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Deer Skull — Boil/simmer Method?? (help Asap??)

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by Honey the Bean, Jul 13, 2022.

  1. Hi everyone!

    I have a nice deer skull that I would rather clean up using the ... I think it’s the boil method...? But I’m not sure exactly what I’m supposed to do, and YouTube has so many different answers ): Can someone help me with what I should be doing, maybe with steps/temperatures/etc so I don’t screw it up...? (I really don’t want to have to use maggots to clean it )
  2. Tnrandy

    Tnrandy Active Member

    I'd recommend using warm water maceration, not much of a way to "screw it up" with this method.

  3. Thank you for the advice ❤️

    The only issue with that is I don’t have a “protected place” to keep it and prevent animals (or neighbours..) from getting at it... I have a sheep and goat skull I’d like to work on too (and a rabbit..) but there’s the issue of “where can I put them that they won’t reek, attract animals, or ruin the antlers on the deer”. ):

    I had seen someone who used the simmer/boil? Method, with a large pot (antlers out of the water), and it took him very minimal time to clean it, then he used a pressure washer to clean the rest...? He also cleaned/fleshed a hide using his pressure washer ... But does that work? Or can it...? Without ruining anything...?
  4. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    Go to the skull area here and read on what boiling does to skulls. All the information you need is there
    Robert Baker likes this.
  5. msestak

    msestak Well-Known Member

    there is a 5 hour euro method of skull cleaning in the tutorial section too.
    Robert Baker likes this.
  6. Tnrandy

    Tnrandy Active Member

    Will simmer/boil work, yes. I did many of these over the years, but found maceration is a lot better and easier in my opinion. You will need to keep the temps low and be very careful.
    If you go over to the skull section of the forum you will see a lot of post there. If you search maceration you will get a lot of great information on how to do that. I use an old non working deep freezer for maceration. It keeps the smell down and animals out.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2022
  7. I have a question about maceration. I read somewhere that if you are using frozen meat, all the needed bacteria to macerate, has been killed off.. All of my stuff has been/is currently frozen, so how will this effect my chances of maceration (even if it’s thawed before it’s put into the container)?

    I’m still looking for any information possible to help clean some skulls, and unfortunately I cannot get the beetles. Any help is appreciated!
  8. Tnrandy

    Tnrandy Active Member

    1. maceration (warm water) will work regardless if the meat was previously frozen. heat water 90-100deg.
    2. you can bury the skull. I don't recommend this method.
    3. you can simmer. I don't recommend this but it will work if you are careful.
    4. here is the link to the 5 hour euro, most of the pictures seem to be broken but you can read the text. https://www.taxidermy.net/threads/125076/#post-845476
    5. hit search at the top
    6. check out the skull forum section
    Honey the Bean likes this.
  9. I think I will do the maceration method, as long as I can meet the requirements — the 90-100* temp., does that have to be all of the time..? I mean, will I have to put some kind of heater in there to try and keep the water warm (especially at night)? I live waaay up north, in Canada (not quite the Arctic LOL) but our hottest day time temps are 30C/86F and have been dipping down to 15C/59F at night.

    I have two deer skulls I have to get done, a goat skull and a sheep skull.. and all of this before fall hits or I’ve lost my chances of using outside :( This is why I appreciate any and all information anyone is willing to give. I appreciate all of you and your time, patience and help so very much~! ❤️
  10. Tnrandy

    Tnrandy Active Member

    Yes, works best if you can maintain that temp. Sea wolf lives in Canada if I'm not mistaken. if you post in the skull section i'm sure you will get a reply and advice on how to make it work for you. I use an old chest deep freezer with 5 gallon buckets of water with a heat bulb
    on a thermostat...works great for me, but there are other ways as well.
    Honey the Bean likes this.
  11. I don't think your getting into Taxidermy trade persay. Buying equipment for a 1 time or 2 use want make a lot of sense.
    It's July , it's summer it's Hot across the states. Point is maceration will work just fine in a bucket of water all by it's self. Remove the eyeballs, this will speed it up. Set the bucket where the Sun hits it, and heats the water. Let sit for 2 -3 weeks more if needed. If the water turns REALLY red from bacteria, dump most of it ( not all) and refill. Pressure wash it when most of the tissue is gone . I like to put it direct sun light after pressure washing for a two or three days to a week. Let's the odor disapate and will whiten the skull a good bit. Make sure dogs can't tote it off.!!!!!!!!
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2022
    Tnrandy and 3bears like this.
  12. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    When I did skulls, I would remove the skin, brains, eyes, and all meat that I could get off with a knife. It made maceration go really quick. When I did do the simmer thing before I discovered maceration, I removed the same as I mentioned above, which made the time in the simmer much less.
    Honey the Bean likes this.
  13. Tnrandy

    Tnrandy Active Member

    Like buckfever said, that will work, may take a little longer but works great. I've used plastic totes and filled with water, clean the skulls up the best you can, put them in the water and put the top on. Weigh it down so the local dogs/animals won't get into it.
    Honey the Bean likes this.
  14. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    If setting in the sun cover the rack , it doesn’t take long for the sun to bleach it out . A live deer is in and out of the sun 90% of the time in the woods . If you don’t believe set a rack in the sun , cover one antler and compare after 3 days. Your going to be amazed of the difference.
    Honey the Bean likes this.
  15. Do you have any suggestions on what to cover the rack up with? Would tinfoil work properly to reflect the sun away from it...?
  16. Im in Canada, where it hasn’t been the warmest lately... this is why I’m concerned about the maceration process. It has been dropping to between 10-15C (50F-59F) every night... so even afterwards when it’s time to degrease, I still need to find a way to get warm enough temps for that. (And I’m not sure about the actual hide and what temps it needs but that’s my next goal...)
  17. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    Yes and No IMO . Yes get a few black heavy trash bags and cut into 3-4 inch strips , then just start wrapping the antlers or horns and tape it off . NO I wouldn’t use tin foil .
  18. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    I live in New England, which is almost Canada at times. I macerate outside when temps are in the teens with no issues. You have to insulate. I have at least one post on here (in the tutorials now I think) that was done in the winter with everything frozen. For warmth, you can use a submersible fish tank heater of 200 watts or more. Heating the water makes the process go very fast which equals less smell or at least an odor for a much shorter period of time. There are ways to seal up that odor as well so it is only noticed when you expose something to work on it. Boiling walks a thin line between a degree of clean and a ruined skull. Maceration will take a bit longer but your skull will be as perfect as it could be if done properly.

    The biggest trick is to remove every bit of tissue that you can by hand including the brain, eyes and any chunks of flesh. The more you remove, the less there is to have to rot off.
  19. Is this the right way...?

  20. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member