How to Get Your Own Elk European Mount

Cleaning Skulls for an Elk European Mount

Whether you were lucky enough to tag out on your first bull elk ever or your 10th trophy elk, there’s no denying that those antlers seem to captivate us. There’s something about the unusual symmetry and glistening white tips that just amazes us. But if you want to display them, you might have a problem. Full elk shoulder mounts come with a large price tag and they take up a lot of space on a wall. So the next best option is doing your own elk European mount. European mounts are beautiful in their own way, offer a simpler looking design that doesn’t occupy a whole wall, and they don’t cost a fraction of a full mount. And if you’re looking for elk mounts for low ceilings, this is also the way to go. So if you’re wondering how to do a European elk mount, here’s what you need to know.

How to Clean an Elk Skull

This process is very similar to cleaning a deer skull since they are in the same family. You’ll first need to skin the head and remove as much of the muscle tissue as possible. Keep the knife blade flat against the skull as much as you can so that you don’t score the skull, which will show up in the final elk European mount. To remove the eyeballs, grab them firmly with a set of pliers and cut around the eye socket to free it up a bit. Pull it further out and cut behind the back side to remove it. On the bottom jaw of the skull, use your knife to cut a V-shaped wedge so that you can remove the tongue and most of the esophageal tissue. Then clean up the sides along the jaw bones and any muscle tissue on the top of the head. Once the skull is fairly cleaned up, it is ready for the next step.

Though there are technically a few options you could try at home to make your elk European mount, the best option might be hard for you to do. You’ve probably heard it by now, but dermestid beetles are the best way to clean a skull. They efficiently remove every little scrap of meat from the smallest nooks and crannies, all without weakening the bone structure (like boiling or chemicals do). But keeping your own colony of beetles is a full time job and might take a little too much persuasion and brownie points for your significant other. Instead, ship the skull to Beetle Juice Skull Works, where we have all the beetle colonies ready to go. Our skull cleaning services will completely clean the skull, degrease it, and whiten it for you. See here for our skull cleaning prices.

Elk Skull Mount Options

Now that you’ve got your skull back, it’s time to actually make your elk European mount look great up on the wall. You could simply hang the skull on a piece of wire attached to a screw in the wall, get a skull wall hanger, or you could buy a European elk mount kit at the store. Some people prefer to get an elk European mount plaque for their trophy elk mounts, which definitely spruces it up a bit. Depending on what color/shade the antlers are, various types of wood plaques look better together. We can do the plaque for you as well if you wish.

That’s all there is to it. With a little knife work, some patience while the beetles do their job, and some creativity in how you display it, your elk European mount will look fantastic.

Staining Deer Antlers and Weathered Deer Racks

How to Stain Deer Antlers

Randy Sanders, owner of Beetle Juice Skull Works skull cleaning service shows you the before and after of staining deer antlers on a weathered deer skull. Chances are you have a few of these in your collection from either finding dead deer, burying the deer head with the antlers exposed or just finding shed antlers that have been weathered for a long period of time. If this is the case, staining the antlers with a wood stain is the best solution for restoring the deer antler color.

Staining Weathered White Deer Antlers

After a long period of time, the sun can bleach deer antlers. Over the course of a year or two, a deer skull will still have some flesh on it, but the antlers will be bleached white and brittle. Often times some of the biggest deer antlers or deer racks are found like this due to predation, a misplaced shot, or disease. Fortunately, a little TLC with wood stain can go a long way to restoring the condition of the antlers.   

The process of staining deer antlers or restoring a deer rack to its original color can be tricky. Randy’s before and after is the finished result of a perfected and experienced process. The skull will be cleaned with dermistid beetles, whitened, and degreased for a mount worthy result.

If you’re looking for how to stain deer antlers yourself we would offer a word of caution. Restoring deer antlers with wood stain can quickly ruin antlers. Leaving too much stain on the antlers for too long can result in discolored antlers or a blotchy finished product. A deer’s antler is usually darkest at the base getting slowly lighter as it extends above the brow tine. It is then mottled with darker brown streaks. This look can take years to perfect so be cautious on how much stain is applied and how long it is left on the deer antler. 

