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


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