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Removing Antelope Horns

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by skullclnr, Dec 31, 2013.

  1. skullclnr

    skullclnr Active Member

    This keeps coming up again and again. As seasons end and I start to get more room in my shop I am able to get to the freezers and to the smaller goats, bears, cats etc. I had a few goats to get ready for the bugs last night so I took some photos. This is just how I do it, I find it very easy and fast and its just what works for me. I have sweated the horns off in the past, but find the stink and the time to be too much some times. I understand there is a risk of cracking the horn, but I clean easy over a 100 goats a year and knock on wood havnt had a issue yet, you want to limit the time in the water to a absolute minumum but 10-20 minutes is not out of the question. So with out further adoooooooooooo here goes, how The Dog removes antelope horns western style:

    You will need a few things, a bucket heater, a drill, a jig saw, a knife, and a bucket:


    Start with a preped head, no eyes, brain or meat, get the fat out from behind the eye sockets also:

    Fill a bucket with hot water and get to almost boiling, make sure it is hot before starting!

    Place the horns in up to the base in the water, try not to get the head in, but sometimes it happens:

    Let them sit in the hot water for 10 minuets, put on some insulated gloves, then pull out and with the palm or meat of your hands on the cutters twist inwards, together. The come off with a TWISTING action, no pulling or rocking, just twist with pressure inward on the cutter. Apply a decent amount of force but be carefull of the horn, when it is ready you will feel it start to twist and pop right off, of it doesnt budge put it back in for a few minutes and check again. After you have done a few you will know right away when it is ready to twist off, it is a very distinct feel, just dont twist too hard on the cutters, you dont want to break one of them! These goats took on average 10 minutes each:

    Now that they are off, take your jig saw and cut a few inches off the core, there is no reason for it and this will help in degreasing:

    Use you knife to cut off the core if it hangs on by some flesh, toss the tips:

    Now take your drill and drill down into each core, make sure you dont go to far and punch through, I drill two holes, then rock the drill back and forth to make one channel. This also helps with degreasing and will give a little extra hold to the bondo or epoxy you use to put the sheaths back on:

    While I am doing this I put the sheath in a deodorizer bath, but this is not needed:

    And there you go, goats are ready for the bugs, and it only took me about a hour to do all 5 of these:

    Like I said, this is how I do it, I know sweating works and is a bit safer. I have a large amount of goats to do each year and this seems to work for me and I hope it helps with some of the questions that keep popping up on here. Just go slow and watch the horns as you go, last thing you want to do is apply too much heat or leave them in the water too long.
  2. BWebbs31

    BWebbs31 Classic Skull Mounts, LLC

    Awesome post Dog! "Western style" LOL!! That's classic...

  3. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Marking and a great post. You are really doing well in this too. Repeat customers are the best for telling all their friends.

    Back in 2007 you were looking for hints. Now you are helping others. Hope karma brings you tons more work to keep you busy. You are going to have to hire help. :)
  4. Man this helps a lot! Thanks
  5. boarhunter67

    boarhunter67 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for sharing.
  6. Dang close to the way I do it as well. Your right, it only takes a few minutes.
  7. big dan

    big dan Member

    That's exactly how I do it minus cutting the horn cores. Works like a charm.
  8. Ditto here, been doing it that same way since 1980. No smell to have to worry about. I wait till I get all the critters in that have horns that need to come off and do them all in one or two days. I also have been doing some using beetles the past few years if I only have one or two to do. I paint on a coat of alcohol to the outside of the horn then bag them and tape off. Let the beetles have at them for about 24 hours. Don't leave then in too long and they won't bother the horn part. The horns slip right off. This is also the only way I've found how to get all the tissue out of Musk ox horns since I've never been able to get them off.
  9. Tried this for the first time last night and it worked like a champ! Thanks!
  10. Bones N Beasts

    Bones N Beasts New Member

    Thanks for the tip I will feel better next time I do it
  11. this is great. I have been sweating them off but this looks much easer. What is your deodorizing solution that you put the horns in and how long did you have to leave them in there? Also do you have to scrap and meat and stuff lout of them after words? and were can i get one of thous bucket heaters?
  12. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Tractor supply and other farm supply places have the bucket heaters. Hardware stores sometimes have them too. You might find it cheaper to order one online though.
  13. mallard150

    mallard150 New Member

    I know this is an older post but just wanted to say thanks for the great tutorial. I have literally never cleaned an antelope skull and this worked exactly as described the first time and was quite simple.

    What is your deodorizing solution?