Have more skulls laying around in the garage or freezer? Check out what Beet Juice Skull Works skull cleaning service can do for you!

 

How to Completely Break Down and Mount a Turkey

 How to Mount a Turkey | Turkey Mounting 101

Whether you tagged your first gobbler ever this spring or your 50th bird, the beauty of a turkey never seems to get old. There’s something about the perfect way the feathers all align and how they can camouflage a big bird so well. And there is no denying that the iridescent bronze, green, and purple reflections on their feathers are worth studying over and over again. So if you want to gaze on this spring’s turkey every day, have you considered a turkey mount? Mounting a turkey yourself can intimidate some people, but it’s really not very hard to do. This article will walk you through how to prepare a turkey for a turkey fan mount, including the skull, spurs, and beard on the plaque (like the image below). Cleaning a turkey for this mount can be broken down into the following six steps.  

1. Turkey Field Care

The first thing you will want to do after shooting a turkey in the field is to clean it as soon as possible. It should go without saying, but please be careful to not damage the feathers in any way. This is especially true if you’re going to do a full body turkey mount. The gentler you are on the turkey, the nicer your finished turkey mount will look. If at all possible, bring the turkey somewhere where you can clean it on a table. That will help keep it clean of dirt, grass, or leaf debris. Carry the turkey by the legs so that the head and neck are hanging down lowest, which should keep blood from getting on the other feathers. Finally, make sure to use a sharp knife when you start the cleaning process, as that is the safest option.

 2. Removing and Cleaning the Beard

Removing a turkey beard is probably the simplest thing you can do as far as turkey taxidermy goes. Grab the beard and pull it away from the breast. At the base of the beard, under the skin, you should feel a lump where this connection of beard feathers ends. Use your knife to gently cut below this lump until it separates from the skin. Clean it up by picking away any other downy breast feathers and trimming the excess skin. To preserve it, rub some table salt and borax onto all the exposed flesh and skin (there shouldn’t be much left after cleaning it). This mixture will dry and preserve it, which locks the beard feathers in place. This part of mounting a turkey takes very little effort, and it’s a worthwhile memory to preserve.

3.How to Clean a Turkey Skull

Including a white turkey skull on your mount plaque adds a unique touch to it, yet most people don’t bother with this when mounting a turkey. Locate the base of the skull and remove it from the neck by cutting all around and then twisting the head to detach it. Gently make an incision under the skin lengthwise down the head and peel the skin off to each side. Don’t press the knife blade down too aggressively or you could score the skull, which will show in the final mount. Keep the knife blade flat as you are peeling the skin around the eye sockets so you do not nick them either. After that is finished, you can send it in for dermestid beetle skull cleaning. Cleaning bird skulls can be a tricky if you don’t use the beetles since their bones are much less forgiving than a deer skull. The beetles will clean the skulls nicely, and then we will whiten them for your display. 

4. Removing Turkey Spurs

This part of mounting a turkey is pretty easy as well. It is ideal to have about a one-inch segment of leg bone with the spur attached so it will fit on the plaque, but you can make them as long as you want. Score the legs where you would like to cut them, and then use a hack saw to cut through the bones. They will usually snap clean after several saw strokes, but you can use your knife to cut whatever skin is still attached. These can be sent in for beetle cleaning at this point. The beetles will remove the tissue around the hollow leg bones and then we will whiten them.

5. How to Mount a Turkey Fan

The turkey tail fan is what ties the whole mount together. You can choose where to draw the line, but it usually makes a better mount if you include several rows of the rump feathers to add some more depth, texture, and colors to the finished piece. To remove the fan from the turkey, fold the chosen feathers together so you can hold it in one hand. At the base of the feathers, you should be able to feel a lump, which is essentially where the tail bone is and where the feathers all end. Rotate it around a few times to feel where the rough joint is, and then use your knife to cut along that area until it separates from the body. At that point, you should clean up your workspace so that there is no blood or dirt that will discolor or affect the look of the fan. On the rear side of the fan, remove all the downy base feathers (not the long tail feathers obviously). The goal is to remove as much of the skin, flesh, and feathers as possible until all you really notice is the yellow cartilage, feather quills, and a little of the skin.

