I would like to know how long to leave a bear skull in a bucket of water to get the meat to come off. Do you need to have a lid on it?
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Noone can give an actual timeframe. It will all depend on the climate. If it is cold it will take longer than if it is really warm. Bacteria slows way down in the cold. No you do not need a lid,unless you are afraid animals might take off with it. Dogs really enjoy the rotting flesh and bone.
If you leave a lid on it, it will rot faster as it holds in the heat better, also you won't have to keep adding water to it as it evaporates. Maceration (that's what you're doing) can take anywhere from 2-6 months depending on how much meat was left on the bone. And as Todd said, if it's cold, you may as well wait until next spring (unless you have some way to keep the water warm).
If you have any other questions email me a note, I've done LOTS of skulls this way and it's probably the best way to clean them (IMHO).
Then you are done with it in 2 hours & you dont have to put up with the stink, or the animals possably getting to it.
I would not want anything around my shop that has to rot for 2-6 months.
Gary, If you check in the archives you will find other methods to consider (orange button to the left). Enjoy,Aaron H.
Boiling can deteriorate the skull, cause the bones to separate and ruin the nose bones. I've used every option available to clean skulls, and maceration, tho takes the longest, is by far the best for the skull in the long run.
you can use a fish tank heater to help speed the process when cold also. neat trick in cool weather.
And the meat came off no problem. Of course I had it kept in maybe 90 degrees the whole time.