Deer horns, properly called antlers, can make a nice decoration for a den or gunroom. Mounting the antlers only directly on a board eliminates much of the expense of a full head taxidermy mount. The project can be done in a modest home shop by the sportsman.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Things you need
- Skull and antlers
- Scroll saw
- Stain and varnish
- Hand saw
- Hand drill
- Wood screws
- Buckskin or velvet
Select a piece of wood for the base of the antler mount. Larger sets of antlers require larger boards for mounting but for most deer antlers an 8 or 10 inch wide board and 1 or 2 inches thick is sufficient. Cut the board into a decorative shape such as an arrowhead, appropriate if the deer was taken by bow and arrow, or a shield. Use a band or scroll saw for the cuts. Sand and finish the wood to match existing decor in the intended room.
Cut the skull of the deer with a handsaw. The resulting portion of the skull will include the antlers and the bone between them. Leave enough of the skull in place so the back of the bone can be filed to a smooth surface. Test fit the skull to the board to ensure the skull fits flat and doesn't wobble when placed on the board.
Drill two holes in the skull and attach the skull to the board using wood screws of an appropriate length to reach through the skull and penetrate about two thirds of the way through the wood base. If the skull appears brittle, possibly an older set of antlers, wrap two lengths of plumbers tape across the portion of the cut skull between the antlers and fasten each end of each piece to board with 5/8-inch wood screws.
Cover the skull portion of the deer antler mount. Common materials are buckskin leather or velvet although most any heavy material will work. Either material is available in a variety of colours. Wrap the material around the skull placing the cut edges under the skull edges and glue in place.
Tips and warnings
- A photograph from the hunting trip can be added to the mount. Use a larger board for the mounting and create a place at the bottom, below the antler, for the picture.
- Commercially cut and sanded plaques may be used for the mounting board for smaller sets of antlers. Check hobby stores to see what is available.
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