Buffalo Skull

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Ice Tracker's picture
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Buffalo Skull

Found a buffalo skull over the weekend now wondering what to use to preserve it. Anybody ever preserved a buffalo skull?

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 I'd call the guy who mounted the deer in your avatar and see what he uses to preserve european mounts.

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Ice tracker- you can buy a kit for whitening form Cabelas or van dykes- pretty easy to do if its already clean. We usually pull off the horns and paint with flat black too. Good luck!

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Was it on the ground surface? (died recently?)

If it was found in a creek or river bottom and is brown/black or has the "patina" then don't whiten it. Usually drying it out is all you need to do since it's half-way petrified already. Is it really crazy wide big steer looking thing (extinct species) or the modern buffalo? Like this?

I found a nice one in the old creek that runs just east side of Bismarck (past game and fish) when I was a kid. Still have it sitting next to me in my office. Wasn't the ice-age big wide one though, just a standard modern day critter. :(

Like this (not mine):



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you might not want to whiten or preserve it.  with all the major flooding and erosion in the last couple years many once burried and forgotton things have been exposed. 

Over 10,000 years ago there were many more species of large mammals here in N america and there were also many more species of bison.  My guess is you chances of finding an extinct specie of bison now is greater than finding the common Bison bison of today.  I'd guess you probably found a Bison antiqqus or Bison occidentalis skull.

can you post a pic?  what does it measure from horn tip to horn tip?  if you lay a straight edge accross the skull resting on the horn tips does it touch the skull or is it 1.5 to 2 inches above it.  these details can tell me what specie you have found.

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if it looks like the ones in the above pics, just rinse the dirt gravel & mud out of them and let it dry.  it's probably half mineralized anyway, on its way to fossilization.

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Ice Tracker Said:
Found a buffalo skull over the weekend now wondering what to use to preserve it. Anybody ever preserved a buffalo skull?

Thats a sweet find.  i would love to have a buffalo skull an hang it on the wall.

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I have been told that if you find something (fossil, arrowhead, etc) that has been moved from its original resting place you can legally take it.(assuming you are not on private land).   BUT if you dig something up you have to notify the state and it is illegal to take it.

I know a guy who walks creeks in the badlands looking for buff skulls exposed from recent rains and is quite successful.

If a skull is "half mineralized or fossilized" does it continue the process in your basement?

                                                                                                                         

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The skull looks like the bottom picture.... People have told me they have dug them out of the river banks and in a couple years they pretty much disintegrate

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Ice Tracker Said:
The skull looks like the bottom picture.... People have told me they have dug them out of the river banks and in a couple years they pretty much disintegrate

I suppose it depends on the oxygen exposure during submersion (no oxygen is best of course), how long it was exposed to freeze/thaw, etc.

Mine is "perfect" in that it's still solid as original bone but brown/tan from mineralization and/or humic/fulvic exposure.

The only thing I can think of if it seems crumbly/crappy now would be to dry it out then slather/coat/soak it in some sort of clear casting resin/epoxy. If it's not crumbling now I think you're good to juct let it dry. It shouldn't "rot more" without additional sun, moisture, or freeze/thaw.



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Mine... I was hoping to find an embedded arrowhead. Wouldn't that be awesome?



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I would say that yours is an extinct species

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I have a partial skull,   from the old long horned typed buffalo.  Skull plate and  one horn, found when I was younger on the Little Mo   , I still have it. just kept it in a dry place. Thought about "loaning" it out to the local  museum if they wanted to display.

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I know ND G&F made it against the law to possess an intact skull (of a game species?) without a hunting tag to go with it...don't how a bison skull fits into that...antique or otherwise. I have been told by USFS staff that it is against the law to pick up or dig for skulls, artifacts, and even rocks (chunks of scoria or petrified wood) on the national grass lands.  On private land they are property of the land owner.

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Pat'sPlace Said:

I know ND G&F made it against the law to possess an intact skull (of a game species?) without a hunting tag to go with it...don't how a bison skull fits into that...antique or otherwise. I have been told by USFS staff that it is against the law to pick up or dig for skulls, artifacts, and even rocks (chunks of scoria or petrified wood) on the national grass lands.  On private land they are property of the land owner.

Finder keepers losers wheepers in my book

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guywhofishes Said:
Mine... I was hoping to find an embedded arrowhead. Wouldn't that be awesome?

The mushroom and skull man.  Did you find this in ND?

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It takes many, many years (generally thousands at a minimum) and the right environment to fossilize a bone through mineral replacement.  Most modern skulls that come out of a river bank are probably too recent to have seen much replacement of bone material with inorganic minerals (quartz and the like).  Hence they will tend to degrade over time if left in the elements, but should be ok once through the drying process if brought indoors.  Well, unless Fido takes a liking to his new treat.

“Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.” ~ Mark Twain

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Enslow Said:

guywhofishes Said:
Mine... I was hoping to find an embedded arrowhead. Wouldn't that be awesome?

The mushroom and skull man.  Did you find this in ND?

Yep - eastern Bismarck. One horn sticking out of the creek bank.



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Enslow Said:

Pat'sPlace Said:

I know ND G&F made it against the law to possess an intact skull (of a game species?) without a hunting tag to go with it...don't how a bison skull fits into that...antique or otherwise. I have been told by USFS staff that it is against the law to pick up or dig for skulls, artifacts, and even rocks (chunks of scoria or petrified wood) on the national grass lands.  On private land they are property of the land owner.

Finder keepers losers wheepers in my book

Can I surface collect for arrowheads or geodes? Can I dig for artifacts?

FAQ

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has a responsibility for ensuring that properties of a cultural, historical, or traditional nature located on Corps lands are preserved and managed appropriately. Removal of any artifact, prehistoric or historic, from Federal lands is a violation of both Federal regulations and Federal law. Conviction for digging for artifacts can result in both substantial financial penalty which could be as much as a $250,000.00 and incarceration of up to five years.

I am thinking a fine such as stated above would change the finders into weepers.

“Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.” ~ Mark Twain

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Allen Said:

Enslow Said:

Pat'sPlace Said:

I know ND G&F made it against the law to possess an intact skull (of a game species?) without a hunting tag to go with it...don't how a bison skull fits into that...antique or otherwise. I have been told by USFS staff that it is against the law to pick up or dig for skulls, artifacts, and even rocks (chunks of scoria or petrified wood) on the national grass lands.  On private land they are property of the land owner.

Finder keepers losers wheepers in my book

Can I surface collect for arrowheads or geodes? Can I dig for artifacts?

FAQ

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has a responsibility for ensuring that properties of a cultural, historical, or traditional nature located on Corps lands are preserved and managed appropriately. Removal of any artifact, prehistoric or historic, from Federal lands is a violation of both Federal regulations and Federal law. Conviction for digging for artifacts can result in both substantial financial penalty which could be as much as a $250,000.00 and incarceration of up to five years.

I am thinking a fine such as stated above would change the finders into weepers.

Unless you quote the Book Of Enslow,  then the courtroom will hush and there will be apple martinis for everyone.

                                                                                                                         

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Allen Said:

Enslow Said:

Pat'sPlace Said:

I know ND G&F made it against the law to possess an intact skull (of a game species?) without a hunting tag to go with it...don't how a bison skull fits into that...antique or otherwise. I have been told by USFS staff that it is against the law to pick up or dig for skulls, artifacts, and even rocks (chunks of scoria or petrified wood) on the national grass lands.  On private land they are property of the land owner.

Finder keepers losers wheepers in my book

Can I surface collect for arrowheads or geodes? Can I dig for artifacts?

FAQ

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has a responsibility for ensuring that properties of a cultural, historical, or traditional nature located on Corps lands are preserved and managed appropriately. Removal of any artifact, prehistoric or historic, from Federal lands is a violation of both Federal regulations and Federal law. Conviction for digging for artifacts can result in both substantial financial penalty which could be as much as a $250,000.00 and incarceration of up to five years.

I am thinking a fine such as stated above would change the finders into weepers.

Lets see em catch me.  Not that i will be on corp land looking for stuff other than roosters.

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WormWiggler Said:

Allen Said:

Enslow Said:

Pat'sPlace Said:

I know ND G&F made it against the law to possess an intact skull (of a game species?) without a hunting tag to go with it...don't how a bison skull fits into that...antique or otherwise. I have been told by USFS staff that it is against the law to pick up or dig for skulls, artifacts, and even rocks (chunks of scoria or petrified wood) on the national grass lands.  On private land they are property of the land owner.

Finder keepers losers wheepers in my book

Can I surface collect for arrowheads or geodes? Can I dig for artifacts?

FAQ

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has a responsibility for ensuring that properties of a cultural, historical, or traditional nature located on Corps lands are preserved and managed appropriately. Removal of any artifact, prehistoric or historic, from Federal lands is a violation of both Federal regulations and Federal law. Conviction for digging for artifacts can result in both substantial financial penalty which could be as much as a $250,000.00 and incarceration of up to five years.

I am thinking a fine such as stated above would change the finders into weepers.

Unless you quote the Book Of Enslow,  then the courtroom will hush and there will be apple martinis for everyone.

Appletinis?  hahahaha you don't know me very well.  I drink appletinis for breakfast. hahahahaha

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One day guy on a buffalo was ridin around through the forest, and ohhh whats that??? A skull of a buuuffffaaallloooo.

