Mummified deer antlers

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bobkat's picture
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Mummified deer antlers

 

I've got a sort of self inflicted problem.  I shot two pretty good bucks last year, one gun, one bow, and as I have too many full mounts and definitely don't need any more, I simply cut the antlers from the skull.  Temporarily hung them up in my shop. I got busy and never got around to removing the hide, muscle, fat etc. from the  skull cap, and now, almost a year later I tried to pry his mummified/ freeze dried material from the skull cap.

Absolutely couldn't do it with knives, even sharpened wood chisels!  That stuff can't even be cut with a sharp heavy knife!  Like cutting hardened plastic. 

Wondering if anyone has ideas how to get this stuff off.  I guess I could soak it, but there's so much fat in it I'm not sure any water would even penetrate it.  Maybe try boil it off like a European mount?  Maybe wait till after this season and try to do them all at once, assuming I can shoot straight two years in a row! LOL

Any ideas are sure appreciated!  The moral of this story is don't procrastinate - wouldn't have taken 20 minutes to do it a year ago.  

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Your only recourse might be boiling, best case, everything comes right off, worse case it softens the skin enough for you to be able to cut it off.  I have a couple of sets of antlers sitting in my garage waiting for the same thing.

Don't practice until you get it right, practice until you can't get it wrong.

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Best bet is to boil. I would bring water and a generous amount of dawn dish soap to a boil, back it off from boiling (boiling at high temp after letting sit so long could make bone become brittle) and let soak, checking it every 15 minutes. My guess it's going to take about an hour.  The dish soap should break down the fat easier.

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Really,  You shot two bucks and don't have time to properly take care of them.    I can't get a buck license and you get two and don't take care.    More reason why ND needs to limit the tags to one per person per year to use however.     Sick!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

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I did a few that had the hide on for a long time. The trick is to soak them in water for a few days then start the standard boil process. The only issues is, bone that has had flesh dry on it will not bleach as white as bone that is fresh. I did the one in the photo in 15, so it had the hide on it for 9 years! Hope this helps.


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walifan wrote:

Really,  You shot two bucks and don't have time to properly take care of them.    I can't get a buck license and you get two and don't take care.    More reason why ND needs to limit the tags to one per person per year to use however.     Sick!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

There are a lot of people that shoot nice bucks and throw the rack in the barn or in their landscaping.  It is kind of irritating, but also nothing wrong with it.  They shot it they can throw the rack in a rock pile if they want.  Life isn't fair...........the more we accept that the less things will bother us.

 

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I have one that's been sitting in my garage for several years, I'm sure it's in this same state. I'm gonna soak and boil it this winter and see how it turns out.

Don't practice until you get it right, practice until you can't get it wrong.

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Bobcat,

I'd tie a rope to them and throw them into a creek or slough for a few weeks. Should soften up the flesh again and get cleaned up by bugs and stuff in the water. You could also try to find an ant mound or someone with beetles maybe they would eat it off.

Boiling would be my last resort and make sure it's a well ventalated area. Peeyeew

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Thanks for all the advice.  Looks like boiling them will be the best course of action.  Or soaking them well like ND Sportsman advises.

Sorry Walifin, but not to make excuses, I ended up in hospital with complete vertebral fusions from upper T region to 

Sacrum, so now I can brag that I'm one piece of bone, titanium, plastic, homogenized bone bits, and some kind of genetically engineered bone growth stimulated packed into little washer like thingees that were put in to replace all the discs. One solid hunk of stuff from shoulder blades to A-hole!  I lost 2 inches in height doing all this, but had I had a choice, I'd far sooner had been working on the antlers or any one of a billion other projects I happen to have going.

You mentioned drawing too many bucks! I wholeheartedly agree!  Last year I also drew a muzzy tag, a tag I applied for at least 5-6 years, but as I had already shot two bucks I felt guilty about being a potential game hog so did NOT muzzy hunt, feeling that as thousands didn't draw ANY tag, I sure wouldn't take THREE deer, especially theee big ones!

 

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And BTW, speaking about multiple buck tags and muzzy hunt!!   Sorry to possibly start a fight here, but I do NOT muzzyhunt with one of those ridiculous scopes in lines!   HORRORS!!!   I use my Harpers Ferry 1801 flintlock, the same one that the Lewis and Clarke expedition used!   You know, the type of muzzleloader that the original bill allowing muzzy hunting was intended.......NOT those stupid, ridiculous, lazy man's, etc.    Someday I'll tell you how I REALLY feel about those so call d "modern" muZys that totally RUINED the original muzzy season!  LOL. My opinion, anyway!  (And I'm sure the opinion of everyone who,testified for,the original muzzy season back about ??  1983-4?!  I doubt I'll live long enough to draw another muzzy tag.  The quick and easy lazy scoped Inliner crowd  get 99.9% of them! 

