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Old August 29th, 2019, 03:10 PM #11
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I think I used a combination of the above beetle/natural methods on my first buck. I wasn't sure how to clean it up and wanted to keep it for sentimental reasons, so I just left the head on the ground in the woods where I could find it easily. Two years later, I recovered it and it was perfectly clean, except the lower jaw was gone.
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Old August 29th, 2019, 04:16 PM #12
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Its worth the $120-$180 to have it professionally done. Big PIA to boil imo.
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Old August 29th, 2019, 04:28 PM #13
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Originally Posted by pbharvey View Post
Anyone else use beetles to clean a skull?
Yea, wife has a beetle box. Hard to keep them fed this time of year. The Notorious AOB had a skull here. Not sure which of his family members it was LOL.
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Old August 29th, 2019, 11:02 PM #14
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Originally Posted by Doco Overboard View Post
Boil the head out in water after stripping as much flesh as you can. Toss in some washing soda with the mix
Repeat using some professional hair color bleach that women use in beauty shops. You may find it in like a 20-30oz bottle. it's expensive and pretty powerful stuff.

Ive seen some boiled off and then painted with off white or antique spray bombs. The bones will darken or grey out sometimes when you cook them.
Works pretty good but not really a professional approach. You can get a reasonable facsimile like I mentioned.
Right, good call. I used baking soda added in to the boil to help soften everything.
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Old August 29th, 2019, 11:05 PM #15
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Only did this one time with good results so YMMV. I dug a hole in the backyard, tied a rope to it so I could easily find it, and buried the head for several weeks. Let Mother Nature run its course. Boiling would be quicker for sure, but wife ain't gonna be happy if I do that indoors.
Big pot and a propane burner helps. I’ve got a 6 gallon pot and banjo propane burner for brewing. So that helps.
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Old September 8th, 2019, 11:08 PM #16
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Right, good call. I used baking soda added in to the boil to help soften everything.
not necessarily the same as washing soda. Also washing soda needs to be limited to 45min MAX. simmer....not rolling boil. otherwise it will erode the skull parts.
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Old September 10th, 2019, 01:08 PM #17
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not necessarily the same as washing soda. Also washing soda needs to be limited to 45min MAX. simmer....not rolling boil. otherwise it will erode the skull parts.
That’s why I wouldn’t use washing soda. I have no doubt it works, but it has a PH of around 13 IIRC. Baking soda is about 8.5 or so and not particularly corrosive.
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Old September 10th, 2019, 07:06 PM #18
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I can tell you that hanging the head in a tree to let the bugs and elements clean the skull has not worked the way I thought it would. My "science experiment" is going on 11 months now and the heads seem to be more or less mummified instead of picked clean.
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Old September 11th, 2019, 09:45 AM #19
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Although your science experiment did not pan out, the hanging semi-decomposed heads should act as a strong deterrent to trespassers, etc.
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Old September 11th, 2019, 10:20 AM #20
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Originally Posted by newmuzzleloader View Post
I can tell you that hanging the head in a tree to let the bugs and elements clean the skull has not worked the way I thought it would. My "science experiment" is going on 11 months now and the heads seem to be more or less mummified instead of picked clean.
Flesh them out and throw in a bucket of water to speed along. Keep down wind of the house.
Burying them in a manure shed works good to if your near some chicken houses but keep an eye on the skull because that will really be hard on the bones. You could wind up with nothing if you forget about them.
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