierd but you can put a t-bone steak in coke and within a couple of weeks the steak will be gone and only the bone will remain. My soon to be father in law is trying this very method right now on a 10-point. Google this and you will find tons of info on what Coca-Cola can do.

February 4, 2008, 11:27 PM
Thanks for all the replies everyone,

I just drank a coke by the way...

Maybe I will burry it until the spring or summer and boil it in coke then if there is anything left?

I dont have to worry about bleaching the antlers because the buck got his broke off some time before I shot him. They look like that may have been a young 6 or 8 pointer.

Thanks again

February 4, 2008, 11:36 PM
Y dont u just skin it out like the taxidermist does? I watched mine do it, and it wasnt that hard at all. Just use a sharp knife and he wasnt afraid to resharpen it during the process.

February 5, 2008, 06:01 PM
Have you thought about these little guys.
Google dermestid beetles

February 5, 2008, 07:17 PM
Search "European mount" on google. The best method utilizes peroxcide (maybe hair dye type) to do it. If you boil it enough to do a bang up job the skull will be soft and teeth loose. If not the brain will stink up the place... I ain't no pro but after 10-20 hog heads I just go for the rustic look of them on the OUTSIDE of the shed wall!

February 5, 2008, 08:28 PM
I did one last year. Came out great! Best $80 I ever spent having someone else do it.;)

February 6, 2008, 07:38 PM
Boil it OUTSIDE. My god how it smells.....

Anyway - I used a cheap powder detergent that my taxidermist recommended and the name of it escapes me right now. It caused the remaining flesh to peel off the skull and bleached the skull bones white. Very easy to do and does a very nice job. What's left is easy to clean off the skull with a knife. When I remember the name, I'll post it.

February 6, 2008, 11:20 PM
Bury it out in the garden make sure critters cant get at the antlers sticking up out of the ground and walk away and leave it there for a year or so.

Take it out and soak it in a bucket with some water and bleach for a while to de-stinkify it and hang it up

February 9, 2008, 07:30 PM
What are you saving the skull for? You don't use the skull for a mount. The usual thing is to skin the head, then saw off the forehead and antlers. The brains just fall out. Scrape the bones a bit and let it dry. Have fun.