How To Skin An Elk For Mounting?

Step-by-Step Directions

prior to turning it over. Elk are difficult to lift. (See the deboning, skinning, field dressing, and field dressing without the guts pages.)

great for splitting the hide. In the event that the gutless procedure is not possible, it also makes gutting an animal a breeze.


As you move closer to the eye, expose the forehead as well as the region between the ear canal and the eye that is underneath the antler. As you want to slice, not saw, your way around the eye in this situation, you must slow down and use a medically sharp blade. Use the other hand to grab the hide and pull tension while holding the knife in your dominant hand. You can do this by putting your index finger into the lateral eye socket and using your thumb to grab the loose hide beneath the antlers.

Use your inserted index finger as a guide as you cautiously move forward to start cutting the white, inner skin of the eye, being careful not to damage the eyelids or the outer skin of the eye. Cut the white inner skin around the entire eye orbit by applying continual pulling pressure to the hide while being careful not to cut the tear duct, which is situated in front of the eye.

Elk’s tear duct can be skinned in a manner akin to that of the eye utilizing the finger and thumb technique, which involves gradually removing the thin skin from the tear duct’s deep indent. Since a deer’s tear duct is too small for a finger, trimming the connective tissue without cutting the skin requires cautious use of the knife’s tip.

Some advice for capping a head out

1. A tiny, well-balanced knife is crucial. 2. Move slowly and carefully. 3. Take your time to avoid cutting the hide. 4. Be mindful of where your fingers are at all times to avoid cutting yourself. 5. Always remove all meat and skin by pulling along the head’s bone.

To each horn or antler, you want to cut a “Y” at the top of the neck’s back. The head’s hide is then removed via skinning. Use the tip of your knife and cut upwards toward the horn while cutting around the antlers or horns; never cut downwards away from the horn. The hide will come off like in the video if you pull on it firmly and cut upward with the knife’s point.

What is used to boil an elk skull?

Don’t actually boil, but rather simmer the mixture while adding a dash of dish soap to function as a degreaser. Start by adding a cup of baking soda, but watch out so the mixture doesn’t boil over. Use a vessel that can hold the skull entirely submerged. (Avoid boiling your record-book bear or lion; doing so will cause the skull to slightly contract.)

How much time does it take to mount an elk?

Taxidermy is a master class in patience, taking an average of eight months to two or even three years. Unfortunately, it takes a lot of effort and frustration to receive a prize back from a taxidermy studio. But why does taxidermy require so much time? Sometimes all it comes down to is bad management and a lack of business acumen. Here are some important facts about the taxidermy industry and the reasons behind the high turnaround times.

How is an elk head cleaned?

Step 1: Remove any meat, brain matter, or other meaty substances from your head. We advise being extremely careful and using a tiny replacement blade knife.

2. Scrub your skull. There are a few various methods for doing this, including boiling, powerwashing, and using beetles.

The simplest method to clean your cranium is to boil it. Put clear plastic wrap over the antler base and secure it with tape. The skull should next be properly cleaned of any flesh, meat, and brain matter by being immersed entirely in water and simmered. A rolling boil shouldn’t be maintained for too long because doing so will weaken the cranium.

2b: Use a power washer of professional grade to powerwash your skull clear of all flesh, meat, and brain matter. The skull should be fastened to something, perhaps a fence.

2c: Beetles are a great technique to clean your skull since they can keep even the tiny nasal bones from dissolving during boiling or power washing. Finding someone to handle the task with a beetle colony is difficult, though. For a fair price, some taxidermists provide this service. However, if you have a contact who is ready to allow you utilize their beetles, go for it.

Whiten your cranium in step three. There are a few alternative ways to accomplish this as well. When boiling your skull, you can use bleach or make your own whitening paste.

3 a: We advise using borax or another powdered bleach for bleaching your head white. Bleach in liquid form is harsher on the bones. Mix 1 cup of bleach with 1 gallon of water to create the solution. Don’t let it fully boil; just bring it to a simmer. After that, let it in the solution for a couple of days.

3b: If you’ve used one of the other techniques, such as boiling your skull in water, you can apply a paste to give your skull a porcelain-white appearance. Get some basic white combination from a salon and diluted it with with hydrogen peroxide. A 60:40 ratio is what you want, accordingly. Let the paste dry after painting it on your skull. Use a bristle brush to scrape off the paste’s top layer once it has dried and become hard.

