I'm a part-timer, mostly mounting heads for friends, and friends of friends, family etc...
I've mounted 18 deerheads since January w/few complications and use the same basic brush-on tan method I've used for four years now. Never had this problem before, but w/the excessive rain(hence humidity) in the Northeast this year, I've struggled some with my heads drying. My shop is a separate building, not a basement. Three of the heads I did back in April/May have developed an odor. It's a "wet-dog" smell that tends to come and go w/the change in humidity. I know that during this time(of year) I was not as concious of the humidity and these heads likely dried or seemingly dried rather slow. They did not have any odor initially, after the usual 3-4 week drying period. I did not finish(paint etc..) right away and over the next month I think they developed this condition. There must have been enough moisture trapped particularly in the lower neck/brisket area to promote mold/mildew? I was "turning" the heads during the early part of the drying time, but likely not long enough to eliminate all moisture 100%. Now I think I got this "M/M" condition trapped in these heads. I now use a dehumidifier, AC as needed and 2 oscillating fans. No problems, except my electric bill.
Q..What can I do to relieve this condition in these heads, short of a re-mount? I checked the archives, and see where shampoo and conditioner is recommended. But I think this problem is more from the inside-out?, or will this work? Could I inject this area w/anything, I have some Stop-rot.---Or a combination of treatments?
Return to Deer Taxidermy Category Menu
You didn't look hard enough in the Archives. This is a very common problem and has been addressed at many times.
In your shop, do you have a small room,such as a bathroom or something of the sort.
I would put the mounts that are smelling in this small room WITH your dehumidifier and let it run with the door closed for a few days. It will dry them out in no time,removing the smell with it. The smell is most likely to be Bacteria building between the manikin and the skin.But you might notice a bit more shrinkage doing this,but shouldn't be much more.
The 2nd thing you might think about is using less Hide Paste during these times or go to a 2 part apoxie hide past. It works off a chemical reaction. A bit more spendy, but adhears great. But dont expect to Taxi the skin the next day.
If you have a tumbler, before you mount, I would tumble the excess moisture from the hair and skin.
There are alot of Guys/Gals out here that will probably give you info that works for them as well.
Fall greets Michigan here tomorrow. The leaves are already turning colors and Humididty will be out of here soon.
Good luck,be safe and have a great season,
The "wet dog", "wet hound", "tom cat pee" smells usually go along with what is called oxidation degradation of fats and proteins. Dave could have told you that, he just didn't want to do all the typing.
There's actually a number of factors that can cause it, but what I would suspicion is an ongoing reaction between your hidepaste and an acid contained in the capes that is producing gas as a result of the reaction. These odors are "mimics" of other organic decompositions, primarily because the same gases are being produced.
If these capes seemed to have these big pockets of air trapped in the brisket areas, and going up the neck when they were first mounted, that would be what I would suspicion.
Mold and mildew will usually have either a "sharper" odor, or a more "musty" smell.
The STOP-ROT "might" work for you if it is indeed an chemical reaction situation. This is what I would suggest, and it would also be the easiest possible way out.
Cut the STOP-ROT two parts STOP-ROT to one part distilled water. Use a paint brush, or synthetic sponge, and wet the hair down, and brush, or comb the hair until you have those "wet hair furrows" down to the skin. Then go back over it again. Get it as wet as you think you can get away with without rehydrating the skin where you break your actual bond with the adhesive. Groom the hair back into proper position as it dries. I would expect it to take 3 to 5 days to dry if you get it really wet.
If you get excess "tan" surfacing, use a mister with distilled water on the hair, and wipe it clean with cheap PAPER TOWELS, wiping with the direction of the lay of the hair.
Let us know how you come out.
Im full time so the commercial tannery helps me with the workload. But when I tan one myself, Ive had good luck in the past with EZ100 and now with the new McKenzie tan. I mounted four last week with that tan, and they went out the following week. No smell, and quite tanned, and quite dry. Thats why I keep saying there IS a difference.
The high humidity is where most of your problem is stemming from. You have taken the right steps by now using a dehumidifier, ac, and fans. I had the same problem when i started years ago, but with the addition of the three steps above I have zero problems now. Good luck.
After all that,I need a drink!
Geek on brother! LOL You da man!
a dehumidifier will creater a lot of heat . Use an air conditiner in the worm mounths and of coarse heat in the cold.Do this Vigil and your problem will go away.Maybe you shouls also try ez 100 and tan your skins the proper way.Brush on tanning,and hide paste and dry preservitives are nothing but a make fit thing for taxidermist to try and cut corners.
Thank you to all that provided suggestions.
I now use Epo-Grip hyde pastes exclusively and wouldn't switch for anything, these are indeed the quality products claimed to be.
The heads in question were mounted w/ Epo-Grip epoxy on the head area, and acrylic latex caulk w/silicon (mold/mildew inhibitors included) for the neck and brisket.
Think I will try the shampooing follwed by dehumidifier in an enclosed area. Thanks again