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Shrunken rack

Discussion in 'Deer and Gameheads' started by mopsrdrawer67, Aug 24, 2016.

  1. mopsrdrawer67

    mopsrdrawer67 Member

    I had a customer bring in a very nice 14 point whitetail rack that he had shot back in '85. He just had the rack stuck on a horrible plaque, and would like it shoulder mounted. No problem, I can recape it. My question is, he says it had a 17" inside spread when he shot it, it now is around 15". I understand that racks shrink somewhat. The antlers themselves (still on original skull cap) seemed too close together and looked kinda funny when placed on a form so I measured the antlers are right about 5cm's apart at the bases of the antlers. I measured a couple larger racks I have, they are all around 7cm's apart. Has anyone run into this? Should I split the skullcap down the middle and make it look right and in the same time, widen the spread again?? I would have to leave around a 1 inch gap
    Thanks so much in advance. Greg.
  2. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Greg, I'm just not a metric person and your figures have no correlation to me. Sorry. Now give me some inches and I might help.

    Still, be that as it may, the width of whitetail skulls vary with age A 1 1/2 year old buck will have a base spread of about 2 inches.. but even older deer seldom exceed 3 inches. And for every "rule", there's a square head to make a liar out of you. I have two yearling bucks on my wall that my late wife shot. One has a 1 3/4 inch separation while the other is almost 3 inches. Skull width can give you and indication but it's not something you can reliably make an assessment on.

  3. Carls1

    Carls1 New Member

    For me,if it's still on the original skull then it is what it is. I would talk to the customer before splitting and altering his antlers.
  4. krollh

    krollh Active Member

    The client might also have a little amnesia.
    Chances are your new cape is going to have a different skull width than the original anyway.
    Sounds like he told you to do what you had to in order to get his "original" spread.
    An inch gap seems like a lot. Can you get some with gap and the rest with angle?
  5. Paul B

    Paul B Active Member

    If he screwed down on the skull between the antlers he could have caused the skull to squat down and dry that way, thus the antler spread came together.
  6. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    My dad has many sets of antlers screwed down to the barn wall. They all were screwed into the wall towards the center of the skull plate and all of them have the antlers drawn in to where the tips almost touch (within 6'')each other. When they were fresh some were up to 15 inches apart and the skull plate is dried flat to the wall taking out the natural curvature of the skull plate.
  7. mopsrdrawer67

    mopsrdrawer67 Member

    I think you all have touched on it. There was only 1 screw in the center of the skull cap, so after 30+years I'd have to say that it did shrink up quite a bit. I'm going to dive into uncharted waters (for me) and split the cap down the middle, block up both halves, then screw into form and bondo them up and see how it ends up with a gap between them. The spread between the antlers on the cape will then match the antler bases themselves. On paper, great idea. I'll let you know. It goes under the blade today. Greg.
  8. GWebb

    GWebb Well-Known Member

    I think I would soak the skull cap in water for a few days then drill a hole on each side closer to the front of the burrs, then take a block of wood an inch or so high and place it in the middle of the skull plate and screw the plate to another piece of wood down snug. Then take it and set it in water again and every day or so I would try to tighten down the screws on the outside to get the arch back in the skull plate. I would do that before I cut the plate in two pieces. You also could get a shed adapter and just cut the antlers off the original skull cap and go that route.
  9. ljones

    ljones 1994 wasco award winner

    Imo. If the antlers are still on the original skull plate & it's still in good shape there is no way they lost 2 inches .. I would say after telling the hunting story over the years the spread has grown in the hunters mind only
  10. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Yep. Pretty much nailed it.
  11. mopsrdrawer67

    mopsrdrawer67 Member

    Haha! Right!! Just like every buck brought in had a 28" neck! Anyway, I talked to the customer and he was on board with cutting the cap in half, so I did just that, then blocked it up solid, screwed it down then bondoed it. I then removed the cap and set it aside. Seemed to work out good. I did not take pix during (my wife has the camera with her), but I have it mounted and carded up which I will post the photo this evening.
    Like ljones and George Roof said, I probably would not have done it either, as I truly respect their opinions (and others that post on here), but the antlers looked ridiculous with the bases that close together. If I had mounted it that way, it would have looked totally strange...now if it was a fresh buck, then yeah, nature is what nature is. Thats the way the animal was. Freakish looking or not, I feel its not my place to "modify" nature.
    I'll get that pic on tonight. Greg
  12. mopsrdrawer67

    mopsrdrawer67 Member

    Here is the mount while drying. Again, I split the skull cap and mounted it approx. an inch apart. Let me know. To me it looks right.

    Attached Files:

  13. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    The rack looks fine. Did you use any glue on the nose?
  14. mopsrdrawer67

    mopsrdrawer67 Member

    I just put a little clay on the form then hide glue for the nose.
  15. Steven Klee

    Steven Klee Steven Klee Studios

    I'll tell you right now, measurements do shrink over time, weather they're screwed to a panel or not. I own a pile of them I've personally killed that have never been screwed to anything and I've went back and measured just out of curiosity. The average inside spread loss is between 1 and 1.5 inches. The most I've personally seen is a 140" 8 pointer my best friend killed in 1993. It was officially measured at that time for the indiana state book. The inside spread was right at 20". We measured it a few years ago for a shoulder mount and it now measures a whopping 18", and was never screwed to anything. They do shrink, I've measured a ton of em' .
  16. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    TWO INCHES? Steven I also measure a "ton of them" but I've never seen one lose 2 inches. I have one that was killed in 1979. It scored 166 6/8 that had a 22 4/8 inch inside spread. I just measured it for giggles with a caliper. The spread is now 22 2/8. I've always filled the brain cavity with Bondo before screwing them on the form. PERHAPS that's the reason the integrity of this one is so good after 37 years of hanging on the wall and being remounted 3 times.
  17. mopsrdrawer67

    mopsrdrawer67 Member

    I think alot has to do with whether the racks are stored/hung inside or outside. Whether they are in a temperature controlled environment with heating and a/c, and then how much humidity is in your region of the world...then factor in if they were hung on a board with a screw or two. Lots of factors. Hell, even the fact that you may have salt water in the air could do it!
    Thanks for all your help. -Greg.