BISON horns

Submitted by deer woman on 1/18/00. ( )

I looked through the archives on this but didn't find anything. I got in 3 bison today to do shoulder mounts with. The horns are fresh on the skull plates. I see all the bison forms do not have the wood block for a skull plate anymore. How does one best clean the horn cores and remove the horns? Boiling? How does one attach to these foam horn cores on these forms for the strongest support? Thanks for any input, and i sure have a heck of a next few days ahead of me!

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bison horns

This response submitted by mike d on 1/19/00. ( )

One thing to do before removing horns is measure between the horn bases on the inside, and measure
between the tips.
Some of the forms, if you just bondo the caps on, you will end
up with the horns set way to close together- depends on the age
of the beast.
The reason that the forms do not have a skull cutout like others is
the value of a bison skull is quite high when cleaned and
whitened; by sculpting the forms like this you can do the
mounts without destroying the skulls.
I usually will soak the entire skull in water( up to the horn
bases), try to cover so that everything stays wet- let it rot for
a while and the caps will come loose; then submerge the entire
skull and let it finish rotting.
Use a high pressure nozzle on a garden hose to knock off all the
tissue, if it won't all come off, then return to the water
and leave for a while longer. When it's clean, use peroxide and
magnesium carbonate to whiten, dry, and seal with clear lacquer.
Should be worth several hundred dollars, depending on size and
availibility in your area.
If they have already had skull caps cut from them, then you can
boil to remove horns, check every 15 min. remove caps as soon as possible,
pack with salt to dry and finish boiling skull cap to clean.
Then, using the skull cap as reference, make your own cutout on
the form, bondo or foam on a piece of 3/4' plywood and attach
skullcap. You'll likely have to do rebuilding around the skull.
Before bondoing onto cores spray inside of caps with a good insecticide.
Hope that answers your questions; next time try to get entire skulls,
they are worth the effort to clean.

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