How-to Guide for a DIY European Mount

European Mounts are a great way to display your trophy and what better way to commemorate your adventure that culminated in harvesting a magnificent animal than a DIY project.  They are extremely inexpensive when compared to a shoulder mount.  Follow our How-To Guide For A DIY European Mount and your trophy will be ready for display in no time.

Grunt, Snort-Wheeze, and Rattle this to your buddies!

diy European mount

 And did I mention you can do it yourself at home?  We all love Do-It-Yourself projects and this one is simple, easy and once you have a few items, it is saves you money for more archery equipment.  All you need is a metal pale large enough for your skull, a heat source,  and few common household cleaners.  As you can see in the picture, I used my grill at home.  I will answer the question running through your mind…yes, she is very understanding.  Actually, if you scroll through our instagram feed you will see a picture of her with brush in hand helping remove flesh.

Tools Needed

  • Large Metal Tub (Mine is a Behrens from Tractor Supply)
  • Dawn Dish soap
  • Ox-Clean – Lots of it
  • Sharp Knife
  • Heavy Bristle Brush

Steps For A European Mount

Elk Head Hanging In Tree, Picture of a successful hunt

1.  Care for you mount begins in the field.  For the elk harvested last year, I used two sharp knives to remove as much flesh, fur, and muscle as possible in the field.  It took some work over the course of one morning, but I was able to remove the majority of flesh in the field.  Be sure to remove the hide, eye’s, and lower jaw in the field. The more you can remove in the field, the easier and quicker your process will be at home.  We then then hung it in a tree and continued to hunt until the trip home.

2.  Fill tub with warm water and heat to a simmer, I didn’t have the water boiling but rather a simmer.  I would recommend not waiting to begin the cleaning process.  The elk harvested last year rode home as is in the bed of my truck and began to get a little stinky, but it is worth it in the end.  After unloading equipment and resting a little I began the process of boiling the remaining flesh off the skull.  I had read about how long it would take to complete the process online, but it took far longer in my experience.  

3.  After the water is simmering, I added Dawn dish soap to aid in degreasing and Oxy-clean to assist the cleaning and keeping the stink down.  I am not sure you can use to much Dawn or Oxy-Clean for this project.  My tub holds 15 ½ gallons of water so I added Dawn and Oxy-Clean liberally.  I continued to add Oxy-Clean as it simmered to help keep the odor at bay.

4.  After about 4 hours, I checked the skull every hour to see the progress..  It took most of the day to be at a point that I could peel, cut, and brush the remaining flesh off.  Take your time and remove all the flesh you can.  Be sure that you get all of the brains removed from the skull.

5.  Rinse skull and allow to dry.

From an old bowhunters perspective, outside of the satisfaction I get from preparing and eating the great meals, I am not sure there is a more satisfying project you can do with your harvest.  Once clean, you can bleach or you can leave natural.  The elk from last year is currently natural, but you can see I do like some of them bleached out.

Note: In the picture, the left nasal bone is missing.  It came out while simmering and I will super glue it back into place.  There is also a picture up close of the natural look on the skull so you can decide if you like it natural or bleached.  I don’t really have a favorite, as I like them both.

Get outside, enjoy your time and get ready for fall.  It will be here in no time and we will be chasing these fantastic animals once again.

If you have questions, comments or would like to see a blog post on bleaching the skull let us know

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