How to Make a European Mount.
Taxidermy can be a bit pricey and with very few taxidermists in rural Maine customers are often asked to patiently wait up to a year or more for their mounts to be ready. I have found that the DIY European mount is a perfect solution for those of us who are anxious for a finished product and don’t want to fork up the cash for a professional head mount. A DIY European mount costs very little and only takes about 4 days to complete (3 of which is allowing the skull to soak). The process is simple and takes very few materials to execute.
Simply follow these steps and soon you will be admiring your very own DIY European mount!
Start by gathering these materials: Gerber scalpel or sharp knife, Kelly clamps/forceps or needle nose pliers, peroxide, soda ash or dawn dish soap, electrical tape or saran wrap, rag, scissors, plastic container, large pot, and a butter knife.
Allow animal head to thaw (2-3 days if fully frozen). Carefully remove hide using scalpel and discard. Once hide is fully removed from the head of the animal remove as much meat as possible. Lastly, remove eyeballs from the eye sockets.
Place skull in large pot. Fill water until it reaches about 3 inches below the antler bases. Add 1 cup of soda ash (this helps break up grease). Boil the skull for 30 minutes. Do not allow antlers to touch the boiling water. This prevents the antlers from burning and becoming discolored. If you are working on an antlerless animal it is ok to fully submerge the skull.
Remove from water and allow the skull to partially cool. Using a butter knife remove all meat from the outer skull. Once outer skull is clean use the kelly clamps/forceps to remove meat/loose collagen from nasal cavities. Next, clean out the brain cavity by puncturing the outer layer of the brain and mixing the brain matter until it is loose (looks like cottage cheese, yuck). Rinse out the inner skull using sink or outside hose. Once the brain cavity is free of all soft brain material use the kelly clamps/forceps to peel the remaining brain shealth.
Dry the antlers and wrap with electrical tape starting at the base. Wrap upward 3 inches. This prevents the antlers from being bleached/discolored during the next step. For an antlerless animal disregard this step.
Place skull in a plastic container. Fill with peroxide until skull in submerged up to skull cap. Do not allow the base of the antlers to touch the peroxide. Place a small rag over skull cap between the antlers (do not let the rag touch the antlers). This will draw peroxide upward over the skull cap without bleaching the base of the antlers. If working with an antlerless animal fully submerge the skull. Allow skull to soak for 72 hours.
Remove skull from peroxide and rinse with water. Brush off any remaining debris. Once inner and outer skull is fully clean set aside and allow to dry.
Congratulations! You are done! Please let me know if you have any questions regarding these steps.