No more posts from me! I passed up a bunch of,deer, several nice bucks and and a few dozen does the last few nites over our food plots, but if I do choose to shoot one, I promise Walifin I won't be lazy this fall, and get to it right away and not waste time on websites! I'm not sure where to put ANOTHER set of deer antlers on any walls anyway having hunted for over 60 years and still having antlers going back to when I was a kid. 

 

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bobkat, I'd like to see the finished product and hear how/what you did to get them cleaned up when you're all finished!

Don't practice until you get it right, practice until you can't get it wrong.

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I have also made some mummified antlers in the past.

I did not soke, but rather used a Dremel tool and carefully cut away the hair. I then used a variety of different pliers and peeled away the dried skin.

When I was done, it looked like I skinned it right away.

Just be careful with the Dremel and attachments you choose

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Bob,

Been there, done this.  I used a boxcutter, thin (#1??) flat blade screw driver, needlenose pliers to get mine off.  Yeah, it takes a little time and all but if you soak them you run the risk of damaging the natural finish on the antler itself, and the hide just gets slimy and hard to grip.

Think of it as a piece of wood you're going to whittle on.

 

p.s.  If I am ever in your shoes, I'd probably try to fill the muzzy tag as well.  Where I am from that is called making full use of your opportunities!

“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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Yeah, I was thinking the dremel tool, , super sharp knives, and even one of those little hand held saws with the horizontal oscillating blade that could cut between the rubber hide and skull.  That stuff is just like the toughest rubber you'd ever see.  I have a variety of other tools here in my shop that I've been eyeing.

Haven't quite got to it yet, but maybe take them out to he deer camp to work on between the morning and evening stand hunt.  Kill a bit of time between hunts.  Also have some old winter killed skulls to clean up.  Ain't it great to be retired and looking for projects to kill time?  LOL. 

I'm hot and cold about passing on the muzzy tag.  The weather  was great the first weekend, and I thought of donating the carcass to the food pantry, but trouble is, by the time the muzzy season rolls around most of the places to donate tend to be closed.  Also, when I see all those big old bucks on the trail cams this year, I guess I'm happy I left the flintlock hanging over the fireplace.   Maybe use It again during the gun season in future years if I'm still around during that season and not sunning myself in AZ pulling in Stripers! Might even donate it to the Heritage Center! I didn't see a Lewis and Clark smoke pole there last time I was there.  Or a genuine .50-70 non carbine model Trapdoor like General Custer carried.  No one could ever figure that quirk out! 

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Bobcat, Scopes are illegal in ND Muzzleloader season... As for the heads I would just put them on a roof or on an anthill for awhile. I boiled a deadhead this spring and it was horrid smelling. 

 

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I have a few winter killed deer heads out at the deer camp that I put on a roof, but even though there are plenty of scavenger birds around, they just lie there year after year unchanged.  Ant hills?  I put some half fleshed out beaver skulls on some anthills one time and though the flesh steadily disappeared, one day they disappeared.  I think they sunk into the anthill but I didn't care to try to dog them up.  Maybe I Should have checked them more frequently.  

1x scopes are perfectly legal on ND Muzzies, as are aimpoints and sights like that.  Supposedly to accommodate older shooters who can't focus on sights.  Every legislature or so someone introduces a bill to allow magnification to help " older" shooters, though the guys testifying all seem to be in their 20's and 30's and all seem to brag about 2 inch groups at 200 yards!. Sooner or later it'll pass though. I'm an old fart, but all my muzzy friends except some younger ones, use iron sights on their flintlocks and cap locks, rarely some use ghost ring peepsights, which workfine for old fart eyes!

FWIW, I know several bow hunters who use peep sights on their bows, yet whine that they can't see iron sights of their muzzles.  These are all 30-50 year olds.  Peeps on rifles work exactly the same as peeps on bows, "ghost ring" sights, so it is a zero argument IMO.  

But Ive given up caring about it. Ill probably not live long enough to draw a muzzy tag again anyway, though maybe stoke up the 1803 flintlock for gun season and show the inclines how it's done!  Just kidding you modern kids.....

Were I not catching fish in warm climates during the legislative sessions I'd try to start a movement towards a separate doe only whitetail season requiring a flinter, matchlock or cap lock, requiring REAL black powder and REAL bullets of that period (patched round balls, mine balls, etc) and period iron sights. That'd be fun for the buckskinner types pr older traditionalists and best of all NOT detract from any other special interests seasons, like bows, inline modern  muzzles, etc.  There'd likeley be few takers so there could be an unlimited number of tags, over the counter, without interfering with anyone else.  Worth an experimental try for a year or so though.

Going to try some of the mummified head suggestions out at deer camp one of these days. Shouldn't stink anyone out there.