While I’m quite fond of traditional white-tailed deer shoulder mounts, European mounts — showing just the skull and antlers — are a spectacular alternative.
For my first European mount, I removed the head and as much hair as possible, boiled the “stuff” attached to the skull on the stovetop, picked the rest of the fat, sinew and meat away with a pair of pliers, then prepared to fill out my divorce papers because of the odor in the house. There had to be an easier way. And there is.
First, remove the head but, instead of trying to remove the hair, bury the skull in the ground with the antlers exposed. Then cover the antlers to protect from sun and mice damage.
Next, remove the skull from the ground in one year. The skull will not bust through the winter, and there will be no odor when you pull it from the ground. Simply wash off the mud and debris with a water hose and set out to dry.
If the antlers have faded, apply small amounts of furniture polish, starting at the base, until you get the color you desire.
The longer you leave the skull in the ground, the less work that has to be done. So if you happen to shoot a buck that you just can’t wait to show off, then you have several options. But if you have plenty of time, there’s no lazier way to show off your trophy. ■