Whether you're a hunter who wants to bring your trophy home or you're a home owner who likes a natural decor, you can showcase deer horns by attaching them to a plaque. When secured properly, the deer horns will stay in place without putting too much downward force on the mount. While you may find it easier to hire a taxidermist for large racks, any do-it-yourself person can mount medium-to small-sized horns.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Deer skull with horns
- Hacksaw or hand saw
- Boiling water
- Wire brush
- Deer antler mount
- Drill and drill bits
- Craft leather or deer velvet
Use a hacksaw or a hand saw to cut the horns from the skull. Cut a horizontal line from each eye socket to the back of the scull. Then cut a line laterally across the skull just above the eye sockets. This should disconnect the small section where the horns attach to the skull.
Clean the bones to remove any remaining tissue by boiling the skull in water for 20 minutes. Use a wire brush and scrape the bones to remove any stubborn tissue. To disinfect the bones, wipe them down with bleach.
Determine what type of wood to use for your plaque. You can stain less expensive woods like pine and oak, or purchase more expensive woods like cherry or walnut. Choose a light or medium coloured wood or stain for dark antlers and a medium or dark coloured wood or stain for lighter antlers. Depending on the size of your deer horns, the mount should be 8 to 10 inches in width.
Hold the skull up to the plaque to determine where to mount it. The top of the skull should be about one third of the way down the plaque from the top to provide the best proportion for the horns. You may want to trace around the skull with a pencil so you'll know where to position it when you mount it.
Drill two pilot holes through the bone and the wood plaque. Use a drill bit smaller than your screws in order to get a secure grip. Insert the screws and tighten into place. Don't over tighten, which can strip the screws or crack the bone.
Cover the skull with a piece of craft leather or deer velvet. You can hot glue the material into place. Some people prefer to trace the shape of the skull onto the leather prior to screwing the horns into place. You'll need to use scissors to cut out holes for the antlers, which may require a measuring tape.
Tips and warnings
- Deer shed horns annually, and by collecting these, you can have the natural look without harming an animal.
- If you use shed horns, purchase shed skull cap to hold the antlers in place.
- If you stain the wood for your plaque, follow the grain.
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