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Freeze-dried velvet antler odor

Discussion in 'Deer and Gameheads' started by bradsbirds, Jun 22, 2016.

  1. bradsbirds

    bradsbirds New Member

    Took my son to Alaska middle of last August and he killed a Caribou in full velvet. We were able to split the skull and fit the antlers into a freezer that evening. Stayed there for a week, made the flight home and into my freezer. Drove them to a shop to get freeze-dried (3 hour trip). He said he would inject them several places (don't know what with) and then get them right into the freeze-dryer. When I picked them up, the drive home started to get "smelly", not unbearable, but noticeable. Got them to my taxidermist and he mounted the head soon after for me. Anyway, it's been mounted for about 6 months and the antlers still have that odor I noticed on the way home. The warmer the weather, the stronger the smell. Question is will this eventually go away? Could it have not been in the freeze-drying long enough? Since it's already mounted wondering what my options are, if any.
  2. jim tucker

    jim tucker Active Member

    If there was a lot of blood in them and it started to spoil at all it could retain that smell for a long time. Maybe forever. Not much you can do now but humidity can cause them to smell stronger. If you can keep them in climate control it will be better. Really not a fan of freeze-dried antlers. Even when done right it is sort of a crapshoot especially when they are full of blood.

  3. Paul B

    Paul B Active Member

    Spray them down with something like Fabreeze and see if that will help but as Jim said there's not much you can do now.
  4. mopsrdrawer67

    mopsrdrawer67 Member

    Whenever I inject a set of velvet antlers and the odor stays, I will boil them to get the velvet off and send them to 'replicaracks'. It costs more, but they are done right. Remember, if you get used to the odor, that doesn't mean whoever walks through the door won't smell it.
  5. bradsbirds

    bradsbirds New Member

    Thanks for the replies. Lots of effort went into getting the trophy and I don't want it to slowly "rot" away. All the taxidermists I spoke with said freeze-drying was the best method for preserving the antlers, so that's what I went with.
  6. hoytman

    hoytman UTA Member

    I preserve over a hundred sets of caribou antlers. A dozen moose antlers and a few deer racks in velvet. The last thing I would do is freeze dry. It may work on a 125" deer but not a 3-400" caribou. I submerge all mine in a tank of :;))()&. Caribou get 7-10 days. Moose 14, deer 5-7 days. Zero slip, zero odor
  7. I freeze dry a lot of antlers every year for other taxidermist and there should be no smell. I would question if they were fully dry. I always let them go farther than when I even think they are done just for security.
  8. Harry Whitehead

    Harry Whitehead I love to hunt Buffalos!!!!!

    I've freeze dried many caribou antlers as well as axis deer and whitetails. While I have not freeze dried moose antlers all that I would say is that the caribou rack was not totally freeze dried and should have stayed in the drier longer. I always leave deer racks in my drier for at least two months. One problem is if they go in rotten they will come out rotten. My two cents is that IF POSSIBLE which means that the antlers are fresh and the rack is not close to shedding then freeze drying produces the best quality. If the rack is questionable then you may want to seek other means of preservation.
  9. jim tucker

    jim tucker Active Member

    Exactly, that's what I was trying to say. If they smell prior to going in, they will smell coming out. If you have a freeze drier you can probably count on your freeze dried antlers. If you are sending them out who knows. Lot's of variables. Heck I've gotten caribou capes in with maggots.

    1. They can't be too far gone on the live animal.
    2. Keeping them fresh in the field can be a task.
    3. Getting them back home fresh enough is tough.
    4. Your taxidermist acting quickly to freeze them or get them to the freeze dry service.
    5. The freeze dry service doing THEIR job right.
    6. Taxidermists and freeze driers who fail to be honest to their customers about their trophies viability for freeze drying.
  10. Harry Whitehead

    Harry Whitehead I love to hunt Buffalos!!!!!

    all your points Jim are correct. There are many variables and some are tough to get by. When a client thinks a caribou made it back in good shape in reality it's not.....just like you I've gotten caribou with maggots and the hunter said that the cape was refrigerated the whole time!!!!! NOT!!!
  11. bradsbirds

    bradsbirds New Member

    I'm a bird guy so I've had my share of "rotten" birds, but know little about velvet antlers. That is why I explained that we were able to get them off the animal and into a chest freezer that evening, probably 6 hours after being killed at the most. Don't know what affect the flight from Adak to St. Louis had, but once home they were put into a freezer again, then a couple weeks later, hand delivered to the shop to be freeze-dried......what happened after that I can't say, other than he told me about injecting them and putting them into the dryer. There is no shrinkage or shriveling of areas, just the noticeable odor....not overpowering, but there. It's my guess that they were not in the dryer long enough......it's something I can live with at this point, I was just worried about it getting worse, rotting in the future, etc......
  12. Brian

    Brian Active Member

    Take the rack off.do what is necessary to remove the velvet soak them and once dried and no smell send to replica racks and you and your son can enjoy for your lifetime.id do it asap.sounds like bugs are in your near future if you dont.plus a smelly mount that needs febreeze is just not acceptable.