This is a tutorial on how to make a European skull mount that looks great and provides a great story to tell.
Step 1: Removal of the Hide
Begin with the nose of the deer and slowly move up the middle of the snout up to the top of its head. Once a cut has been made from the nose to the head, slowly start to peel the skin back and begin cutting the connective tissue all the way down to the bottom of the jaw. We do not have to skin the lower mandible because we will be removing it anyway. Cut around the base of the antlers with the scalpel or small knife to make it easier while skinning.
Step 2: Removal of the Hide (continued)
Take the larger knife and cut off the ears and extra meat around the back of the head and around the ears. There should only be skin left at the very top of the head and the lower jaw at this point.
Step 3: Removal of the Lower Mandible
Once the deer is skinned up to the lower jaw line, it can now be removed. There are 2 small bones on either side of the deer's jaw that is connecting it to the top jaw. A tool I like to use for this is a simple pliers, or a bone cutters. grab onto the bone and either twist or snap the bones off. They should come off quite easily. Once both jawbones are snapped, we should be able to bend the entire jaw backwards and twist it off. Continue to cut the meat off as you remove the hide and jaw.
Step 4: Removal of the Eyes
Next, we remove the eyes. To do this we simply take our scalpel blade and go around the entire eye socket being careful not to cut into the actual eyes themselves. Once a cut has been made all the way around the eyes, I like to take our pliers and carefully pull the eyes out of their sockets and remove them with the scalpel.
Step 5: Removal of the Eyes (continued)
Once the eyes are removed, continue to remove the meat and whatever is left of the hide.
Step 6: Simmering the Skull
An easy way to remove what’s left of the skin and meat on the skull is to boil it for around 7-8 hours. What I like to use is a large cooking pot and a grill or any other outdoor cooking appliance. It’s also nice to have stiff wire brush to get the excess meat off easier. I start by bringing a large cooking pot filled with water up to a good simmer. We don’t want to actually boil the skull, but a simmer with few bubbles. This will allow the skin and meat to become soft and loose and we will be able to remove it much easier. Another tool to use will be some sort of pick to remove the brain once it has been boiling for a while.
Step 7: The Bleaching Process
The bleaching process is done by soaking the skull in hydrogen peroxide or bleach and letting it sit for a 1-2 days. If you do choose to use bleach, it has to be diluted before use so it doesn't weaken the bone. The one that was done in this tutorial is currently still soaking and isn't done in time for this presentation, but it is very simple to do. Simply soak the skull in peroxide or diluted bleach and let dry. This is a fun and easy way to show off trophy bucks to all family and friends. European mounts are cheap and simple to do and really make a great wall piece in homes. It’s always a great conversation starter and will be an awesome story to tell!