As far as how to mount a turkey fan, start by liberally spreading an equal mixture of table salt and borax onto the flesh and throughout the base of the quills on the back side, using your gloved hands to massage it in. This will dry and preserve the tail fan base, which keeps it from rotting and smelling. Spread the tail fan out and place it front-side up onto a premade jig (made of plywood and screws), which will keep the feathers spread until it dries out (in approximately two weeks). Take time to arrange the feathers the way you like them because they will dry in place and it will be hard to adjust them later. Make sure the central tail feather is laying on top and that all the other proceeding tail feathers are behind that one to each side. Dump some more salt and borax onto the front base of the feathers and behind the first row of feathers as well. The final step is to lay a few strips of blue painters tape across the feathers to ensure they stay in place. Don’t use any other kind of tape as they could stick to the feathers and ruin your mount.

Final Steps for Mounting a Turkey

After taking the turkey apart like this, you can mount the pieces onto a wooden plaque with the fan on display behind, the skull and the spurs on the front wooden cap, and the beard hanging below. If you’re looking for some other unique turkey mount ideas, check out this other article. The video below takes you through the whole process of mounting a turkey, so you can see the beginning to end in a very short time.

If you’re wondering how to mount a full body turkey or how to skin a turkey for mounting, you would have to take even more care and delicately skin the full turkey. This cape would then be mounted on turkey taxidermy forms. While a full body turkey mount is definitely a unique mount or one that you save for a trophy turkey, it takes much more work than the plaque mount above. No matter what you choose to do, take care of the turkey from the field until you’ve harvested the meat and removed the various mount pieces, and you’ll be pleased to look at the final product for years to come. 

Contact Us to Beetle and Mount Your Turkey

Unique Turkey Mounting Ideas and Skull Mounts

Turkey Skull Mounts and Mounting Options

When you think of mounting a turkey, you probably immediately think about tail fan mounts. That’s definitely the most common turkey mounting option. Another is full body turkey mounts for those exceptionally big or beautiful birds you luck out with. Both mounts are great ways to preserve a hunt, but there are plenty of other unique turkey mount ideas to add a little diversity to your home collection. So if you’re looking for a fresh idea this spring, consider trying turkey skull mounts or one of the other turkey mount options below. If your wall is filling up with the same old turkey fan mounts, one of these could be your new favorite idea!

How to Clean a Turkey Skull

If and when you kill a turkey this spring, you need to be a little careful how you prepare the skull to send it in for skull cleaning services. Since bird skulls are lightweight, hollow, and somewhat delicate, you do not want to break anything. That being said, cleaning bird skulls is not a hard task if you know what you’re doing.

Remove the head from the neck by making an incision between the skull and the last vertebra and then twisting the head to sever it. Make an incision under the skin from the beak all the way up over the head and peel the skin and feathers off each side of the skull. Keep the knife blade flat against the skull as you‘re peeling the skin around the eye sockets so you don’t nick them. Last, make a V-shaped cut along the underside of the jaw, which will almost free the tongue from the mouth so you can remove it. At that point, it is ready to send in for European skull cleaning.

Many people are confused about the best way to clean a skull. You might think you could just toss an animal skull into a pot of boiling water to clean it. While that would indeed remove the fat and flesh, that has several drawbacks. The boiling water leaches minerals from the turkey skull mounts, softens them, and it may also turn them yellow. Dermestid beetle skull cleaning is definitely the best method to clean bird bones, mostly because they’re so brittle and delicate. Skull cleaning beetles can easily and quickly clean a turkey skull without weakening the structure of the bone. Our skull cleaning business uses a process that starts with you sending the skull in for the beetle cleaning. After they‘ve been picked clean, the skulls are degreased to remove fats and oils present from the flesh. The time required for this degreasing process will vary from animal to animal. After drying for a few days, it’s whitened in a two-step process. If there are any off-colors or blemishes left after this method, we’ll whiten it again. At that point, you can also choose to have your turkey skull mounted on a wooden plaque, which brings you to several turkey skull mount ideas and options.

