I found this forum on Google and have a question for the experts. We live on a farm and found a large 10 point, really dead and rotting, buck in a ditch. I would like to get the antlers with a little of the skull cap to put in the den as a trophy. (Dead deer tell no tales.) I was wondering if I just hack the skull, cut the antlers or let the vultures have it. What would cut through a deer skull in the first place? Is there a good way to dry it when I'm finished?
Thanks for yor time and advice.
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Call the game warden (before you touch it) and have him come out and give you a permit, otherwise you'll have an illegal antler mount. Also it sounds like you should have someone help you get the skull cap who knows how. A bone saw or a hack saw would do the job.
So I have to go against Don's grain here. If you found it on YOUR property and it WAS dead... I see no need for you to get permission. Im not talking about LAW, Im talking about what is reasonable and just plain right or what should be your right without Uncle Sam telling you that you can or cant. Get the horns, put them on a plaque and hang it in your house. IF by chance the government wants to storm your house for those horns your story is those horns were your deceased great Grand Daddy's that you aquired many moons ago and decided to put it on a plaque recently. I'll agree with Don that if you want this done right get someone who knows how to cut the skull plate for a plaque.
I doubt that any game wardens are going to be sitting on that carcass when you get there with a saw. Chances are if they were they would help you cut them off anyway. If you want to do it yourself cut from the middle of the eyes(horizontally) back torward the middle of the ears through the brain cavity. This should give you plenty of skull to mount them to a plaque. To clean them soak them in a strong mixture of water and Lysol to kill the bacteria and smell for a couple of days. Then just scrape all of the remaining skin and flesh away from both sides of the bone. I wouldn't leave it out any longer than necassary because it may get attacked by rodents, and it doesn't take long for the sun to bleach out the antlers. Good Luck.
If you have just found the dead deer in the last couple of days chances are the rack is still in velvet. If that is the case it will appear fuzzy with a uniform color and the tine tips will not be pointed but rather rounded. If it is in velvet, it opens a different can of works as far as preserving it. Use the orange search button on the left and type in preserving velvet antlers. There will be tons of info there. BTW, I would contact your F&W folks about the dead deer. Better safe than sorry and they will not have any problems giving you a tag for it. Just ask for a disposal tag. Good luck.
Some states have restrictions on this sort of thing, ie. picking up dead animals. Your state may have some kind of regulations. Check it out FIRST. Since you didn't mention where(state) we really can't make an enformed guess on what the regualtions may be. If it is legal, keep the entire skull in tact until you find out how to cut it properly. If it is in velvet it may well be beyond salvage at this point, since you stated that it was rotting. First you need to find out the laws of your state. Second you need to give us more information so that we can help you properly get to the end you want, if it is legal for you.
I was in a similar situation in Feb of this year. Found one on our place and he was huge. The coyotes had eaten every part of him but the antlers. I tried to do what was right and get a tag for him. I was then asked for my phone # and address and was told that a game warden would be contacting me to confiscate the horns as they were the property of the state. I left the deer where he lay and let mother nature take care of the rest. That just doesn't seem right.
You need a salvage tag to be legal. If you contact your local DNR officer, they are supposed to issue a tag for it. The landowner gets first dibs, then the person who actually found the deer. If there is anything suspicious about the animal, the DNR keeps the deer for evidence. In these parts, it seems the bigger the deer, the less chance of actually keeping it. The DNR can say that something was not legit with the deer's death, and that may leave you with doing all the legwork, and the DNR keeping the deer you found. I agree with Brian's statement that this system doesn't seem right. Why should the DNR keep the deer? If no case is made, the deer should be returned to the finder. I have heard this seldom happens, especially if it's a giant. You may be faced with some tough decisions on how to handle this. Good luck.
You definitely do not want to have something that could cause you a problem with the law hanging in your den. However, Its like some have said, Its on your property so do what you feel. More than likely you will not have any problems. When you start trying to sell these things, make a profit, or your are just "acquiring" quite a number of them. Thats when you may run into a problem. If you dont want to call the game warden, but you just wanna be safe take a picture of the rotting carcass just to show, Which still doesnt prove how he died. But it could help. As far as the Cut, A standard hack saw is good, But if he is EXTREMLY DEAD as you say. It could get tough sitting there hacking away. Borrow a Cordless Recprocating saw from someone, and cut through pretty fast. A good cut would be to start just behind the brow of the deer, About an inch or so above the eyes straight across from eye to eye. Go down a good ways. Then come in with your saw from the rear of the head. About an inch, inch and a half or so below the base of the antlers and cut straight forward to the point of where the saw cut down into the front of the skull. This should give a taxidermist or yourself plenty to work with. Now like posted earlier, If they are in velvet, Its a whole different story. They can be fragile and the velvet could come off. Email me if you have more specific questions. Would be glad to assist...
from your grandaddy's (wink wink) hunting days will sure look good all cleaned up and on your wall.
You need a tag if you are taking the meat from a dead deer and the tag or permit needs to be kept until all the meat is consumed and than it can be thrown away. Don't need any thing for the antlers unless they are in velvet in which case you need to talk to the warden and he will give you a permit which must bhe kept with the antlers at all times. Even after it's mounted (either on a plaque or a head mount) it must be stapled or attached in some way to the mount. Had my warden explain it all to me.
There are times when common sense overrides silly laws. Something tells me the state never planted the crops that fed that 10 point buck or paid the taxes on the land where he lived. So as far as I see it they shouldn't have a say one way or another (just my opinion). Go get your grampa's deer for your den!
When I was in high school in 72'they punched a new
highway through our deer country here in Cen. Texas
resulting in alot of road kill. Just on the princible
of it we used to butcher the deer in the center median
and salvage what we could. One time a Game Warden roared up
and said he got a call about 'poachers. We told him
what we were doing and he said he used to to do the same
thing while growing up in East Texas, got back in his car
and roared off.
In Wisonsin there are "right of ways" on all property-they are the ditch line area and some distance back up on the ditch line. Not sure how a warden would view this? I would check and see if you can take the deer off the right of way or would it be no different than finding it on land that is not yours.