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odocoileus Said:

One day guy on a buffalo was ridin around through the forest, and ohhh whats that??? A skull of a buuuffffaaallloooo.



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 Finding something like thats pretty cool. I was  out canoeing this spring and saw a skull poking out of the bank. I was hoping for something like that but after I dug it out it morphed into a rather ordinary horse skull. oh well

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I found this buffalo on a dog.  I kept the buffalo and let the dog go.

Dead animals don't need fur anyway!!!!!!!!!!
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here is the skull we found tip to tip right around 28 inches

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A stream never rises above its source
If I had 8 hours to chop down a tree, I would spend six hours sharpening my axe

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I am pretty sure my uncle used to scuba dive in the Missouri River and find Buffalo Skulls.  I am even thinking up near the tailrace?

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Does it have the location of origin stamped on the bottom? If not, it came from my arse.  If I cover up the outhouse hole and come back ten years later to harvest paper weights, I don't have to say where they came from.  ;)


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I just found a nice buffalo skull tring to show a pic of it

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tedfernow@msn.com Said:
I just found a nice buffalo skull tring to show a pic of it

you might want to edit your profile and get your email out of your nickname field before the spambots inundate your email with more spam



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I had 3 euros dipped in camo this year after seeing them at our trophy show in oakes. Really turned out nice. They have like 200 different patterns to choose from

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 I actually found one of those sticking out of the bank along the Red River while I was catfishing a few years ago north of Grand Forks. Tried digging it out of the clay, but the skull pretty much disintegrated every time I took scoop. Too bad. I was really hoping to get it out intact. 

It was about six feet down from the top of the bank. I'm guess that means it was pretty old, given the amount of silt needed to be deposited in order to make six feet of dirt. 


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 No one knows about how to preserve them?

What about gluing on a piece that fell off, any suggestions on a good adhesive?

Someone mentioned being able to tell the species by whether or not a ruler touches the skull when laid across the horn tips, I'd like to hear more on that subject or how to tell is the skull is from an old bison or a REALLY old bison.

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These are the bison of ancient times. They can be found right here in North Dakota. Infact, there was a dig not to long ago done by beacon island up by New Town a few years ago to see if they could recover any of these species out of what they though was a prehistoric mud pit if I remember correctly. Lots of relics were found but i'm not sure if they ever unearthed this species or not. Would love to find the documents on the dig somewhere.

Anyway, this species is clearly distinct from the more standard bison of today. Bigger in stature and horn spread of up to 7.5ft as indicated above. I have seen only a few of these skulls on display and if I remember correctly the museum at four bears has one on display as well as a cool pair of locked moose antlers. Neat museum to check out.


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As far as preserving, you need to wash them off delicately. You will never get all the sediment out without sacrificing a bit of breakage since these bones that are often found along wet river banks are very brittle. I have tried with several bones and the best thing to do is wash them immediately, let them dry then display them in a protected place and leave them alone! Even slight handling leaves crumbs from the decomposing bone. Do not try to bleach or whiten the bone, It will not stand up well to the scrubbing process and probably will crumble even worse once the bleach has done its job.
  
Often I have just left the mud in them to dry especially if you have a real nice specimen. Better than not to damage it. Bison of modern times typically have not been laying in the soil bank long enough and the bone is simply decomposing thus making it chip and flake once it dries out. I never have found an ancient skull, just the stuff from more modern times so that is about as far as my experience goes.


This is my BOOMSTICK!!!

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Today's Bison bison species lived along with the dozen or so other species at the same time 10,000+ years ago before the ice age wiped out most of the others.  I know if the skull is very similar to a normal bison, but the spread is 24" or more from horn tip to horn tip the chances are very good it's a Bison antiqqus.  I have a few anitiqqus that are half mineralized and one with much smaller more curved horns that I havn't identified yet. 

As far as preservation, just dry them out and keep them indoors.

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Found this one in the bottom of a creek bed in eastern ND as a youngster. The entire skull was there complete and in my haste to pick it up to look at it the skull disintegrated and this is all that remains.  Found another one smaller than this some time later nearby. It is shocking how heavy and dense this is after laying there for all those years.

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I have mixed shellac and alcohol 50/50 and applied it with a brush.   It will hold it together better, and the small pieces don't flake off. 

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Plainsman Said:
I have mixed shellac and alcohol 50/50 and applied it with a brush.   It will hold it together better, and the small pieces don't flake off. 

Sounds good. What kind of alcohol? Beer, whiskey, vodka or something stronger? haha

But in all seriousness


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I have a couple of these that I would be willing to sell.  PM me for details.