Turkey Skull Mounts and Other Ideas

As mentioned, there are many other interesting ways to display your turkey mounts. They can be displayed separately as standalone pieces or mounted to wooden plaques or displays. Similarly, you can obviously use any of the ideas below alone or in combination with other full body mounts or turkey fan mounts. If you feel wasteful about mounting only the tail fan and want to use and display more of your turkey, this is a great way to do that. If you already have several other existing turkey mounts in your house, you can also simply display these new additions alongside them. They’ll look great regardless of what route you take!

The most basic turkey mount idea here is to just display the turkey skull mounts by themselves. Turkey skulls are really interesting to look at with their numerous delicate bones and yellow beaks. The skulls can be displayed on a plaque or simply placed on a shelf. You can paint them various colors or dip them in camouflage patterns if that is a style you like. Plain skulls also look great when paired with other bones, feathers, or mounts too. For example, for turkeys with really long or wickedly curved spurs, you could showcase it in a turkey foot mount. This idea is really unique and is a conversation piece for sure. We clean these leg bones stand them up for display like the picture below.

If you’re mostly interested in turkey fan mount ideas, you’re really only limited by your imagination. Some hunters prefer to just display the tail fan itself, which is easy enough to do yourself at home, although it does take some elbow grease and time. Alternatively, you could display the tail fan and beard together on a plaque, which is what many people decide to do. But here’s where it can get a little more interesting. On top of the turkey tail mount plaques, you could also add the turkey skull mounts or portions of the leg bones with the spurs. You could even arrange the leg bones in a skull and crossbones style on top of the wooden plaque, which is a common waterfowl skull mount style that also looks good with turkeys. These options allow you to display more of a turkey than you normally might and are different from what the vast majority of hunters display.

If these turkey skull mounts and turkey mount pictures look interesting to you, keep them in mind for this spring. Turkey season is just around the corner now across most of the country. In just a few short weeks, you could be in the field with a gobbler down in front of you and you’ll definitely think of these mount ideas from Beetle Juice Skull Works in that moment!

How to Clean Waterfowl Skulls | Waterfowl Skull Mount

The Process of Making a Waterfowl Skull Mount

Hunters usually have a few mounted animals on display in their home, but most people naturally think of mammals (not birds) when it comes to taxidermy. And if you’re a duck hunter looking for a European mount, that’s just not fair. Just as the process of cleaning furbearers is different from cleaning a bear skull, waterfowl skull mounts are different too (though the process is largely the same). So if you’ve wanted to add a waterfowl skull mount to a taxidermy collection for the last few years, here’s what to do.

Cleaning a Waterfowl Skull

The first step to do at home before sending a waterfowl skull in is to properly clean it. The procedure will be different for duck skulls versus goose skulls but generally it’s the same process.

Start by carefully removing the head from the neck behind the last vertebra. Make an incision at this point and then twist the head to sever it from the neck. Next, position a sharp knife or scalpel (sharp side up) and make an incision from the beak all the way up over the head. Then peel the skin and feathers off in each direction. There is not much meat on such a small waterfowl head, but remove as much as possible while skinning it. Take it slow with the knife around the eye sockets so the skull doesn’t get nicked. A good way to do that is to keep the knife blade flat against the skull. Finally, make a V-shaped cut along the underside of the jaw, which will free the tongue from the mouth. The video below shows the cleaning process for a waterfowl skull mount using a goose head as the demonstration.

Luckily, duck and goose skulls are lightweight, so shipping cost less versus sending a larger bear or deer skull. The next step to getting a finished waterfowl skull mount is cleaning off all of the leftover meat and fat. And there’s only one good way to do that…

Beetles: The Only Way to Clean Waterfowl Skulls

Boiling a waterfowl skull will result in a brittle European mount. Leaving only one way to do something as delicate as a bird skull. Dermestid beetles are the magic treatment for doing a waterfowl skull mount. They are small enough to efficiently clean a bird skull in a matter of days. In addition, they don’t break the skull down in the process.

The primary differences between cleaning a duck skull or goose skull is that they are smaller than even the smallest of furbearers. In addition, bird skulls, such as a mallard duck skull, naturally have a hollow, lighter bone structure than mammal skulls. However, like other mammal species, they have small delicate bones around their nasal passage that easily break. For these reasons, the beetles are the only real choice for your waterfowl skull mount.

Now that you know how to clean duck or goose skulls you can add a beautiful skull mount to the collection. It is well worth the effort if you are a passionate waterfowl hunter.

