A few years back, I shot this beauty. [url]http://thatoldhouse.net/buck200004.JPG[/url] (For a point of reference, I'm 6'3" and 230 pounds.)
I had a shoulder mount made by a fellow hunter whose main business is taxidermy.
When moving the mount recently to do some remodel work on the house, massive amounts of hair fell off in clumps.
The ears are practically bare and even the slightest touch to the neck area knocks loose more hair.
I'm afraid my trophy is done.
Is my only real option at this point to remount the antlers and accept the loss?
Thanks in advance.
-Depressed in Indiana
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Theres no magic involved, in as much as, what you see is what you have. In this day and age of instant tans, "tanning" without pickling, shortcuts, etc, we sometimes see this stuff. When a guy in here says Im nuts because I say using pickles, or even salt, to pull protiens from a skin to be replaced later synthetically, well...
The two main culprits are a scavenger beetle known as a dermestid, and its larvae, and also a small moth known as a cloth moth. The larvae sometimes have other names too. But either way, my guess is that upon close examination you saw what looked like rice crispies attached to the antler bases, or the ear openings, or even in the hair. Thats the cocoon. The larvae scour the outside layer of skin eating proteins (a-hem, sound familiar anyone?) and this etching cuts the hair off at the base, thus the matt of loose hair you saw.
This may even sound silly, but sometimes even a good taxodermist and a good job might be effected by these moths. Its always the owners responsibility to bug bomb the home periodically when housing mounts. Precautions include not bringing in old mounts, skulls, cut off antlers with untreated scalps still attached, home-made turkey fan displays, all things that attract these pests. Again, all homes have these pests present anyway, but the stuff I listed just helps attract and spread them further. If you have more mounts or plan on more, Id contact an exterminator for the future. Its cheap insurance. Meanwhile, approach the taxidermist and see what he might suggest. I wont say whos at fault, as I believe I gave you some points to ponder here. The mount can be re-done, as in, pulling the antlers and starting over with a new cape. Wish I had better news for you!
As a last point of interest, folks with mounts- dust and clean those things every so often and detect this kind of damage while its in its infancy stage, and you most often can end the infestation and experience only MINOR repairs...
If you have a chest freezer I would stick it in there for a few days or more to kill all the moths , beetles and larva . This will keep them from attacking your clothes ( wool ) or any kind of cereal , rice or other food in the house . The cape would have to be replaced .
When you buy dry food from the store , check the bags for larva , moths etc . I find a lot of these come from dog food at Wal mart .
I had these moths eat a lifesize bear that was tanned commercially . You dont know they are there until to late . Rick
Yes, there were items that looked like rice crispies between the base and the wall. There were also small moths that flew out from the behind the wood paneling the mount was hanging from.
So you think I could re-cape the mount, huh? I'm guessing that will cost as much as the original mount. (ouch) Aside from his atypical antlers, he had a pretty large head and neck. Any issues with stretching an "average" cape to fit? (I know little to nothing about taxidermy, myself.)
Regardless of whether I have it re-caped or just mount the antlers, my plan was to put aromatic cedar on the wall in place of the wood paneling I pulled. I love the look and smell of cedar, but destructive creatures hate it. (Similarly, I toss a few moth balls in my Mustang during winter storage to keep the mice out.)
Nice try but no cigar (not even for Clinton. LMAO) Dermestids can devastate ANY HIDE and pickling or salt(which has nothing to do with removing protein as salted peanuts would disintegrate)or submersible tans won't protect you there. Surprisingly, DP (as in Dry Preservative) are less likely to suffer dermestid damage than tanned skin only because of the presence of BORAX, and insect inhibitor. Arsenic and Endolan U once eliminated that from being true, but they're long gone. Now, the ONLY protections are topical and need reapplication every two to three years.
Best advice is to just have the antlers remounted on a fresh new hide.
It will cost you MORE than it originaly did as it's been a few years since you had that deer done, prices go up in taxidermy as they do in everything else. You also have to pay for a new cape. the size you mentioned, aren't cheap, 150.00 to 300.00 tanned for a good one.
Same old half-full, half-empty theory again. This wasnt a slight against your choice of methods or your favorite product, rather just an example how shortcuts can sometimes come back to haunt someone later. Pickles DO INDEED pull those proteins, and I mentioned the salt because guys recently were talking about skipping that too, thus the shortcut analogy. The reason I mentioned any of this wasnt because thats the only way those bugs are present, I already stated that they are anyway. I say so because they CONCENTRATE and ATTRACT already existing pests. Hair and antlers also are based on protien, and so is the wall its on. Adding things like shortcut processing, and all those other types of skulls, etc, I listed only increases the risk. George, surely you read my whole post before typing that...right? I know, you still love me.
Now then, would you care to get into the finer details of topicals, such as deterrents vs true poisons? I didnt think so, lol.
SIXT, yes, cedar helps some, but ask your taxidermist for a processed cape, ask how he tans it and let him know your concerns. The costs incurred will be the mount plus the new cape. Yes, you already paid for one mount, but thats a goner. Remember, dust and check those mounts once a month.
Believe it or not, I'm pickling again. It's a lot easier with Bruce's than it ever was with the sulfuric acid in the bathtub, I'll admit that. LMAO.
I always figure youll do whats best for you, regardless of what I might say. I like the feel of the pickled hide, so I like to always suggest it, too. Glad its working for you. Like the way that safety acid jumps that first 24 hours? hahaha, you get used to it