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Bury Or Soak A Boar's Skull?

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by Kelsey Swalwell, Mar 2, 2020.

  1. Bury

    0 vote(s)
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  2. Soak

    5 vote(s)
    100.0%
  1. Kelsey Swalwell

    Kelsey Swalwell New Member

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    Hi y'all,

    I have a hefty boar's skull with most of the soft tissue removed - am mostly down to connective tissue and residual ligaments - though some large slabs and chunks of skin still remain.

    What do you think would work faster to remove this final soft tissue - macerating or burial?

    I am set-up for either. There is a warm spot in the yard where my partner is down to bury the skull (wrapped in chicken wire) or we have a plastic storage bin available for soaking, but the only way we have to keep the water warm is by keeping it in direct sunlight and it still gets frighteningly cold at night and doesn't warm until midday.

    What are your thoughts? Thanks!
     
  2. Kendall

    Kendall Active Member

    If you bury it the skull has the potential to pick up staining from the soil (do an advance search of these archives to check this out and the use of Iron Out to remove those stains) as well as losing teeth or other parts. But without heating the water it will take longer and possibly ending up with grave wax which can be very problematic to remove. If I was doing it I would find a way to warm up the water or put the skull in the freezer and wait for hotter temperatures this summer to heat the water.
     

  3. An alternate option if you don't want to go through the process of waiting until hot temperatures like Kendall specified, you could always soak it in bleach (although this may cause the skull to be a little brittle and, of course, bleached in color).
     
    Thomas remmingberg likes this.
  4. Thomas remmingberg

    Thomas remmingberg New Member

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    Don't forget, bleach thins the skull a bit so make sure that it isn't fragile first
     
  5. Does it thin the skull? I have done this twice with wild hog skulls and this has not happened to me once. I suppose it just depends, hah!
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2020
  6. socalmountainman

    socalmountainman Northwestern School of Taxidermy - Class of '73

    I simmer my skulls until the remaining meat is cooked, then pressure wash all the cooked meat off. Takes about 2 hours total and that's because I keep running out of beer..... 1.jpg 2.jpg
     
    pir^2h and msestak like this.
  7. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Absolutely not!. Bleach will destroy the bone and your skull will turn to powder and be permanently damaged. NEVER use bleach on any type of bone.

    If you let the bone rot in the ground expect it to be permanently stained from minerals and the possible loss of teeth or an animal di9gging it up and running off with it. Your other option is to macerate it and it will be clean in a couple of weeks. That means that you heat the water to 80 degrees 24/7 while it is getting clean. You can not pitch it in a tub of cold water as nothing will happen. Sitting in sunlight is useless. Flesh sitting that way ferments and builds up lactic acid which serves to preserve the tissue, not rot it away. Plenty of posts on here on using a submersible fish tank heater to heat the water coupled with insulating the container it is in for a single item project. One shows a 5 gal bucket, wrapped, and sitting snow covered outside. Temp in the bucket is at least 80 degrees. As Kendal stated, if you are not going to heat the water to do this properly, freeze it and wait until the high point of heat in the summer. Wrap your container with black tar paper, set it on something black (like a roof) and cover the whole with more black. You need to be able to heat this as much as you can during the day so it holds some heat at night. Even then, doing it this way is not foolproof and you may still have a lot of half rotted tissue to remove after a few weeks. Before macerating, also remove the eyes and brain. It helps a lot to speed the process. If you want to see what sort of nightmare I had to deal with with a buried pig skull, use the Search above and look for my post on the pot belly pig skull .

    Bleach doesn't "THIN" bone. It destroys it! You are giving people very bad advise and telling them to ruin their trophies. Telling someone to deliberately damage a skull is inexcusable. Someone on here told people once to soak a skull in Drano too to clean it. Just as bad. You NEVER use bleach on bone. There is plenty of information on here for free to teach you how to do it the right way.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2020
    msestak likes this.
  8. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Those are some nice cutters on that hog. Thought at first it was a huge wild boar ... but then you put it next to the chickens and it shrunk horribly. Domestic hog?
     
    msestak likes this.
  9. Thomas G.

    Thomas G. New Member

    Can confirm that bleach totally destroys bone. I did it accidentally once, I ruined the skull. Please Tomfool2319 and Thomas remmingberg, do not soak your trophies in bleach.
     
  10. I have used bleach on several skulls and while it may not be the best method, it works for me! I would say to use another method like socialmountainman said, but if you don't have time or supplies like me, bleach has worked fine. I have several wild boar skulls that were soaked in bleach diluted with water and it got the flesh off the skull just fine.
     
  11. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Maybe you are happy with damaging something you would like to keep but please don't advise others to do so. People come here to learn how to turn out nice things and correct mistakes like this. Cleaning a skull is easy. There are methods that are also almost hands free. Done correctly there is no bone damage at all and you have something you are proud to show off and it will still be around for your kids and grandkids to see. There is a huge amount of free information on here. Just use the Search above (Advanced Search is better) be patient and read. I have deliberately made several tutorials specifically for those with limited supplies. Nothing that you might not already have in the home or can easily get (even for free). Even peroxide is not all that expensive. Years worth of info on here from many people and it's all free. Might even learn to do it and teach others and get a badge for it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2020
  12. Thomas remmingberg

    Thomas remmingberg New Member

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    I will say that I have used bleach on numerous skulls and nothing out of the ordinary has happened. All of the skulls have been as white as can be and cleaner than ever with no raw flesh left on them. I guess I've had different experiences with bleach then you have Sea Wolf.
     
  13. Thomas G.

    Thomas G. New Member

    What are the animals that you have tested your method on? I would like to say, once again, that most skulls are completely destroyed by bleach.
     
    msestak likes this.
  14. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Yep. And, when the bone starts to degrade and turn to dust and fall apart you can find on here how to use paraloid to soak it and try to hold it together and keep it from disintegrating.
     
    msestak likes this.
  15. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Have to remember that, above, he does state that "Don't forget, bleach thins the skull a bit so make sure that it isn't fragile first". So, he already admits that he knows it ruins the bone.
     
    msestak likes this.
  16. Thomas remmingberg

    Thomas remmingberg New Member

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    I don't know what you are talking about. I have had a deer's skull sitting in my room for two years now, I used bleach on it and then rinsed it off with some water. Nothing bad has happened to me so I suppose it's because of the brand?
     
  17. I have had the same experience!!! Only issues I've ever had with my wild boar skulls have been teeth falling out due to (what I assume to be) age. I've had them for years now so it makes sense. Plus, teeth falling out can be easily fixed with superglue.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2020
  18. Thomas remmingberg

    Thomas remmingberg New Member

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    The bleach doesn't ruin the bone Sea Wolf. The bleach thins the bone. The thinning is barely noticeable and it won't break unless you are throwing it around like a lunatic.
     
  19. Thomas G.

    Thomas G. New Member

    To see what the fuss was about, I tried the bleach method on a spare boar skull. Lets see what happens. Only ever accidentally dripped bleach on a bird skull. Maybe some different results with a thicker skull. :)
     
  20. msestak

    msestak Well-Known Member

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    my guess is BS is being spread deliberately to ruin trophies. Just guess, what do i know :)