Want to preserve a skull? Dermestid beetles are the best way to clean a skull, and results in a perfectly intact, white skull mount! Check out the links below and consider the skull cleaning service Beetle Juice Skull Works has to offer!

Look At Skull Prices Here
Check Out Our Process Here
Learn More About Dermestid Beetles Here

 

How to Clean and Whiten a Deer Skull

The Best Way to Whiten a Deer Skull | European Skull Mounts

There is something special about seeing an unblemished European mount on the wall. Deer shoulder mounts and even full mounts have their place, but the allure and simplicity of a skull mount cannot be denied. The problem that many people run into, however, is that they do not take the time to properly prepare their mount and often use the wrong whitening methods. Such problems can have unfortunate results down the road. Here is the best way to clean and whiten a deer skull.

How to Clean a Deer Skull

The first step in the process is to clean the skull for shipment. Cleaning a deer skull does not take much time, and it will save some shipping expenses if it’s being sent in for beetle cleaning. Once we receive the skull, it will be placed into the dermestid beetle colonies for them to work their magic. After they have thoroughly cleaned the skull of all its remaining tissue, it is degreased accordingly for the species. Some animals take longer to do this step than others because their skulls are naturally greasier, but deer skulls usually only take three to five days to finish the degreasing process. After drying, it is finally time for the deer skull whitening process.

How to Whiten a Deer Skull

There are several skull whitening products to use when whitening a deer skull. Most people are familiar with whitening a deer skull with bleach, but there are a few problems with this approach. Bleach is a strong chemical that can quickly cause a deer skull to deteriorate if not mixed properly or left in for too long. In time the deer skull mount will become brittle, which is largely because the bleach removed collagen and weakened it.

Beetle Juice Skull Works uses a safe, two-step whitening process to ensure a beautiful looking mount that will be strong for years to come. We start by painting on a generous amount of the skull whitening paste, starting on the back of the skull and working forward. In order to completely whiten a deer skull, the solution needs to be worked into every small crevice and joint area to ensure nothing is left un-whitened. This includes completely coating the teeth, which are often very dark in appearance. Then the back of the eye sockets are painted with the solution to ensure a uniform coat. We make sure to not paint any of the whitening solution on the antlers, or they could be unnaturally lightened. Finally, we liberally smear the solution into the nasal cavity area, which contains several delicate bones. After drying for a week, the skull mount is examined for any other blemishes that might need more whitening. If necessary, we will whiten a deer skull again to ensure a clean product.

 

Like a good bear skull, a deer skull is a trophy to be proud of. They seem to command more respect than smaller animal skulls (especially if they’re sporting a great set of antlers). If you want to make a recent deer harvest into a fun and lasting memory, consider getting a European mount whitened the right way.

Coyote Mounting | Options to Preserve a Coyote

Introduction to Coyote Mounting and Coyote Skull Cleaning Methods

If you’ve lived in rural areas almost anywhere in the United States, there’s a good chance you’ve had to deal with coyotes at one point or another. In some locations, they can be a downright nuisance. They are effective predators and can kill whitetail fawns very easily. The easiest solution to this problem is hunting or trapping them. But while many treat them as vermin, there’s no denying that their furs and skulls can actually look great when preserved. Coyote mounting and skull cleaning isn’t something a lot of people do, but you’ve got several options if you’re interested!

Coyote Hunting or Trapping?

Depending on how you’re going to mount a coyote, hunting or trapping can be a better application. For example, if you’re after a big coyote skull mount, hunting makes more sense. You can physically pick out the biggest coyote in the pack before shooting it. If you don’t care about the skull size, trapping works because you just need any coyote.

But if you’re after a full body mount or coyote pelt wall mount, trapping it sometimes makes more sense. If you check your traps frequently (which you should anyway), a coyote isn’t likely to chew at its leg too much before you can get there and dispatch them. A simple head shot (often in the ear) with a .22 long rifle is plenty enough to do the job and doesn’t leave a giant hole in the pelt that needs to be repaired.

What is considered a Trophy Coyote?

