Russ's Avatar How to do a European Mount

January 16, 2013 - How to do a European Mount

Check out the European Mount Video as well!

You’ve just shot a nice buck, congratulations! You will now want to respect and honor the life of the deer by butchering the meat, and also doing a nice mount of it. The only thing is, you recently took your car to the shop to get fixed, decided to upgrade your “dumb” phone to a smart phone, and took a big hit on buying Christmas gifts for everyone, so you don’t have $500 to spend on a shoulder mount.

Don’t worry! With some simple equipment you can do a european mount on your own, with locally purchased supplies. It takes some time and patience, but if you treat the process the same as low and slow barbecue and just “set it and forget it” you will be extremely happy with the results. After reading this article, you will know how to do a european mount.

Here are the tools you will want:

Shoulder Mounts

Stanley pick set
Toothbrush
Small wire brush
Needle nose pliers
Sharp pocket knife
Hunting or kitchen knife (about a 5” narrow blade)
Wire coat hanger
20 Mule Team Borax
Ajax liquid dish soap (or equivalent)
Clairol Basic White Powder
40% Hydrogen Peroxide Cream and Liquid
Rubber kitchen gloves
Foil turkey cooking tray
1” paint brush
Butcher string
Propane turkey roaster (you’ll just need the burner)
Large pot
Miscellaneous medium sized plastic containers

To begin the european mounting process, start by removing the deer’s head using a knife not a saw. You don’t want to saw the back of the skull off. Using your sharpest knife, make an incision through the hide just below the deer’s ears. You are trying to cut between the base of the skull and upper most bone of the spinal column called the “atlas joint”. Once you have made this incision, give the deer’s head a good twist until you hear the neck snap then finish off the cut. If the deer’s neck will not snap, continue cutting at the neck. Refer to How to Butcher a Deer at Home - Part 2 to see how to do this.

European Mounting

Now that you have the head removed, you will want to remove the hide, tongue, lower jaw, and as much of the brain tissue and meat around the skull as possible. You can go about skinning the deer head in the same manner as demonstrated in the Skinning a Deer Head for a Shoulder Mount video.

Prior too skinning the head, you can have your pot of water, borax and soap heating up on the propane burner. I usually eye the amounts of borax and soap that I throw into the water, however I can approximate that I use about 1/8 cup of soap and about one cup of borax. Stir everything up, and get the water to a slight simmer.

Once the water is up to temperature, go ahead and place your deer skull into the pot. Do not worry about covering your antlers with anything protective, as the soap and borax will not affect the coloring of the rack. You may only be left with a slight whitish residue that you will need to wipe off with some pledge or similar furniture polish.

Let the skull simmer gently for approximately one hour. Remove it from the pot and use your picks, knife, wire brush, needle nose pliers, and wire coat hanger to start removing the flesh and remaining brains from the skull. At this time you can also add some more soap and borax. At a certain point, you can take your needle nose pliers and grab hold of the ear canals and gently pry them from the skull. This aids in the removal of some of the surrounding flesh. You will also want to be extra careful while working around the fragile nasal bones near the nose. These bones are an important detail that can make or break the quality of your european mount. There is a piece of cartilage in the nose that will pull free with needle nose pliers after a simmer or two. Repeat this process two to three more times, or until all flesh is removed.

European Mounting

After about two to three simmers, I like to change the water and add fresh soap and borax for the final simmer which will knock free some of the last bits of tissue, as well as finish off the degreasing process. Once the skull is cleaned and grease free, it is now ready for the whitening process. All of the hard work involving the european mounting process is now complete. Pat the skull dry with some paper towels, and then place it into a foil turkey cooking tray. Use a container to mix one scoop of clairol basic white to an equal amount of 40 percent hydrogen peroxide cream. Use a dust mask or hold your breath when working with the basic white, as it is a very fine powder. Also use the rubber gloves as the peroxide will BURN your skin. I will mix the two chemicals with a toothbrush. Be sure to mix thoroughly. Once mixed, begin to apply the whipped cream like mixture to the skull using the one inch brush. Take extra care to not get anything on the antlers, because this WILL whiten them and affect the quality of your european mount. I don’t put anything protective on the antlers at this point either because I feel as though if I get whitener on them I can wipe it off right away with no problem. If you put something protective on the rack though, the whitener could potentially seep onto the antlers and you may never know that it happened until it is too late.

After spreading a thick coating of whitener on the skull and in every crevasse, let it sit for about 8-10 hours. Rinse the whitener off of the skull with water and re-apply to let sit overnight for another 12+ hours. Rinse thoroughly to remove all of the whitener, and then pat dry. Now get your butcher string and tie the nose bones off of your european mount where you will see some separation. I like to tie a few square knots. Leave the string on for a few days while the skull dries, this way the nose bones will stay close together and it will just look better. Once dried, the european mounting process is completed and it is now ready to place on the wall, pedestal, or a plaque.

European Mounting

European Mounting

European Mount