Mounting a deer can be pretty expensive these days, and sometimes we shoot a buck that’s decent, but doesn’t quite have what it takes to spend the money for a taxidermy bill.
So, what do we do? Nearly always, we boil the skull, or maybe spend a little money to have a European mount done by our taxidermist instead of a full shoulder mount.
I came up with an idea for preserving my trophy as a shoulder mount, but only spending a fraction of the money.
What I’ve been doing is searching flea markets and online yard sales for cheap, used deer mounts, then pinning my buck’s antlers on them with J-B Weld and a small piece of threaded lamp rod.
I shop for mounts that are still in decent shape and in an upright position. Uprights are best for hiding the base of the antlers where the cuts and splicing will be done.
First, cut off the mount’s antlers, preferably below the base, or burr, if possible. A Dremel tool wheel cutter will do the job, or a reciprocating saw.
For pins, you’ll need two small pieces of metal rod approximately 2 inches long and at least 1/8-inch in diameter. Small lamp rods work well.
In the centers of the newly sawed antler bases, drill a hole half the length of the pin — about an inch deep. In each of your personal antlers, drill holes in the centers, too. Angle the holes so the antlers will align naturally with each other after you put your pins in and secure them to the mount bases.
Use J-B Weld to secure the pins in the antlers after you have tested the alignment and are satisfied at how the antlers look on the mount.
Now you can display your antlers on a real shoulder mount. And if you make a good deal at the flea market, the entire project will likely cost less than $50.
This second chance deer mount is fun weekend project for giving life to those skulls hanging in the garage. Of course, if I take REALLY nice buck, I’m still taking it to a taxidermist to have it preserved professionally.
– Editor’s Note by Tim H. Martin
What a neat project for displaying those bucks that didn’t quite make the cut for a trip to the taxidermy shop. Thank you, Dale Rehm, for submitting this idea!
I will add one note: Be sure to exam used mounts well for signs of Dermestid beetles. If you see dead beetle bodies or holes in the ears, nose, tear ducts or back of the mount, don’t buy it. The dried, yellow-brown bodies of beetles look like Rice Krispies.
Dermestid beetles might infest other mounts in your trophy room, so don’t take that chance.
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