Coyote mounting is the same as all wild game mounts – “trophy” is in the eye of the beholder. Maybe you’re interested in taking a coyote with a really beautiful pelt. Some animals have really full coats with bold colors (e.g., dark black contrasting with gray and red) and some have mangy, thin coats that are all one blended color of gray. Maybe you just want a big coyote, either for its skull size or for a coyote rug. In that case, males tend to be bigger than females, and northern states tend to have larger animals than southern states. But a truly big coyote runs close to 50 pounds. If you can find one like that, it would make a great pelt or coyote skull mount!

Coyote Mounting Options

As mentioned, there are several methods for mounting a coyote. If you’ve got a real coyote infestation on your property, you could try a few of each style.

European Skull Mount

A coyote European mount is the easiest coyote mounting option and doesn’t take up much space, yet it produces a really interesting taxidermy piece for your collection. Similar to cleaning a bear skull, you’ll need to remove the hide and clean the skull a bit – both to save on shipping and because the beetles don’t need a feast. The video below shows you how to clean a coyote skull before sending it in.

As you can see on our services page, after sending your coyote skull into Beetle Juice Skull Works, we let the beetles thoroughly clean it inside and out. We then kill any remaining beetles on or in the skull and degrease it. Finally, we go through the process of whitening a coyote skull, and then ship it back to you. You’ll have a bright and beautiful skull to display on the shelf in no time. You can always get a coyote skull mount completed in addition to a full body mount and/or tanned hide, just one more trophy to remember a great hunt or trap line!

Full Body Coyote Mount

Whether you choose to do a full body mount or even just a coyote shoulder mount, you’ll need to preserve the pelt as best you can. Your taxidermist can likely find a coyote form in several different positions and postures to suit your style. You can also have them add natural elements (e.g., tree branches, grass, etc.) to the coyote mount to make it look very realistic.

 

Coyote Pelt

If you decide on just preserving the pelt, you’ll either need to tan the hide yourself or find someone to do it for you. After skinning the coyote, you’ll need to remove the remaining flesh and fat from the interior and salt the hide. Then you’ll use various household or store-bought chemicals to pickle and tan the hide, followed by stretching and softening it. If you just want a hide to hang on the wall, you shouldn’t need to soften it that much. But you definitely should with a rug mount. This is a process, so make sure you know what you are getting into before starting. Again, if your going this route you can still get a coyote skull mount!

Are coyotes ruining your hunting property or harassing your farm animals? If so, it might be time to give coyote mounting some serious thought. Every time you look at that skull or pelt, you’ll be reminded that there’s one less canine out there to wreak havoc.

 

 

How to Clean a Coyote Skull | Coyote Skull Mounting

Cleaning a Coyote Skull

Randy Sanders of Beetle Juice Skull Works, a dermestid beetle skull cleaning service, shows you how to clean a coyote skull. Coyote skull mounts are a great way to save another trophy display for that beautiful or giant coyote you recently harvested or trapped.

Want to preserve a skull? Dermestid beetles are the best way to clean a skull, and results in a perfectly intact, white skull mount!

Look At Skull Prices Here

Check Out Our Process Here

Learn More About Dermestid Beetles Here

How to Clean a Bobcat Skull | Bobcat Skull Mounting

Cleaning a Bobcat Skull

Randy Sanders of Beetle Juice Skull Works, a dermestid beetle skull cleaning service, shows you how to clean a bobcat skull. Bobcat skull mounts are a great way to save another trophy display for that beautiful or giant bobcat you recently harvested or trapped.

Want to preserve a skull? Dermestid beetles are the best way to clean a skull, and results in a perfectly intact, white skull mount!

Look At Skull Prices Here

Check Out Our Process Here

Learn More About Dermestid Beetles Here

How to Clean a Fox Skull | Fox Skull Mounting

Cleaning a Fox Skull

Randy Sanders of Beetle Juice Skull Works, a dermestid beetle skull cleaning service, shows you how to clean a fox skull. Fox skull mounts are a great way to save another trophy display for that beautiful or giant fox you recently harvested or trapped.

Want to preserve a skull? Dermestid beetles are the best way to clean a skull, and results in a perfectly intact, white skull mount!

Look At Skull Prices Here

Check Out Our Process Here

Learn More About Dermestid Beetles Here