Great! Your skull is now prepared for hanging on the wall. Have joy telling your loved ones about your memories. Happy hunting this fall, and good luck on all your elk trips!

Is my elk head for sale?

Please suggest to your friend that he not try to sell his elk or deer trophies. Any type of wild bird or mammal (or its components) cannot be bought, sold, traded, or consumed in California.

How are pelts prepared for mounting?

Never put the skin during full mount preparation in a plastic bag or in direct sunlight. To completely drain the skin of moisture, let it in the salt for 24 hours. Replace the salt (this is where many people fail). When the skin is nearly fully dry, leave it in the new salt.

How do I use peroxide to whiten my elk head?

Use hydrogen peroxide between 5 and 10 percent. Always wear safety goggles and gloves. Keep the skull submerged in the hydrogen peroxide solution until it turns the desired shade of white. This typically requires a deer skull and takes 24 hours.

When boiling a deer skull, what goes into the water?

  • Bring the water to a simmer, then add one package of baking soda and half a cup of Dawn dishwashing liquid. The tissue will become softer because to the baking soda, and any grease will be broken down by the Dawn. The integrity of the skull will be compromised by a rolling boil because it will cook too quickly. An excellent simmer.
  • Put the skull all the way under the water. With a huge elk skull in a typical pot, balance can be difficult because the whole thing could easily topple over. With its slanted front, wide base, and antler support bar, the Bridger Boiler performs admirably. If at all possible, try to keep the antlers out of water to prevent discoloration.
  • Pot is covered. The split lid of the Bridger Boiler does a great job of preserving heat as your head boils.
  • After letting the skull stew for approximately an hour, remove it and cut any tissue that has become loose. With the aid of a screwdriver and needle-nose pliers, the nasal septum can be eliminated. A screwdriver can be inserted and used to pry out the ear canals. I enjoy making holes in the sinuses’ backs to scrape out any tissue. Put the skull back in the water.
  • Repeat steps 8 through 10 until there is no more tissue.

Should skulls be boiled?

It will take 15 to 30 minutes longer to process frozen skulls. When the muscle comes out with ease, the skull is ready to be cleaned. Avoid over-boiling or simmering the cranium because doing so might weaken the bone and cause the teeth to break. The brain tissue and flesh should be removed while still relatively warm.

How much time does it take taxidermy to dry?

The wait for your money is mostly influenced by three variables. First off, the majority of taxidermy shops are small—one-man operations, sometimes with one or two part-time assistants. The turnaround time for your mount will depend on how successfully a taxidermist runs his company and how many deer he accepts to mount each fall. The wait may last more than a year if a store accepts an excessive number of deer, along with some bears and other animals.

Second, a taxidermist’s capes—does he tan them himself or send them to a tannery? The prepared skins may take three to six months to return if a studio sends them out, as most do. Many individuals are unaware that the tanning process plays a significant role in determining how long it takes to complete a mount. The actual taxidermy job goes by incredibly fast.

Getting my hides back from the tannery takes three to four months, according to my buddy and taxidermist Lance Waln. “The rest is simple. I prepare the form and set the eyes in around 30 minutes. In about an hour and fifteen minutes, I can work the cape and mount a deer. Allow it to cure for about two weeks before adding the finishing touches. Hands-on, a deer head takes about 2.5 hours to complete.”

Third, a significant factor is when you take a buck to the taxidermist. These turnaround times of two to three months? You can bet that the hunters killed those deer during the early archery season and immediately brought them to a store.

You will drop off the cape and antlers at the taxidermist along with scores of other fortunate hunters doing the same if you shoot a large buck during the rut or late gun season. In a hurry, a store may experience a backlog, which lengthens the turnaround time.

According to Virginia taxidermist Daryl Howdyshell, who spends roughly four hours mounting each deer head after spending all day tanning the capes on the opening day of bow season, chances are that a hunter who brings in a buck will have it back at the end of the month. However, if a buck is brought in at the end of rifle season, I have a year to recover.

How long is taxidermy good for?

Trophies mounted in taxidermy are so much more than just furniture. They stand for numerous minutes of expertise, recollections, and outdoor scouting. By giving your taxidermy the right care, you can increase its lifespan.

If it is not maintained, taxidermy lasts for 20 years on average. But if it receives the right care, it can last for at least 50 years in excellent condition. Extreme temperatures, humidity, exposure to light, bugs, and human contact are some factors that shorten the life of taxidermy.

It’s critical for taxidermy owners to comprehend how to safeguard their investment and establish ideal settings for their animal displays.